Poor Law Amendment Act, The New Poor Law

(447 words)

Historical Context Note

The fruit of two years reflection and consultation by a Royal Commission, the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, often referred to as the New Poor Law, required parishes to combine into unions and establish workhouses where the poor would in effect be incarcerated. Workhouses had been in existence since 1601, but had been under the control of parishes, and the regime they applied was subject to many local inflections and reflected the close relations between those in charge of the institutions and the parishioners who might need to resort to Poor Law support. At times, or so it was believed by the uncharitable, workhouses were used to support the congenitally idle and lazy, rather than the “necessitous poor”, and it was certainly the c…

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Clark, Robert. "Poor Law Amendment Act, The New Poor Law". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 December 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=2043, accessed 30 September 2016.]