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Flashcards in Poverty and Crime Deck (43)
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Literature - Defoe Moll Flanders; newspapers, ballads/prints; Hogarth prints (good/bad child, harlot/rake's progress)
LACK of evidence - the 'dark figure' of crime



Start: old poor laws, private charity
End: New Poor Law (1834); Captain Swing and Luddite riots; rise of urban industrial poor


Change over period:

1685 - inherited Elizabethan 1601 Poor Law (localised, un/deserving poor, administered by overseer of Poor and JP)
1690's: SCPK
1720's: workhouses and charity schools
1730's: fall of schools
1740's: seeking rise in pop. for wars; hospitals
1770/80's: decline of hospitals
1790's: charities of self-help


New Poor Law - about

1834 KING - link betw. local poverty/admin via central decision making by Poor Law Commissioners. Guardians paid and assisted by professionals; deliberate test of need for paupers; principle of "less eligibility". uniformity via. larger units, but admin baggage remained, instability between supply/demand.



Bloody Code: Porter: from 50 capital offences in 1689 to 200 in 1800 - seen as excessive by contemporaries - only 1/3 actually hanged


Cost of poor

Porter - £6-700,000 in 1700; £2 mil in 1800.


Old Poor Law

Porter - "a useful technique of control"


Legislation - qualities/quantities

Webb - 1690-1790: 15,000 bills in front of Parliament; only 1 in 5 became statutes. 1000 regarding crime/law/admin. On average 5 passed p.a.
Porter: legislation treated "surface symptoms, not root economic causes"
King - Between 1601 and 1850 = 264 general and 100 local acts on welfare. Issue w. changes in law: unforseen welfare consequences ie. cleaning streets = sanity but no trad. jobs in waste removal.
1779 - branding for crime stopped


Legislation - acts

1690 - Board of Trade est. to help regulate poor
1700 - Vagrants Removal Costs Act INNES - "shifted responsibility for financing the removal of vagrants from the parish to the country"
1717/8 - Transportation Act - transportation of convicts (10,000 Irish under this!)
1723 - Knatchbull's Workhouse Act (wave of workhouses est.)
1782 - Gilbert's Act
1795 - Speemhamland System
1818/9 - Sturges Bourne Acts (to correct earlier abuses of pensions)
1826 - Peel's Criminal Justice Act
1827 - Select committee of criminal convictions est.
1834 - New Poor Law


Knatchbull's Workhouse Act

1723 - prompted a wave of founding workhouses (though very inefficient) - KING - an "enabling" act for localities to take action, care could be provided by contractors.


Gilbert's Act

1782 - more sensitive against harshness of previous laws; allowed parishes to form workhouses together; controlled because required permission of 2/3 ratepayers.


Speemhamland System

1795 - King - sliding scale of poor relief tied to grain prices and wages.


Law: aiding rich or poor?

Eastwood: law the "footstool of privilege" ; courtroom the "most usual point of contact between social extremes"
Vicious cycle in which legislation such as enclosure (41% westminster legisl...) prompted rise in poaching and therefore tighter punishment laws...
VS. Innes - legislation "the majority were introduced by backbenchers" ie. promoting local needs; eg's of parishes helping to fund prosecution via rates: Eynsham, 1785, sheep stealing a "parish charge"
Prosecuting Societies also formed for similar purposes.


Peel's Criminal Justice Act

Innes: 1826; "extended discretionary entitlement to costs" eg. Ox, 1821, 12% of county spending on fair court cases.


Role of the middling sorts:

Local office holding - JP, overseer of poor, parish churchwardens, constables, private charity/running of; founders of societies like the SPCK (1698)


Living standards of the poor

Porter - in some London parishes 3 in 4 children died before the age of 6. Provincial towns too small for "elaborate spacial apartheid", unlike London/Birmingham with suburbs.


Social mobility

Porter: Opportunities for social mobility - eg. Lancelot "Capability" Brown was the son of a tradesman.


Range of occupations in Birmingham

Porter - in the 1770's = 250 Innkeepers, 77 merchants, 64 bakers. By the late c18, 40-50% families = wage earning.


London and charity

JORDAN - by 1660 Londoners = 34% of all national charity.
ANDREW: Times reported 1/6 of London's population as criminal.
PORTER: 10 charities in London 1771-80; 30 1791-1800.


Sources of charity

Public and private. Over time = decline in charitable establishments/bequests - bc. of property ideas? Fears of corruption?
Hospitals more effective than work houses because they allowed poor to heal and go back to work again.



Society for Promoting of Christian Knowledge, est. 1698. By 1732 had founded 123 schools in London.


Lying-In hospital

Founded 1749, London. Strong element of "sentimental benevolence" from u/m/c's (ANDREW)


Foundling Hospitals

Opened 1739, part of national policy of population increase for war. Criticised for encouraging licentiousness and abandonment of children. Poor care - 1756: 1384 children and 4-55% died before age 2.


Lock Hospital

Founded 1746, treated venereal disease, hard to justify because founder had "colourful" past. Navy used it, and venereal disease ruined the health of many "potentially useful citizens".


Charities of Self-help

ANDREW: rise of philanthropic gentlemen of commerce - "largely male and mercantile" (prestige?)
Philanthropic Society: est. 1788, hoped to eliminate crime by training children separate from parents. "enforced self improvement". More profitable than any other eg's - made back 22% of it's receipts. 489 subscribers in 1790 and 1871 in 1814.


Sunday School Movement

Began 1781. Taught reading only.
PORTER: 1700 charity schools established. Used "factory methods of teaching". Provided uniform and discipline. "school complemented church for indoctrinating the masses' children"
1788 Manchester S School: 5000 pupils. Manchester = 20,000 people and 1 church in 1750.
Had a "dedication to industry, thrift, sobriety, and self-help"


Vice societies

eg. William Wilberforce's Proclamation Society (1781), Society for the suppression of vice (1802)


Friendly Societies

ANDREW: N+W had 37% of total friendly societies of the whole country.


London prostitution

London Female Penitentiary had 1762 members in 1809, 2304 in 1815.
The Magdalen - house of quarantine?
"The antithesis of the productive mother and wife"


North and West welfare

King - poor law in N+W not a safety net - in Wickham, 43% households dependent on parish in 1715 and 36% in 1743. Poverty unlike the "endemic structural poverty" of the S+E. Poor law relieved fewer people - 9.1% in Staffs, vs. 20%+ in home counties. Much wider variety in generosity. 1750's pensions = 20% of that required to live.