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Title: The Poor Law in Bradford c. 1834-1871 : a study of the relief of poverty in mid-nineteenth century Bradford
Author: Ashforth, David
ISNI:       0000 0001 3430 3876
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 1979
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During the last twenty years there has been a proliferation of local studies of Poor Law administration, many of them concerned with the period of transition from the Old to the New Poor Laws. This thesis complements other local studies; it offers a detailed examination of Poor Law administration in and around the rapidly expanding industrial town of Bradford. At the same time, the thesis seeks to broaden the scope of such local studies by placing the Poor Law more firmly within its local social, economic and political context. Bradford's experiences are compared with those of other, particularly northern, urban Unions, and for the period after 1848, detailed comparison is made between Poor Law administration in the neighbouring Bradford and North Bierley Unions. Chapter 1 highlights those elements of Bradford's economic and social structure likely to exert the greatest influence on Poor Law administration. Chapter 2 examines administrative structures and relief practices under the Old Poor Law, with particular reference to the area's claim to-administrative efficiency. Chapter 3 examines local reactions to the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and traces the history of Bradford's popular anti-Poor Law movement. Chapter 4 investigates the new administrative structure. Chapter 4(1) evidences the occupational and political distinctions between the Borough and non-Borough Guardians, highlighting the political dimension of Poor Law administration. Chapter 4(ii) analyses the mechanics of relief distribution and Chapter 4(iii) examines the New Poor Law's'shaky financial base. Chapter 5(i) looks at the fate of the principles of 1834 with regard to able-bodied paupers and at the debate surrounding the introduction of the Outdoor Labour Test Order. Chapter 5(ii) deals largely with the provision of outdoor medical relief. Chapter 5(iii) examines the Workhouse regime and the treatment of particular groups of inmates, such as the mentally ill and vagrants. The education provided for Workhouse children is compared with that available to the independent poor. The Chapter concludes with a detailed examination of the Workhouse debate of 1846-8. Chapter 5(iv) investigates non-statutory relief provision in Bradford and attempts to assess its qualitative and quantitative importance. Chapter 6 examines the operation of the Law of Settlement, the workings of the non-resident relief system and the immediate impact of the legislation of 1846-7. Chapter 7 outlines the Poor Law authorities' involvement in bastardy affiliation actions. Chapter 8 assesses the impact of the New Poor Law and considers some of the major determinants of relief policy, including a survey of local attitudes to poverty. Part One concludes with the Union's division in 1848. Part Two considers the more settled administration of the 1850s and 1860s, building on the framework used in Part One. Chapter 9 looks at the occupations, politics and conduct of business of the Bradford and North Marley Boards of Guardians. Chapter 10 traces changes in the system of distributing relief and in the Poor Law's financial base, with particular reference to the financial reforms culminating in the Union Chargeability Act of 1865. Chapter 11 pursues the able-bodied debate, continues the earlier survey of outdoor medical relief and examines the novel provision of education for the children of outdoor paupers. Chapter 12 catalogues the erection of new Union Workhouses in Bradford and North Bierley and traces their evolving role as general pauper hospitals. Chapter 13 examines the enlarged contribution of charities in Bradford while Chapter 14 surveys the continuing but reduced impact of the Law of Settlement. Chapter 15 comments on the changes seen in the later period.
Supervisor: Fraser, Derek Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Poor Law administration, 1834-1871 ; Poverty ; Bradford, West Yorkshire, England ; North Bierley, West Yorkshire, England ; Urban unions ; Poor Law Amendment Act ; Anti-Poor Law movement ; Workhouse children ; Education, history, 1834-1871 ; Law of Settle