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Study sources J, K, L and M and apply your wider knowledge of the new poor law. How useful are these extracts from the minutes of the meetings of the board of guardians for a historian investigating conditions in Uckfield Union Workhouse?

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Introduction

6)Study sources J, K, L and M and apply your wider knowledge of the new poor law. How useful are these extracts from the minutes of the meetings of the board of guardians for a historian investigating conditions in Uckfield Union Workhouse? I think that sources J, K ,L and M would, in some ways, be useful to a historian investigating the conditions in Uckfield workhouse because they all show a different aspect of it. All the sources are extracts from the minutes of the meetings of the board of guardians so they are likely to be reliable sources. Source J would be able to tell a historian that workhouse officials were sympathetic because it talks about able-bodied people who have put in an application for out door relief, which is supposed to have been abolished, because they are out of work due to the weather. The source states that they decide to "take Thomas Wren who has a wife and seven children into the house and relieve his wife and family out of the house" this shows generosity because usually the whole family would have to enter the workhouse! ...read more.

Middle

Source L would again would suggest that the conditions in the Uckfield workhouse were quite good because it says that 10 cheeses had to be returned because they were considered to be of inferior quality, this shows that conditions were good because the food was checked then sent back because it wasn't good enough. The final Source, source M would also tell a historian that the conditions in Uckfield workhouse were good because it is describing "the return of the greatest number of paupers the union and pest houses are capable of accommodating" this information could show that the conditions in the workhouses were good because so many people were returning to them! All the sources seem to suggest that the conditions in the Uckfield workhouse were very good and all the accusations were just stories and rumours about the workhouse. So a historian investigating conditions in the Uckfield workhouse would find the sources very useful because they should be accurate as they are minutes from meetings and they give a good description of the way the workhouse was run and what it was like to be part of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

We don't no what the guardians considered as being inferior for the paupers, the source doesn't say weather the cheese was simply a bit mouldy, which would suggest the conditions in the workhouse were good, or weather it was putrid, which would suggest the conditions in the workhouse were bad because the paupers would probably eat off, or mouldy cheese but putrid cheese could be the "inferior quality cheese!" So I think that some of the information in the sources could be useful to a historian investigating the conditions in the Uckfield workhouse but the sources on there own would not be useful to the historian because they don't contain enough information to be able to make an accurate conclusion and if he/she did make a conclusion on the conditions it would be a bias one as there aren't any opinions, views or comments from the paupers inside the workhouse and as they were the ones who actually lived and worked there, their opinions, views and comments would be essential to a historian investigating the conditions in Uckfield workhouse to make sure the conclusion was a true and non bias one. ...read more.

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