Dundee Combination Parochial Board

Scope and Content

Excerpt of minutes of special meeting of Poorhouse Committee of Dundee Combination Parochial Board, 1887, approving an application of the anatomical committee of Dundee as made by Dr [A. Melville] Paterson and Dr [Robert] Sinclair for the bodies of deceased persons, 1889.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Poor Law (Scotland) Act, 1845 (8 & 9 Vict. c. 83) established parochial boards in all of the parishes of Scotland. The Act also established a Board of Supervision in Edinburgh with wide powers of control over the parochial boards. The constitution of the boards in rural areas depended on whether or not they imposed a poor rate. If they did not, they would be composed simply of the heritors and members of the kirk session; if they did they were required to add to the heritors and kirk session a varying number of members elected locally. Only a minority of parishes were legally assessed for poor rates in 1845 but the situation gradually changed and in 1862 only a minority of parishes did not impose a rate. The entitlement to relief remained unchanged and excluded the able-bodied unemployed. Each parochial board was compelled to appoint an inspector of the poor who was in charge of relief. Other functions were added to the parochial boards' duties including those under the Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1867 (30 & 31 Vict., c. 101) which delegated responsibilities for the regulation of lodging houses, removal of nuisances, construction of sewers, water supply and the control of infectious diseases. They were given the power to appoint medical and sanitary inspectors and to form special drainage and water districts. The public health powers were transferred to county councils by the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889 (52 & 53 Vict., c. 50). Special drainage districts and water districts were transferred to sub-committees of county councils. Parochial boards were replaced by parish councils under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1894 (60 & 61 Vict., c. 38). In 1879 Liff and Benvie Parochial Board was integrated with Dundee Parochial Board to form Dundee Combination Parochial Board.

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Compiled by Jenny Cutts, Scottish Archive Network, and Caroline Brown, University of Dundee.

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Geographical Names