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The Poor Law 1601

Legislation required parishes to levy a 'poor rate' to fund financial support for those who could not work, dependent on the residential qualification of living locally.

August 1834

Workhouses and the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834

Legislation limited access to assistance provided outside of workhouses and the government introduced deterrent conditions in workhouses.

20 August 1883

Diseases Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1883

Legislation gave the Metropolitan Asylums Board (MAB) additional powers to tackle infectious diseases and removed civil rights from people admitted to an MAB hospital.

August 1885

Medical Relief Disqualification Act 1885

Legislation removed the link between the Poor Law and medical assistance, so that people receiving medical assistance no longer faced the stigmatism of pauperism.

June 1894

'The Aged Poor in England and Wales'

Social reformer Charles Booth's report helped to understand who was receiving Poor Law assistance.


Royal Commission on the Poor Law and the Unemployed

Following their review of the system of poor relief provision and unemployment, the commissioners were split and released two reports.

December 1911

National Insurance Act 1911

Following a lengthy national debate, the Act created a national system of insurance to protect working people against loss of income relating to sickness or unemployment.

3 June 1919

Ministry of Health Act 1919

This Act established the Ministry of Health, which became responsible for 'the preparation, effective carrying out and co-ordination of measures conducive to the health of the people'.

27 March 1929

Local Government Act 1929

This Act consolidated local government structures and reformed Poor Law administration, with local authorities becoming responsible for Poor Law hospitals.