A history of the Old Poor Law, which was the primary support for the poor in England and Wales from 1601 to 1834.
The Old Poor Law, which was established in 1601 in England and Wales and was in force until 1834, was administered by the local parish and dispensed goods and services to paupers, providing a uniquely comprehensive, premodern system of support for the poor. Providing for the Poor brings together academics and practitioners from across disciplines to reexamine the micropolitics of poverty in the long eighteenth century through the eyes of the poor, their providers, and enablers. Covering such topics as the providence of the parochial sixpence, which was given in order to get a beggar to move along to another parish, to coercive marriages, plebeian clothing, and the much broader implications of vagrancy toward the end of the long eighteenth century, this volume aims to bridge the gaps in our understanding of the experiences of people across the social spectrum whose lives were touched by the Old Poor Law. It brings together some of the wider arguments concerning the nature of welfare during economically difficult times and documents the rising bureaucracy inherent in the system to produce a radical new history of the Old Poor Law in astonishing detail.
About the Author
Peter Collinge is a post-doctoral researcher on the AHRC-funded joint project, “Small Bills and Petty Finance 1700–1834: Cocreating the History of the Old Poor Law.”
Louise Falcini is a research fellow in history at University of Sussex.