Undeserving Poor records how our 19th Century forebears dealt with those of their fellow countrymen who found themselves - for the most part, through no fault of their own - in dire poverty. For almost a century, a draconian Victorian Poor Law condemned men, women and children to confinement in Workhouses - the "Paupers' Prisons". The personalities, attitudes and motives of those charged with applying the Poor Law had a critical influence on the severity of its implementation - a regime that dictated that the management of the poor should make minimal demands on the public purse. At a time when a hard-won welfare state is under attack in the name of austerity, this account has a disturbing contemporary resonance.
Published: 25 November 2014
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