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The New Poor Law Of 1834 Coursework Assignments

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Introduction

The New Poor Law Of 1834 Coursework Assignments Question 3 Study Sources E, F, G, H and I. Use the evidence of these sources, and your knowledge, to explain why there was so much controversy over the workhouse system in the 1830s and 1840s. There was so much controversy in the North because the conditions of the workhouses were far worse than in the South. This was due to the urbanisation of the North, and of the inner city slums that had formed around the growing industrial areas. The workhouses were designed and instructed to have worse conditions than the lowest paid labourer. In most cases this could not be achieved, because the lowest paid labourers were starving and living in a single room with there whole family. Some workhouses had become harsh in the extreme with the aim of having worse conditions than the lowest paid labourer. An example of this extreme harshness can be found at a workhouse in Andover. In 1845, a serious scandal broke out around this workhouse, Parliament investigated the conditions in the workhouse and there was outrage. The men worked by crushing old bones for fertiliser, but they were so starved that they had been eating the marrow from the rotting bones. ...read more.

Middle

But this is not an accurate perception for the drop-off in applications, the reason why there are less people applying is because they have succeeded in applying the workhouse test. 'The behaviour of the poor, the farmers bear testament in their improvement to civility, their greater care to keep, their places', this statement explains that since the introduction of tougher workhouses the poor have been more civil towards there employers. They also take greater care in keeping their jobs, for fear of ending up in a workhouse. Parents would increase 'their efforts to get their children into service'. Service would mean that they would become servants in a manor house; they did this so that their children would not end up in a workhouse. Source G is written by the Earl of Harwicke who shares a similar point of view as the writer in Source F, and is also from the same region, a southern, rural parish. The writer states that 'all farmers that I have spoken with say that they are more respectful and civil in their behaviour'; he compares their attitudes with that when the Speedhamland system was in place. Then, there behaviour and civility was believed to be appalling and that they had no respect for any others. ...read more.

Conclusion

'In 1851 this sum had fallen to below �5million, in spite of the rise of 29% in the population', this shows that the number of paupers would have risen. But the amount of money spent on the poor rates had fallen; this tells us that the number of paupers applying for relief has fallen even though the population had risen. Only the people who were claiming relief had fallen, not the actual number of poor. This implies that the workhouse test had succeeded in deterring the able-bodied poor. This source supports the views of Sources F and G. The workhouse system was harsh, the inmates had to wear uniforms, they had to work for 10hrs a day and they had to eat a sparse, simple menu. They also were under a repetitive routine and strict rule. Although the conditions were not ideal they were designed to help the deserving poor. Humanitarians believed that the workhouses had become too harsh. They questioned whether to help a person it was required to lower there living conditions. The most amount of controversy would be brought forth by Source E; this showed to an extent what really happened in the workhouse system. This would show the public what 'really' went on in the workhouses, whereas the other sources, barring Source H, all supported the workhouse system. ...read more.

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