Shere Poverty

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This book gives a picture of a Surrey parish community at the begiinning of the Georgian period, its size, the occupations of its members, the central position of the church and in particular teh elaborate local organisation in place to support the poor.

This offered payment for rent, reqular weekly pensions for the elderly and widows, clothing, money for tools, even help with a marriage lilcence and other incidentals (so that an expected child might be supported by its father, rather than the parish).

The poor were put to work on spinning and weaving and apprenticeships were found for the children. Until the 1790s householders in the parish who were assessed to pay the Poor Rate did not find this an intolerable burden.

All this changed with population growth, the beginning of industrialisation and inflation following the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars. In Shere the parish officials suddenly found they had to face the new and difficult problem of unemployed, able-bodied men.

Nationally opnions were changing (giving money to the poor 'encouraged them to breed') and it was felt necessary to change the system of poor relief from being parish based to being centrally controlled, from small parish workhouses to large Union Workhouses serving several parishes.

How conditions in the parish of Shere changed over 150 years is described with a wealth of detail and family names taken from original records and illustrated with photographs, engravings and copies of old documents.

First published 1996
ISBN 978 0 9528625 0 6
Price: £4.00 inc p&p

To purchase this book please contact Shere Museum info @ or call 01483 202769


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