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Poor Law Amendment Act 1834

May 28th, 2010 No comments

The Poor Law began in 1601 during the time of Elizabeth I. The aims of the poor law, according to Golding and Middleton were work, discipline, deterrence and classification. The poor law was the most important policy development dealing with poverty up until the end of the nineteenth century and it was a development, which focused in particular upon control and deterrence. In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act was passed, it hoped to change some of the principles of the old poor law.

Previously the parishes were too small and too poor a unit to support a workhouse so the parishes were required to group together into poor law unions, with workhouses to be built in every union. An elected board of guardians ran each union. This was hoped to be a more cost-effective way of providing care for the poor. Ratepayers in each union had to elect a Board of Guardians. Guardians were elected triennially; their job was to supervise the workhouses, to collect the poor rate and to send reports to the Central Poor Law Commission. This Central Poor Law Commission would be appointed by the government and would be responsible for supervising the Amendment Act throughout the country. Read more…