Poor Law Essay

2383 Words Apr 2nd, 2007 10 Pages
1. Explain why the New Poor Law Amendment Act (1834) was so controversial.

There were many arguments raised about the poor law amendment act of 1834, this Act was thought to be the most contentious piece of legislation passed during the era of the Whig's. At the time, it was a lot about saving money, the upper class did not want to pay towards the poor law, as they believed they were lazy and unworthy. The taxpayers, and ratepayers believed it to be wrong they should be paying to help the poor. The workhouse system was one of the most inhumane of all time, humiliating and demeaning all the poor people that entered it. When families' entered the workhouse, the husband, wife, and children would be separated from each other, allowing
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It was seen as a great advance on previous legislation, and with the inspectors' experience of working this Act, it led them to call for more reform, giving full backing to Ashley's efforts in the 1840's.

3. "Poisonous dens of filth and disease". Discuss this description of Britain's large towns in the 1840's.

There were many health problems in the industrial towns in the 1840's; the main cause of this was the rapid increase in the population. There was massive overcrowding in every large town and city, with houses being built back to back, with up to forty people per house and up to eight people sharing one room. With no street cleaning, no appropriate water supply, drainage or sewerage disposal in these towns, there was a very high rate of infectious diseases. Without proper drainage systems, the sewerage would store in cesspits with no escape, overflowing onto the streets. The water supply was usually taken from the rivers; polluted with sewerage, pig manure, urine wash, decomposed animals, and many other substances. There were lots of diseases caused by this filth and squalor. There were epidemics of cholera, killing many children under the age of five. At the height of the epidemic at least two thousand people a week were losing their life to this disease, totalling ninety thousand in one outbreak. Other diseases such as typhus, typhoid and tuberculosis (consumption), scarlet fever, diphtheria, measles

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