Protesting about Pauperism

Poverty, Politics and Poor Relief in Late-Victorian England, 1870-1900

Elizabeth T. Hurren

A fresh look at the complex question of outdoor poor relief in the nineteenth century.
Date Published :
June 2015
Publisher :
Boydell and Brewer
Series :
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
Illustration :
1 black and white, 2 line drawing
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9780861933297
Pages : 308
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6.25 inches
Stock Status : Available


The consequences of extreme poverty were a grim reality for all too many people in Victorian England. The various poor laws implemented to try to deal with it contained a number of controversial measures, one of the most radical and unpopular being the crusade against outdoor relief, during which central government sought to halt all welfare payments at home. Via a close case study of Brixworth union in Northamptonshire, which offers an unusually rich corpus of primary material and evidence, the author looks at what happened to those impoverished men and women who struggled to live independently in a world-without-welfare outside the workhouse. She retraces the experiences of elderly paupers evicted from almshouses, of the children of the aged poor prosecuted for parental maintenance, of dying paupers who were refused medical care in their homes, and of women begging for funeral costs in an attempt to prevent the bodies of their loved ones being taken for dissection by anatomists. She then shows how increasing democratisation gave the labouring poor the means to win control of the poor law. ELIZABETH T. HURREN is a Reader in the Medical Humanities, University of Leicester.


IntroductionThe New Poor Law: Legal and Theoretical FrameworkRetrenchment Rhetoric: Crusaders and their CriticsThe Northamptonshire Poor Law Experience, 1834-1900Setting the Poor Law Stage to Stigmatise PaupersA World-without-welfare? Penalising the Poor with Welfare-to-work SchemesOrganising Resistance: Protesting about PauperismClass Coalition: Poor Law Crisis and ReactionBegging for Burial: Fighting for Poor Law FundingCampaigning for Change: Democracy and Poor Law Politics, 1890-1900Denouement: Continuity or Change?ConclusionBibliography

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