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What Impact did the 1834 New Poor Law have on Gressenhall workhouse in Norfolk?

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Introduction

Gressenhall Extended Writing Task What Impact did the 1834 New Poor Law have on Gressenhall workhouse in Norfolk? Gressenhall workhouse was built in 1776 to cut the rising numbers and cost of the paupers in the Mitford and launditch area. In 1776 M+L was a farming area, new machines made high unemployment with low paid jobs. The costs kept spiralling upwards so the local property owners (middle class) wanted to stop the rising costs of the poor rate. In 1776 work began to build a 'House of Industry'. It averaged totals of nearly 450 people between 1777 and 1794; this reached 650 people in 1801 the highest ever. In1776 life in the workhouse was relatively fare with families in separate rooms with fires The Government brought in the 1834 New Poor Law to reduce the amount of people seeking relief. It was brought in as some middle class thought that the able bodied poor were lazy. The 1834 New Poor Law said that workhouse should deter the poor and make them less eligible. ...read more.

Middle

�4,800 was borrowed to pay for the enlargement of the workhouse done in1835-36. There were also generally well proportioned windows at the original workhouse but after 1834 some were bricked up Before 1834 the diet was all right in the workhouse. As there was some variation in the diet and people had a choice. In 1797 the paupers breakfast and supper were different but in 1834 they were the same every day. Before 1834 there was lots more fruit and vegetables, after 1834 there was set amounts for men and women. Men received bigger portions as they supposedly did a lot harder work. In 1797 there was meat but after 1834 there was little meat as poor people outside the workhouse would have little meat and they wanted to deter the poor. Food was also used as a punishment; you could be given bread and water for a week. The inmates diet after 1834 was meagre and monotonous this made life boring and unexciting. Paupers were made to work for 6 hours a day, 3 hrs between breakfast and dinner and 3hrs between dinner and supper. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Guardians allowed the boys to go out more and gave them more training as they thought boys were more important. The children were looked after we know this as they were "attended to by the matron." After 1834 discipline was stricter to make the poor less eligible. The types of behaviour that received punishment were absconding (running away)+ you stole the workhouses uniform, misconduct & misbehaving, swearing / insulting people, stealing, damaging workhouse property, whistling and talking (at meal times, at church, to family and in corridors). After 1834 a refractory cell was built to punish paupers. The types of punishments given were; put in solitary confinement for 6-24 hours and paupers had their diet changed to just bread and water. The aim of the 1834 New Poor Law was to cut the costs of the poor rate and deter the poor from the workhouse. "The workhouse with room for 560 was often less than half full." The people in the workhouse when there was low unemployment were mostly old, sick, illegitimate or orphaned children and the disabled / retarded. Altogether life in the workhouse was hard and monotonous. ' ...read more.

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