The Poor, The Parish and The Workhouse (203)


Tutor: Simon Fowler


This course is currently under development and these details may be subject to slight change.

‘The poor are always with us’ was a common lament of the charitably minded Victorians. When we think about our pauper ancestors we conjure up pictures of forbidding workhouses and Oliver Twist asking for more. But the position was rather more complicated as you will discover when you join this course. During the four weeks it runs we will examine the causes of poverty, how the poor were looked after, and the records that were created as a result.

Careful records about the poor and the money which was spent on them are invaluable to family historians not only for what they reveal about those receiving assistance but about the local people who paid the rates and made the system work. The course explains how poor relief evolved, functioned and the records that were created as a result. You will learn how to use the records, how they can solve genealogical problems and the fascinating, if often tragic, insights they offer into the lives of your ancestors. An increasing amount of material is online, but not anything by any means.

The course is for anyone searching poor law records for the first time or wanting to build on existing knowledge.

Lesson Headings:
  • Who were the Poor: background and basic resources online and offline
  • The Old Poor Law
  • The New Poor Law after 1834 and the Workhouse
  • Self help and Philanthropy

Each lesson includes exercises and activities; a minimum of 1 one-hour chat session per week. See How the Courses Work.

Relevant Countries: England, Wales

Course Length: 4 Weeks
Start Date: 16 Sep 2016
Unassessed Cost: £45.99

Assessed Cost: £61.00

Enquire about this course