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Industrialisation and Poverty

Poor Law Amendment Act 1834

But in the towns there was new form of poverty based on the booms and then slumps of trade. Monetary payments were made to families in time of slumps until better times returned.

The rising cost of supporting the poor in this way led to demands for reform.

After a long detailed inquiry, the Poor Law Amendment Act was passed in 1834.

The new system abolished the parish as the unit for the provision of poor relief and introduced a structure based on a number of parishes coming together to form a ‘union’.

Relief was to be given in most instances only if the pauper entered the workhouse.

The administration of the workhouse was tighter than it had been with the election of a Board of Guardians and standard system of administration throughout the country.

Industrialisation and Poverty

This was the Poor Law which continued to operate until 1834, by which time Britain was undergoing a radical transformation. Society was becoming increasingly urbanised and the economy industrialised. Various schemes were introduced to supplement the agriculture’s labourer’s wages such as the Speenhamland system. These were often based on the price of a gallon (4 lb) loaf.

The Speenhamland System came in for considerable criticism during this time for supposedly being too generous.


The Workhouse Yard

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