By all accounts, it would seem that the Union Workhouse in Tiverton was, by the standards of the times, a humane place, with a conscientious medical staff and, certainly in latter years, good nursing facilities.
We will never know why Thomas Oxenham was permitted to remain there from 1861 until his death in 1919 at the age of 82 but he was. For the elderly widows who came, the only way out was death but let's hope they were gently cared for. There was a good school attached to this workhouse and the children were helped to find employment locally or in the case of the boys, places in the Royal Navy.
The first payments under the Old Age Pensions Act of 1918 were made in 1909 and from that time on, the number of elderly people requiring care in workshouses began to fall.
Tiverton Poor Law Union
How the Poor Law Unions of Devon evolved