Although many deterrent workhouses developed in the period after the New Poor Law, some had already been built under the existing system. This workhouse in Nantwich, Cheshire, dates from 1780.
The Poor Laws in the aftermath of the Black Death (pictured), when labour was in short supply, were concerned with making the able-bodied work. (also see: Sturdy beggar)
The Old Poor Law or Elizabethan Poor Law is sometimes referred to as the "43rd Elizabeth" as it was passed in the 43rd year that Elizabeth I (pictured) reigned as Queen.
Advertisement for builders to build a new Workhouse in north Wales, 1829
Nassau William Senior argued for greater centralization of the Poor Law system.
Infighting between Edwin Chadwick and other Poor Law Commissioners was one reason for an overhaul of Poor Law administration.
David Lloyd George, architect of the Liberal welfare reforms which were implemented outside of the Poor Law system and paved the way for the eventual abolition of the Poor Law.
Punch criticized the New Poor Law's workhouses for splitting mothers and their infant children.

The Workhouse Test Act 1723 (9 George 1, c.7) also known as the General Act or Knatchbull's Act was poor relief legislation passed by the British government by Sir Edward Knatchbull in 1723.

- Workhouse Test Act 1723

The Society published several pamphlets on the subject, and supported Sir Edward Knatchbull in his successful efforts to steer the Workhouse Test Act through parliament in 1723.

- English Poor Laws
Although many deterrent workhouses developed in the period after the New Poor Law, some had already been built under the existing system. This workhouse in Nantwich, Cheshire, dates from 1780.

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Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

Workhouse

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Institution where those unable to support themselves financially were offered accommodation and employment.

Institution where those unable to support themselves financially were offered accommodation and employment.

Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780
The 'Red House' at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk was founded as a workhouse in 1664.
"The workroom at St James's workhouse", from The Microcosm of London (1808)
Former Cleveland Street workhouse, London W1, photographed in 1930. It later became part of the Middlesex Hospital.
Contrasted Residences for the Poor (1836), by Augustus Pugin. He was critical of Kempthorne's octagonal design shown above.
The Carlisle Union Workhouse, opened in 1864, later part of the University of Cumbria
St Mary Abbots workhouse, Kensington, London
Dinnertime at St Pancras Workhouse, London, 1911
A group of children at Crumpsall Workhouse, 1895–97
Ripon Union Workhouse, completed in 1855, replaced an earlier Georgian era workhouse. It now houses a museum.
Thomas Allom's design for St Mary Abbots workhouse in Kensington, London, is noticeably different from those produced by Sampson Kempthorne a decade earlier.
Watling Street Road Workhouse, Preston, built in 1865–1868
Eventide: A Scene in the Westminster Union (workhouse), 1878, by Sir Hubert von Herkomer

This growth in the number of workhouses was prompted by the Workhouse Test Act 1723; by obliging anyone seeking poor relief to enter a workhouse and undertake a set amount of work, usually for no pay (a system called indoor relief), the Act helped prevent irresponsible claims on a parish's poor rate.

So keen were some Poor Law authorities to cut costs wherever possible that cases were reported of husbands being forced to sell their wives, to avoid them becoming a financial burden on the parish.