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Pauper PoliciesPoor Law Practice in England, 1780-1850$
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Samantha A. Shave

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089633

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089633.001.0001

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Policies from knowledge networks

Policies from knowledge networks

(p.150) 4 Policies from knowledge networks
Pauper Policies

Samantha A. Shave

Manchester University Press

This chapter sets out to develop an understanding of how social policies were disseminated between welfare officials. The first half demonstrates that, before the creation of the Poor Law Commission, there was no central welfare authority to suggest ways in which parishes could cope with the increasing demand on poor relief, resulting in parish officials seeking solutions from one another. The information they passed originated at a specific location, but it was presented and promoted as ‘best practice’. Knowledge was transferred between officials in a number of ways; they conducted correspondence, went on trips to workhouses and published, read and referred to pamphlets detailing workhouse practice. Locally derived knowledge was not insignificant after the passage of the Amendment Act. The Commission was proactive in seeking local precedents and encouraging Boards of Guardians to adopt particularly beneficial practices. In addition, regardless of the presence of a central welfare authority, evidence can be found of local officials continuing the tradition of conferring with one another, without the interference of the Commission. In short, the policy process was not constrained by parish boundaries before 1834, nor controlled by the Commission thereafter.

Keywords:   Policy, Poor laws, Poverty, Welfare, Eighteenth century, Nineteenth century, Religion, Pamphlets, Books, Landowner(s), Stewards, Guardians, Workhouse(s)

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