The Anti-pauper System: Investigation into the Effects of the Poor Laws



The Anti-Pauper System contains a ground plan of the incorporated workhouse in Thurgarton and a diet table, dating from 1834. Inmates were segregated into various groups and were separated from the opposite sex. The men's yard and day room were apart from the women's, despite the fact that many residents were from the same families. There was also a schoolroom for the children. 

The new Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 set up a strict system of poor relief. Responsibility was transferred from the parishes to the new district Boards of Guardians. Parishes were grouped together into unions and new, more efficient workhouses were built. The system was supervised by a national Poor Law Commission. The aim was to reduce the growing cost of helping the poor.

Full title
[The Anti-pauper System; exemplifying the positive and practical good realized under the administration of the poor laws, at Southwell, etc]
1834 , London
Pamphlet / Report
John Thomas Beecher
Held by
British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain

Related articles

The Condition of England novel

Article by
Sophie Ratcliffe
Poverty and the working classes, Technology and science

Writers such as Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë illuminated contemporary social problems through detailed descriptions of poverty and inequality. Dr Sophie Ratcliffe considers how the Condition of England novel portrayed 19th-century society, and the extent of its calls for reform.

Oliver Twist and the workhouse

Article by
Ruth Richardson
London, Poverty and the working classes, The novel 1832 - 1880

The hardships of the Victorian workhouse led to Oliver Twist utter the famous phrase ‘Please Sir, I want some more’. Here Ruth Richardson explores Dickens’s own experiences of poverty and the social and political context in which he was writing.

Related collection items

Related works

Oliver Twist

Created by: Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’s (1812-1870) second novel, originally published in serial parts 1837-39, and as a three ...