Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780
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.

Organisation set up in 1858 and existed "to improve moral and spiritual improvement of workhouse inmates" in England and Wales.

- Workhouse Visiting Society

The Workhouse Visiting Society which formed in 1858 highlighted conditions in workhouses and led to workhouses being inspected more often.

- English Poor Laws
Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

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Former workhouse in Nantwich, dating from 1780

Workhouse

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

Total 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

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.

David Lloyd George was one of the 'New Liberals' who passed welfare legislation

Liberal welfare reforms

The Liberal welfare reforms (1906–1914) were a series of acts of social legislation passed by the Liberal Party after the 1906 general election.

The Liberal welfare reforms (1906–1914) were a series of acts of social legislation passed by the Liberal Party after the 1906 general election.

David Lloyd George was one of the 'New Liberals' who passed welfare legislation
The influence of Gladstonian liberalism declined with the rise of modern liberalism.

By implementing the reforms outside the English Poor Laws, the stigma attached to claiming relief was also removed.

Women in Plymouth, England, parting from their lovers who are about to be transported to Botany Bay, 1792

Penal transportation

The relocation of convicted criminals, or other persons regarded as undesirable, to a distant place, often a colony, for a specified term; later, specifically established penal colonies became their destination.

The relocation of convicted criminals, or other persons regarded as undesirable, to a distant place, often a colony, for a specified term; later, specifically established penal colonies became their destination.

Women in Plymouth, England, parting from their lovers who are about to be transported to Botany Bay, 1792
Neptune, a 19th-century convict ship that brought prisoners to Australia
Joseph Lycett, an artist transported for forging bank notes, The residence of Edward Riley Esquire, Wooloomooloo, Near Sydney N. S. W., 1825, hand-coloured aquatint and etching printed in dark blue ink. Australian print in the tradition of British decorative production.
1848 Woodcut of HMD Bermuda on Ireland Island, Bermuda, showing prison hulks
This notice on a bridge in Dorset warns that damage to the bridge can be punished by transportation.

For example, from the earliest days of English colonial schemes, new settlements beyond the seas were seen as a way to alleviate domestic social problems of criminals and the poor as well as to increase the colonial labour force, for the overall benefit of the realm.

John Everett Millais' The Blind Girl, depicting vagrant musicians

Vagrancy

Condition of homelessness without regular employment or income.

Condition of homelessness without regular employment or income.

John Everett Millais' The Blind Girl, depicting vagrant musicians
A woodcut from c.1536 depicting a vagrant being punished in the streets in Tudor England
The Pass Room at Bridewell, c. 1808. At this time paupers from outside London apprehended by the authorities could be imprisoned for seven days before being sent back to their own parish.
Caricature of a tramp
Political cartoon by Art Young, The Masses, 1917.

Due to the Poor Laws, vagrants to receive and poverty relief had to seek it from the parish where they were last legally settled, often the parish where they were born.

Woodcut-16th century: gentleman giving alms to beggar

Poor law union

Geographical territory, and early local government unit, in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Geographical territory, and early local government unit, in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Woodcut-16th century: gentleman giving alms to beggar

Prior to the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 the administration of the English Poor Laws was the responsibility of the vestries of individual parishes, which varied widely in their size, populations, financial resources, rateable values and requirements.

Out-door relief: Poor people coming to a workhouse for food, c. 1840

Poor Law Amendment Act 1834

Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whig government of Earl Grey.

Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whig government of Earl Grey.

Out-door relief: Poor people coming to a workhouse for food, c. 1840
A "Poor Law Bastille": 1835 model design of a workhouse to hold 300 paupers...
... 'classified' (men, women, girls, boys) and segregated accordingly
One of the "Somerset House Despots": Sir Thomas Frankland Lewis, Chairman of Poor Law Commission 1834–39

It completely replaced earlier legislation based on the Poor Law of 1601 and attempted to fundamentally change the poverty relief system in England and Wales (similar changes were made to the poor law for Scotland in 1845).

Elizabeth I

Legitimacy (family law)

Status of a child born to parents who are legally married to each other, and of a child conceived before the parents obtain a legal divorce.

Status of a child born to parents who are legally married to each other, and of a child conceived before the parents obtain a legal divorce.

Elizabeth I
Percentage of births to unmarried women, selected countries, 1980 and 2007.
Nonmarital birth rates by race in the United States from 1940 to 2014. Data are from the National Vital Statistics System Reports published by the CDC National Center for Health Statistics. Note: Before 1969, the rates for all minority groups were consolidated in the category of "Non-White."
The Outcast, by Richard Redgrave, 1851. A patriarch casts his daughter and her illegitimate baby out of the family home.
Magdalene laundries were institutions that existed from the 18th to the late 20th centuries, throughout Europe and North America, where "fallen women", including unmarried mothers, were detained. Photo: Magdalene laundry in Ireland, ca. early twentieth century.
Mileva Marić and Albert Einstein, 1912
Edwin Booth
Alexander Hamilton, 1790
T. E. Lawrence
Fernando (Hernando) Columbus

The Poor Law of 1576 formed the basis of English bastardy law.

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.

Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601

Act of the Parliament of England.

Act of the Parliament of England.

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 Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601, popularly known as the Elizabethan Poor Law, "43rd Elizabeth" or the Old Poor Law was passed in 1601 and created a poor law system for England and Wales.

Malthus in 1834

Thomas Robert Malthus

English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography.

English cleric, scholar and influential economist in the fields of political economy and demography.

Malthus in 1834
Essay on the principle of population, 1826
The epitaph of Malthus just inside the entrance to Bath Abbey

Malthus criticized the Poor Laws for leading to inflation rather than improving the well-being of the poor.

Homeless people sleep near the "LUKOIL" in Moscow

Pauperism

Pauperism (Lat.

Pauperism (Lat.

Homeless people sleep near the "LUKOIL" in Moscow

pauper, poor) is a term meaning poverty or generally the state of being poor, but in English usage particularly the condition of being a "pauper", i.e. in receipt of relief administered under the English Poor Laws.