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Poor Law Records

You can search and download documents from a number of Poor Law Unions across England and Wales, from series reference MH 12 from the National Archives website. This project has been put together in partnership with, volunteers in several parts of the country. The Poor Law Amendment Act was introduced in 1834. It was design to bring together the poor relief administrative system. Before 1834 the parish was responsible for the poor relief. However during the Napoleonic Wars, the expense rose to level that the authorities decided that looking after paupers was too costly. When the Poor Law Amendment Act was passed, parishes were grouped into 'unions'. These Unions were managed by boards of guardians who were elected by their constituent parish ratepayers.

Poor Law Records Available

    • Axminster Poor Law Union, Devon and Dorset, 1834- 1848
    • Basford Poor Law Union, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, 1834- 1845
    • Berwick upon Tweed Poor Law Union, Northumberland, 1834- 1852
    • Bishop’s Stortford Poor Law, Union Hertfordshire and Essex, 1834- 1852
    • Blything Poor Law Union, Suffolk, 1834-1840
    • Bromsgrove Poor Law Union, Worcestershire, 1834-1842
    • Cardiff Poor Law Union, Glamorganshire, 1834- 1853
    • Clutton Poor Law Union, Somerset, 1834- 1853
    • Keighley Poor Law Union, Yorkshire West Riding, 1834- 1855
    • Kidderminster Poor Law Union, Worcestershire, 1834- 1849
    • Liverpool Vestry (technically not a Poor Law Union, it retained vestry status throughout the 19th century), 1834- 1856
    • Llanfyllin Poor Law Union, Montgomeryshire and Denbighshire, 1834-1854
    • Mansfield Poor Law Union, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, 1834- 1849
    • Mitford and Launditch Poor Law Union, Norfolk, 1834- 1849
    • Newcastle under Lyme Poor Law Union, Staffordshire, 1834- 1856
    • Newport Pagnell Poor Law Union, Buckinghamshire, 1834- 1855
    • Reeth Poor Law Union, Yorkshire North Riding, 1834- 1871
    • Rye Poor Law Union, East Sussex and Kent, 1834- 1843
    • Southampton, Hampshire (technically not a Poor Law Union but an earlier incorporation), 1834- 1858
    • Southwell, Nottinghamshire, 1834- 1871
    • Truro Poor Law Union, Cornwall, 1834- 1849
    • Tynemouth Poor Law Union, Northumberland, 1834- 1855
    • Wolstanton and Burslem Poor Law Union, Staffordshire, 1834- 1851