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The Birmingham Parish Workhouse, 1730-1840
The Birmingham Parish Workhouse, 1730-1840

The Birmingham Parish Workhouse, 1730-1840


272 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25

Formats: Trade Paper, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Trade Paper, $33.95 (US $33.95) (CA $45.95)

Publication Date: August 2019

ISBN 9781912260140

Rights: WOR X UK & EUR

University Hertfordshire Press (Aug 2019)
University Of Hertfordshire Press


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Very little is known of the first workhouse in Birmingham. Even the assumed date of its building, given as 1733 by William Hutton, is wrong. This book is the first attempt to write a history of the workhouse and the ancillary welfare provision for Birmingham, frequently referred to as the 'Old Poor Law.' This study of welfare in Birmingham in the century before the Poor Law Amendment Act reveals some surprising facts which fly in the face of the scholarly consensus that the old system was incompetently administered and inadequately organized. The records of the Overseers and the Poor Law Guardians reveal a complex balancing act between maintaining standards of care and controlling spending. Although there was mismanagement, the picture which emerges will be familiar to our age when welfare services struggle to meet public needs with limited budgets.

Author Biography

Dr Chris Upton was a historian of the West Midlands for twenty years. He died in 2015 and this book has been edited by his wife, Fiona Tait, and his colleague at Newman, Dr Ian Cawood.