Scope and Content

Letter from Robert Baker of Leamington, Poor Law Guardian, to Thomas Pease ofWestbury near Bristol, about Poor Law Unions sending their poor to the cottonmanufacturing districts which were short in labour, and particularlyapprenticeships in those districts for the children of the poor.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1833 Earl Grey, the Prime Minister, set up a Poor Law Commission toexamine the working of the poor Law system in Britain. In their reportpublished in 1834, the Commission made several recommendations to Parliament.As a result, the Poor Law Amendment Act was passed. The act stated that:

(a) no able-bodied person was to receive money or other help from the PoorLaw authorities except in a workhouse;

(b) conditions in workhouses were to be made very harsh to discourage peoplefrom wanting to receive help;

(c) workhouses were to be built in every parish or, if parishes were toosmall, in unions of parishes;

(d) ratepayers in each parish or union had to elect a Board of Guardians tosupervise the workhouse, to collect the Poor Rate and to send reports to theCentral Poor Law Commission;

(e) the three man Central Poor Law Commission would be appointed by thegovernment and would be responsible for supervising the Amendment Actthroughout the country.


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