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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Word count: 4811

Why was an allowance system introduced in Staffordshire in 1811?

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Question 1 Why was an allowance system introduced in Staffordshire in 1811? From looking at source A, I have found no direct reason why this system was introduced in Staffordshire. However there must have been a large number of paupers for a meeting of JP's to be held. This might have been the case because of a population explosion. This will have lead to a high rate of unemployment, along with changes in working methods came machines, which took the place of a manual worker. This will have made it extremely hard for paupers to find work. Without work the breadwinner of the family would not be bringing a wage into the house. If the breadwinner died then his family would lose its major income, leaving them with no option but to ask the parish for relief. Another case would have been a period of "slack" trade. This would have mean that the family would go trough a period of having very little money if any at all coming in. If these periods lasted for a long time and the breadwinner was out of work or doing casual work then the paupers would become more and more poor, and depending on relief from the parish more and more. Even in good times of trade the paupers wages were barely enough to support his family. In these good times of trade casual workers were employed, to either work part time or for a short spell maybe until the spell of good trade ended. When these good spells of trade ended and the casual workers were surplus to requirements they were sacked. So the paupers and their families didn't have a steady regular wage coming into their homes. Not all cases were out of the pauper's control. For example drinking, many paupers drunk alcohol because of the poor water supply, but they would become hooked and they would waste a large amount of their wages on alcohol. ...read more.


He may be doing this deliberately to make the workhouse sound worse than what it really is. Another reason why this source might have been biased is because James Neild was rich and he was trying to change the way in which the rich viewed the paupers and workhouses. To do this James Neild may have had to exaggerate on some of the down sides of the workhouse. With James Neild being rich he had probably never seen such conditions before, and he might have assessed them and made them sound much worse than what they actually were. These problems make this source biased, because Neild was trying to exaggerate the truth to make the conditions change. Source F is a description of a workhouse in Tamworth, written by a poor law commissioner in 1832. The commissioner was sent out deliberately to pick up on any faults that the workhouse had, he didn't find many. Instead he found the workhouse to be excellent and commodious, in a dry healthy environment. He reported this back to his over commissioners. This assistant was deliberately sent out to find faults, and not finding any makes him extremely fair and unbiased, because he found, and reported back the opposite of what he was sent to find I believe that source F is more reliable than source E, because the Poor Law commissioner knew what he was looking for and he was probably used to seeing such conditions. This commissioner was also very, because he reported back the opposite to what he was deliberately sent to find. Question 6 How far do you agree with Christopher Hill's view on the old poor law? Source G is a secondary source, because it was written in 1975. The source says that the Speenhamland system was in operation over most of England. Hill also says that the old poor law was inefficient, demoralizing to the poor and costly to the ratepayers. ...read more.


Source P by Charles Dickens , who lived through the time of the New Poor Law in Londen, the other by a modern day historian looking back on the New Poor Law. Source P was a video of the book "Oliver Twist". This showed an orphan who lived in a workhouse. This orphan named Oliver Twist did hard labour, his job was to grind corn. Oliver was fed on gruel along with the other inmates, whilst the fat cat guardians feasted on a roast. Oliver ended up becoming so hungry that he asked for more. The guardians punished Oliver and sold him on. Oliver then ran away , and joined a den of thieves in Londen. Oliver then turned to street crime for a living. By writing "Oliver Twist" Charles Dickens was trying to show that theNew Poor Law was inneficiant, and children would rather run away than stay in a workhouse. The miss treatment of children in workhouses angered Charles Dickens, and in writing "Oliver Twist he was trying to get workhouses changed. Source Q on the other hand says that the New Poor Law reduced the rates. Maybe by disgarding outdoor relief, and reducing the number of paupers in workhouses, despite a twenty five percent increase in population. Source Q also says that the New Poor Law restored paupers self belief, by encouraging paupers to work hard, to avoid having to go into a workhouse. Although the New Poor Law made progress, it did so at a great cost. At the cost of misery to thousands of poor people. Source Q also talks about how harsh places workhouses were, and how harshly administrated they were. Source Q is not biased because it discusses the good points and the bad points of the New Poor Law. Whereas source P only shows the bad points of the New Poor Law and Charles Dickens' hate for workhouse and imperticular the new Poor law. Source P is very exaggerated, this might be due to the fact that Charles Dickens was trying to cell it as a book ...read more.

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