Pauper policies

Poor law practice in England, 1780–1850

By Samantha A. Shave

Pauper policies


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8963-3
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: April 2017
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / History, HISTORY / United States / 19th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Services & Welfare, HISTORY / General, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Social Security & Welfare Law, History, Social welfare & social services, Social security & welfare law, Social & cultural history, History


Pauper policies examines how policies under the old and New Poor Laws were conceived, adopted, implemented, developed or abandoned. This fresh perspective reveals significant aspects of poor law history which have been overlooked by scholars. Important new research is presented on the adoption and implementation of 'enabling acts' at the end of the old poor laws; the exchange of knowledge about how best to provide poor relief in the final decades of the old poor law and formative decades of the New; and the impact of national scandals on policy-making in the new Victorian system. Pointing towards a new direction in the study of poor law administration, it examines how people, both those in positions of power and the poor, could shape pauper policies. It is essential reading for anyone with an interest in welfare and poverty in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England.


'Pauper policies presents exciting new research on the English Poor Laws before and after the Amendment Act of 1834. This original study of an institution that lay at the heart of life for many centuries is empirically rich and analytically engaging. Shave's book provides a superb example of how painstaking archival work opens the possibility of deeper understanding of a wide range of cognate areas of social and political life. Beautifully written and clearly argued, this is an excellent addition to the scholarship.'
Emma Griffin, University of East Anglia

'The book is an excellent addition to the historiography. It is well written and researched and contains important new findings on several key topics that have largely been ignored by historians.'
Dr Joseph Harley , Reviews in History


Samantha A. Shave is a Research Fellow at the University of Southampton and an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leicester


Introduction: pauper policies
1. A policy process approach to the poor laws
2. Gilbert's Act: workhouses for the vulnerable
3. Restricting relief: the impact of Sturges Bourne's reforms
4. Policies from knowledge networks
5. Policies from scandal
6. Conclusion: reform and innovation
Select bibliography

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