Update on our Poor Law Research

The cataloguing of the correspondence between the Poor Law Board/Commission and our local union of Bromsgrove continues to provide some fascinating material. In the summer of 1849 there was a great deal of concern about cholera. A tragic tale unfolds of an ill child on a canal boat passing through Stoke Prior. He died and whilst the mattress on which he expired is so filthy it is fit only for burning a washerwoman in Stoke Prior washes the ticking cover drying it on the hedge. The story of her death and of the decline and death of her children and husband unfolds through reports to the Board. Infection of the neighbours ensues and we can follow stories of attempts at isolation, refusal of some people to move and the dangers to nurses.

These posters show some of the responses of the guardians of the union. You will see that it was thought that prompt response to ‘looseness of the bowel’ would sort things out. Provision is made for everyone to have access to medicines via local reputable people if they could not access the medical officers (there were four M.Os for the union). In the case of Clent you could go to the Relieving Officer, a clergyman or Mr Gardener or Mr King of Holy Cross.

The other documents show warnings issued about the clearing up of ‘nuisances’. Not surprisingly subsequent correspondence covers the issues of accounting for costs where people were too poor or too ill to undertake the clearance and where householders were able to do so but refused to do so.

More tales of dirt, diarrhoea and the itch appear through the correspondence. If you are interested do explore the National Archives site and have a go at searching those documents already made available. Not everything has been uploaded to the site yet as your trusty cataloguers continue to work their way through the materials but there are already thousands of documents for you to explore and it is all free to access.

Previous updates:

More findings from the Poor Law Archives; Debts and Lunatics

Pauper Prisons – Pauper Palaces. Poor Law update


The Nuisances Removal Diseases Prevention Act.Bromsgrove Union

The Nuisances Removal Diseases Prevention Act.
Bromsgrove Union

Suggestions in Reference to Cholera. An extract from Bromsgrove Union

Suggestions in Reference to Cholera. An extract from Bromsgrove Union

Precautions against Cholera

Precautions against Cholera

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