Huddersfield workhouse report
Huddersfield workhouse diet
than 6,000,000 people visited the Great Exhibition in 1851. But what about the
people who did not come? Among those who did not visit would have been poor
people without means to support themselves. Had life improved for them since
the introduction of the Poor law of 1834?
1834 there was no one way of providing help for the poor. The local parish could
build a workhouse if it wanted to and make the poor work for their keep. The
parish could decide to give the poor money when they needed it.
used the Speenhamland System; this linked the amount of money handed out to
the price of bread and the number of people in the family. But in 1834 all the
different methods of helping the poor were abolished and replaced by a new one,
the New Poor Law.
New Poor Law was introduced by the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, which was
based upon a report published in 1832. This report had been written by Edwin
Chadwick. He wanted the poor to be helped to support themselves. He wanted children
to be educated and taught a trade, but many of his ideas were forgotten when
the Act was put into force.
Poor Law Amendment Act set up the Poor Law Commission in London, which was responsible
for the organisation of Poor Relief throughout England and Wales. Parishes were
grouped into 'Unions' and each Union had to build a workhouse.
for the construction of Workhouses were provided by the Commission, which also
sent out rules and regulations. Unions were told how Workhouses were to be run
and how paupers, the term used for people who entered the Workhouse, were to
1834, anybody who wanted help had to go into the Workhouse. Outdoor relief,
giving money to people living in their own homes, was banned, unless the people
were old or sick. In the Workhouse, the conditions were to be worse than anything
that people might find outside; this was the idea of 'less eligibility'.
make sure that Unions kept to the regulations, the Commission sent inspectors
to every Workhouse at least once a year. These inspectors were called Assistant
Commissioners. They wrote reports on all the Workhouses and sent them to the
Commission in London.
New Poor Law was supposed to be more efficient, but did the care of the poor
really improve after the Poor Law Amendment Act?
Huddersfield workhouse letter
Huddersfield workhouse, 1848
Helping the poor
Poor Law letter