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Vagrants in United Kingdom

Table of Contents

History of Vagrants

The following concept of Vagrants may be usefull here:Able-bodied people who were unemployed (generally without a master). Vagrancy Acts were passed to control the unemployed. Vagrants could face criminal charges, and be pressed into military service or transported to the colonies.

Vagrants and the 1834 Report

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: With regard to vagrants, the Commissioners were convinced that they would “cease to be a burden,” if they were treated like the ordinary able-bodied pauper. The difficulty was to enforce this, and they therefore recommended that the Central Authority should “be empowered and directed to frame and enforce regulations as to the relief to be afforded to vagrants and discharged prisoners.”

Vagrants, the Act of 1834 and its Amendments

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The Act of 1834 is silent with regard to vagrants, in accordance with the proposal of the Report of 1834 that those destitute persons who had hitherto been deemed vagrants should be dealt with simply as other destitute persons. It may, however, be noted that express provision was made to enable any one Justice to order temporary relief in kind to persons not settled in nor usually residing in the parish, in cases of urgent necessity, in which the overseer had refused relief.

In 1842, however, it was enacted that the local authority might “prescribe a task of work to be done by any person relieved in any workhouse in return for the food and lodging afforded to such person,” and (implicitly) might detain such person until the task was done; but such detention was not to exceed four hours after breakfast on the day following admission. Refusal or neglect to perform such task, or wilful damage to property, subjected the person to be deemed an idle and disorderly person within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act of 1824. This section is not expressly confined to wandering persons, but the marginal note confines it to the “occasional poor.”

In 1844 the Central Authority was empowered to combine parishes, in London and five other large towns, into districts for the provision of Asylums for Houseless Poor, that is to say, “asylums for the temporary relief and setting to work therein of destitute houseless poor”; to constitute Boards for such districts; with the consent of such Boards, to direct the establishment of such asylums, at the expense of the poor rates of such districts, up to a maximum of one-fifth of their whole Poor Law expenditure; and to make rules, etc., for such asylums, subject to a conscience clause and to facilities for entry by ministers of different denominations. These Asylums for Houseless Poor were to be mildly penal establishments, supplementary to the workhouses, and involving detention for a term not exceeding four hours after breakfast on the day after admission; or, in the case of a person subjected to punishment for an offence committed during his stay, for any period up to twenty-four hours.

Vagrants and the Poor Law Commissioners

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: We have seen that the policy of the Report and Act of 1834, with regard to vagrants, was to ignore them as a class, to relieve them only in the workhouse, and to deal with them exactly as with other workhouse inmates. What the Central Authority seems to have contemplated was that the strict application of the “workhouse test” would not only prevent vagrants coming on the rates at all, but that it could be used to prevent almsgiving. It was apparently with this view that the Central Authority, in 1837, sanctioned a code of regulations for the admission to the workhouse of the “casual poor,” meaning “wayfarers” or homeless “persons in a state of destitution … who … belonged to distant parishes.” These regulations included admission by tickets distributed by any rate-payer, and the performance of a task of work before the grant of a meal. In diet, discipline, and other treatment, they were to be dealt with “as the other paupers in the workhouse.” In other unions the regulations included the establishment of a separate vagrant ward, which was equally sanctioned by the Central Authority. A similar plan was strongly pressed on the local authorities of the Metropolis in 1838 and 1839. Such vagrants must, however, if destitute, not be refused relief. The Central Authority hoped that “if these arrangements be adopted … casual almsgiving in the streets, by which vagrancy and imposture are encouraged, will be materially checked.” The first sign of discontent with this policy that we find is in 1841, when the Central Authority is asked by the local authorities of Lambeth and Colchester “whether the workhouse is to be a lodging house and to be inundated with these trampers” who habitually “make the union house a lodging house,” greatly to the annoyance of the establishment. The Central Authority admits that its policy of a mere application of the “workhouse test” to vagrants has proved unsatisfactory, and declares the only effectual remedy to be a separate semi-penal establishment. In the absence of adequate statutory powers, the Central Authority pours out, between 1841 and 1844, a stream of regulations and suggestions to local authorities, based on the idea of making the night’s stay of the vagrant more unpleasant to him. There was to be everywhere a separate vagrant ward; without a fire; smoking and card playing were to be strictly prohibited; they were to be bathed; their bedding was to be inferior to that of other inmates, and so on. Above all, they were to be prosecuted under the Vagrant Act on the slightest provocation.

Yet the Central Authority was not yet convinced of the need for a vagrant ward in every union. When the Bradford Board of Guardians pointed out in 1844 that the average number of their vagrants was only twelve a week, the Central Authority at once acquiesced in the abandonment of the proposed vagrant ward, and said that arrangements should be made to set the vagrants a task of work in the workhouse itself.

In 1842 and 1844, as we have seen, slightly increased powers over vagrants were obtained (including, but only by implication, statutory authority for the four hours’ detention in the morning), together with powers to establish district asylums for the houseless poor in certain large towns.

The Central Authority “framed a scheme for division of the whole of the Metropolitan district” into areas corresponding “to the great lines of roads along which mendicants and vagrants” entered London, which were to have separate establishments for vagrants, and so entirely relieve the Metropolitan workhouses of their care. What Orders were issued to this effect is not clear. Meanwhile the House of Commons appointed a Select Committee to consider the whole conduct of the Central Authority; and no further action was taken. Orders were issued to the boards of management of the newly created vagrant districts, telling them that they need not meet. How far these vagrancy districts ever came into existence we have not yet discovered. One of them, the North Eastern Metropolitan District, had got so far as to enter into a contract for the purchase of a site and to borrow ?3500 to pay for it. “Owing to various causes, the chief of which was a want of co-operation on the part of several of the boards of guardians, that scheme, after an inquiry by a Committee of the House of Commons, was abandoned.” Beyond this somewhat obscure episode, all that happened was that when the General Consolidated Order of 1847 systematically codified the regulations affecting workhouses, it included, scattered among its various sections, a few provisions relating to the treatment of the “casual poor wayfarers,” such as the requirement of a separate ward, and the express regulation of their diet and employment.

Vagrants and the Poor Law Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: We left the Poor Law Commissioners, in 1847, at last awake to the fact that the policy of the Report of 1834-that vagrants should be treated like any other able-bodied male paupers, and offered “the House”-had been a conspicuous failure. The new “union workhouses,” rising up all over the country, afforded to the habitual tramp a national system of well-ordered, suitably situated, gratuitous common lodging-houses, of which he took increasing advantage. Confronted by this growth of vagrancy, the Poor Law Commissioners, towards the end of their term, had pressed on boards of guardians a new vagrancy policy-that of making the night’s lodging disagreeable to the wayfarer. By statute and order the Central Authority had authorised compulsory detention for four hours and the exaction of a task of work. This policy had not been generally adopted, nor particularly successful where tried. In the bad years of 1847-9 vagrancy was still increasing at a dangerous rate, and one of the first duties of the new Poor Law Board was to issue instructions on the subject.

The instructions given by Mr. Charles Buller, the first President of the Poor Law Board, adumbrated in the guise of a policy what were really two distinct and inherently incompatible lines of action. The Central Authority, on the one hand, pressed on boards of guardians the advisability of discriminating between the honest unemployed in search of work and the professional tramp-“the thief, the mendicant and the prostitute, who crowd the vagrant wards”-even to the extent of refusing all relief whatsoever to able-bodied men of the latter class, who were not in immediate danger of starvation. It seems as if the Central Authority was at this point almost inclined to press on boards of guardians the Scottish Poor Law policy of regarding the able-bodied healthy male adult as ineligible for relief. “As a general rule,” it was laid down, the relieving officer “would be right in refusing relief to able-bodied and healthy men; though in inclement weather he might afford them shelter if really destitute of the means of procuring it for themselves.” Acting on this suggestion many boards of guardians closed their vagrant wards, and the Bradford Guardians decided to “altogether dispense with” the meals heretofore given “at the vagrant office.” The honest wayfarer in temporary distress might, it was suggested, be given a certificate showing his circumstances, destination, object of journey, etc., upon production of which he was to be readily admitted to the workhouses, and provided with comfortable accommodation.

To aid in this discrimination, it was suggested that a police constable, who had knowledge of habitual vagrants and was feared by them, would be useful as an assistant relieving officer. Nevertheless the other policy, that of the casual ward, admitting to its disagreeable and deterrent shelter every applicant who chose to apply for it, was not abandoned by the Central Authority. The orders and instructions about casual wards still remained in force, and continued to be issued or confirmed. These involved, not the refusal of relief to the able-bodied healthy male adult, but systematic provision for it, coupled with detention and a task of work.

Ten years later we find the Central Authority definitely abandoning, so far as the Metropolis was concerned, both its policy of discrimination among wayfarers and that of refusing, at any rate in weather not inclement, relief to the healthy able-bodied male vagrant. The London workhouses had become congested “by the flocking into them of the lowest and most difficult to manage classes of poor.”

They were now to be entirely relieved of the annoyance and disorganisation caused by the nightly influx of casual inmates. All persons applying for a night’s lodging were to be subjected, whatever their antecedents, character, or circumstances, to a uniform “test of destitution,” by being received only in “asylums for the houseless poor,” six of which, conducted on a uniform system of employment, discipline, and deterrent treatment, were to be established in London apart from the workhouses. This was admittedly a revival of the project of 1844, which had failed from the “want of co-operation on the part of several of the boards of guardians.” The revived policy proved for six years equally unsuccessful and for the same reason. The six “asylums for the houseless poor” did not get built, and vagrants continued to be dealt with haphazard in the forty Metropolitan workhouses. In 1864 the Central Authority took what proved to be a decisive step. The Metropolitan Houseless Poor Acts, 1864 and 1865, made it obligatory on Metropolitan boards of guardians to provide casual wards for “destitute wayfarers, wanderers, and foundlings.” At the same time it bribed them to adopt that policy for all wayfarers by making (in accordance with a recommendation of the House of Commons Select Committee on Poor Relief of 1864) the cost of relief given in the casual wards a common charge upon the whole of London. The casual wards so made a common charge had to be conducted under rules to be framed by the Central Authority; and these we have in the Circular of October 26th 1864, recommending that the new casual wards should consist of two large “parallelograms,” each to accommodate in common promiscuity as many of one sex as were ever expected; furnished with a common “sleeping platform” down each side, on which the reclining occupants were to be separated from each other only by planks on edge; without separate accommodation for dressing or undressing; and with coarse “straw or cocoa fibre in a loose tick,” and a rug “sufficient for warmth.” To this was added, by the General Order of March 3rd 1866, a uniform dietary “for wayfarers” in these wards of bread and gruel only, thus definitely marking the abandonment, so far as London was concerned, of all attempt, either at refusing a night’s lodging to able-bodied healthy males, or at doing anything more or anything different for the honest unemployed wayfarer than for the professional tramp.

Notwithstanding the apparent decisiveness of policy as to vagrants embodied in the Metropolitan Houseless Poor Act of 1864, we find the Central Authority, disturbed by the steady growth of vagrancy throughout the country, still continuing to talk about discrimination. In 1868, Sir M. Hicks-Beach, in announcing that the Poor Law Board contemplated extending to the whole country the Metropolitan system of dealing with vagrants, added, with an inconsistency which we do not understand, that “it would be required … that guardians should take the responsibility of a sound and vigilant discrimination between deserving travellers in search of work and professional vagrants not really destitute, by the appointment of officers capable of exercising such discrimination; and that, where practicable, the police should be appointed assistant relieving officers. The forthcoming Order would likewise suggest, in cases where it might be practicable, that the accommodation for deserving travellers should be different from that given to professional vagrants.” Yet even for the professional vagrant the promiscuous London casual ward of 1864 was not to beextended. “It was,” said the President of the Poor Law Board in 1868, “very desirable that … each person should have a separate or divided bed place.” The new policy, which the President seems to have thought was the London policy of 1864, but which was really a revival of Mr. Charles Buller’s policy of 1848, was embodied in a Circular, which admittedly reproduced, in all essentials, the Minute of 1848-the necessity of discrimination, the employment of the police, the issue of tickets to genuine honest wayfarers, their comfortable accommodation in workhouses without task of work, and the desirability of uniformity of treatment in the different unions.

It must be added that, before the end of its tenure of office, the Poor Law Board had become convinced that it had as completely failed to solve the problem of vagrancy as had the Poor Law Commissioners. In the Metropolis it was forced on its attention that “the great increase in the pauper population may be traced to the operation of the Houseless Poor Act, which has practically legalised vagrancy and professional vagabondism.” Throughout the whole country the number of vagrants nightly relieved in the workhouse, which had between 1858 and 1862 always been under 2000, rose between 1862 and 1870 to between five and six thousand, and to a maximum of 7946 on 1st July 1868, though falling to less in the exceptionally good trade of 1870-1. The fact is that the boards of guardians felt themselves between the horns of a dilemma, against which the inconsistent see-saw policy of the Central Authority was no protection. If they refused relief to those whom their relievingofficers deemed worthless loafers, these bad characters became “masterful beggars,” pertinacious tramps, and sources of danger to the countryside, whilst in the bad times of 1866 some of those refused relief suffered hardship and even death. Hence the general reversion to a policy of relief. The Central Authority, under Mr. Goschen’s presidency, was at this point considering a new policy, that of penal detention after relief. Mr. Goschen explained to the House of Commons that this would amount, practically, to “a kind of imprisonment,” and be “a stronger measure than the administration by the police of the law as at present existing,” which had also been proposed, but “if Parliament were inclined to concede power to detain paupers for a longer period than they were now detained, and to keep them at work, he believed that would be a very effectual means of diminishing vagrancy and pauperism.”

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Vagrants and the Poor Law Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: We left the Poor Law Commissioners, in 1847, at last awake to the fact that the policy of the Report of 1834-that vagrants should be treated like any other able-bodied male paupers, and offered “the House”-had been a conspicuous failure. The new “union workhouses,” rising up all over the country, afforded to the habitual tramp a national system of well-ordered, suitably situated, gratuitous common lodging-houses, of which he took increasing advantage. Confronted by this growth of vagrancy, the Poor Law Commissioners, towards the end of their term, had pressed on boards of guardians a new vagrancy policy-that of making the night’s lodging disagreeable to the wayfarer. By statute and order the Central Authority had authorised compulsory detention for four hours and the exaction of a task of work. This policy had not been generally adopted, nor particularly successful where tried. In the bad years of 1847-9 vagrancy was still increasing at a dangerous rate, and one of the first duties of the new Poor Law Board was to issue instructions on the subject.

The instructions given by Mr. Charles Buller, the first President of the Poor Law Board, adumbrated in the guise of a policy what were really two distinct and inherently incompatible lines of action. The Central Authority, on the one hand, pressed on boards of guardians the advisability of discriminating between the honest unemployed in search of work and the professional tramp-“the thief, the mendicant and the prostitute, who crowd the vagrant wards”-even to the extent of refusing all relief whatsoever to able-bodied men of the latter class, who were not in immediate danger of starvation. It seems as if the Central Authority was at this point almost inclined to press on boards of guardians the Scottish Poor Law policy of regarding the able-bodied healthy male adult as ineligible for relief. “As a general rule,” it was laid down, the relieving officer “would be right in refusing relief to able-bodied and healthy men; though in inclement weather he might afford them shelter if really destitute of the means of procuring it for themselves.” Acting on this suggestion many boards of guardians closed their vagrant wards, and the Bradford Guardians decided to “altogether dispense with” the meals heretofore given “at the vagrant office.” The honest wayfarer in temporary distress might, it was suggested, be given a certificate showing his circumstances, destination, object of journey, etc., upon production of which he was to be readily admitted to the workhouses, and provided with comfortable accommodation.

To aid in this discrimination, it was suggested that a police constable, who had knowledge of habitual vagrants and was feared by them, would be useful as an assistant relieving officer. Nevertheless the other policy, that of the casual ward, admitting to its disagreeable and deterrent shelter every applicant who chose to apply for it, was not abandoned by the Central Authority. The orders and instructions about casual wards still remained in force, and continued to be issued or confirmed. These involved, not the refusal of relief to the able-bodied healthy male adult, but systematic provision for it, coupled with detention and a task of work.

Ten years later we find the Central Authority definitely abandoning, so far as the Metropolis was concerned, both its policy of discrimination among wayfarers and that of refusing, at any rate in weather not inclement, relief to the healthy able-bodied male vagrant. The London workhouses had become congested “by the flocking into them of the lowest and most difficult to manage classes of poor.”

They were now to be entirely relieved of the annoyance and disorganisation caused by the nightly influx of casual inmates. All persons applying for a night’s lodging were to be subjected, whatever their antecedents, character, or circumstances, to a uniform “test of destitution,” by being received only in “asylums for the houseless poor,” six of which, conducted on a uniform system of employment, discipline, and deterrent treatment, were to be established in London apart from the workhouses. This was admittedly a revival of the project of 1844, which had failed from the “want of co-operation on the part of several of the boards of guardians.” The revived policy proved for six years equally unsuccessful and for the same reason. The six “asylums for the houseless poor” did not get built, and vagrants continued to be dealt with haphazard in the forty Metropolitan workhouses. In 1864 the Central Authority took what proved to be a decisive step. The Metropolitan Houseless Poor Acts, 1864 and 1865, made it obligatory on Metropolitan boards of guardians to provide casual wards for “destitute wayfarers, wanderers, and foundlings.” At the same time it bribed them to adopt that policy for all wayfarers by making (in accordance with a recommendation of the House of Commons Select Committee on Poor Relief of 1864) the cost of relief given in the casual wards a common charge upon the whole of London. The casual wards so made a common charge had to be conducted under rules to be framed by the Central Authority; and these we have in the Circular of October 26th 1864, recommending that the new casual wards should consist of two large “parallelograms,” each to accommodate in common promiscuity as many of one sex as were ever expected; furnished with a common “sleeping platform” down each side, on which the reclining occupants were to be separated from each other only by planks on edge; without separate accommodation for dressing or undressing; and with coarse “straw or cocoa fibre in a loose tick,” and a rug “sufficient for warmth.” To this was added, by the General Order of March 3rd 1866, a uniform dietary “for wayfarers” in these wards of bread and gruel only, thus definitely marking the abandonment, so far as London was concerned, of all attempt, either at refusing a night’s lodging to able-bodied healthy males, or at doing anything more or anything different for the honest unemployed wayfarer than for the professional tramp.

Notwithstanding the apparent decisiveness of policy as to vagrants embodied in the Metropolitan Houseless Poor Act of 1864, we find the Central Authority, disturbed by the steady growth of vagrancy throughout the country, still continuing to talk about discrimination. In 1868, Sir M. Hicks-Beach, in announcing that the Poor Law Board contemplated extending to the whole country the Metropolitan system of dealing with vagrants, added, with an inconsistency which we do not understand, that “it would be required … that guardians should take the responsibility of a sound and vigilant discrimination between deserving travellers in search of work and professional vagrants not really destitute, by the appointment of officers capable of exercising such discrimination; and that, where practicable, the police should be appointed assistant relieving officers. The forthcoming Order would likewise suggest, in cases where it might be practicable, that the accommodation for deserving travellers should be different from that given to professional vagrants.” Yet even for the professional vagrant the promiscuous London casual ward of 1864 was not to beextended. “It was,” said the President of the Poor Law Board in 1868, “very desirable that … each person should have a separate or divided bed place.” The new policy, which the President seems to have thought was the London policy of 1864, but which was really a revival of Mr. Charles Buller’s policy of 1848, was embodied in a Circular, which admittedly reproduced, in all essentials, the Minute of 1848-the necessity of discrimination, the employment of the police, the issue of tickets to genuine honest wayfarers, their comfortable accommodation in workhouses without task of work, and the desirability of uniformity of treatment in the different unions.

It must be added that, before the end of its tenure of office, the Poor Law Board had become convinced that it had as completely failed to solve the problem of vagrancy as had the Poor Law Commissioners. In the Metropolis it was forced on its attention that “the great increase in the pauper population may be traced to the operation of the Houseless Poor Act, which has practically legalised vagrancy and professional vagabondism.” Throughout the whole country the number of vagrants nightly relieved in the workhouse, which had between 1858 and 1862 always been under 2000, rose between 1862 and 1870 to between five and six thousand, and to a maximum of 7946 on 1st July 1868, though falling to less in the exceptionally good trade of 1870-1. The fact is that the boards of guardians felt themselves between the horns of a dilemma, against which the inconsistent see-saw policy of the Central Authority was no protection. If they refused relief to those whom their relievingofficers deemed worthless loafers, these bad characters became “masterful beggars,” pertinacious tramps, and sources of danger to the countryside, whilst in the bad times of 1866 some of those refused relief suffered hardship and even death. Hence the general reversion to a policy of relief. The Central Authority, under Mr. Goschen’s presidency, was at this point considering a new policy, that of penal detention after relief. Mr. Goschen explained to the House of Commons that this would amount, practically, to “a kind of imprisonment,” and be “a stronger measure than the administration by the police of the law as at present existing,” which had also been proposed, but “if Parliament were inclined to concede power to detain paupers for a longer period than they were now detained, and to keep them at work, he believed that would be a very effectual means of diminishing vagrancy and pauperism.”

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Vagrants and the Poor Law Commissioners

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: We have seen that the policy of the Report and Act of 1834, with regard to vagrants, was to ignore them as a class, to relieve them only in the workhouse, and to deal with them exactly as with other workhouse inmates. What the Central Authority seems to have contemplated was that the strict application of the “workhouse test” would not only prevent vagrants coming on the rates at all, but that it could be used to prevent almsgiving. It was apparently with this view that the Central Authority, in 1837, sanctioned a code of regulations for the admission to the workhouse of the “casual poor,” meaning “wayfarers” or homeless “persons in a state of destitution … who … belonged to distant parishes.” These regulations included admission by tickets distributed by any rate-payer, and the performance of a task of work before the grant of a meal. In diet, discipline, and other treatment, they were to be dealt with “as the other paupers in the workhouse.” In other unions the regulations included the establishment of a separate vagrant ward, which was equally sanctioned by the Central Authority. A similar plan was strongly pressed on the local authorities of the Metropolis in 1838 and 1839. Such vagrants must, however, if destitute, not be refused relief. The Central Authority hoped that “if these arrangements be adopted … casual almsgiving in the streets, by which vagrancy and imposture are encouraged, will be materially checked.” The first sign of discontent with this policy that we find is in 1841, when the Central Authority is asked by the local authorities of Lambeth and Colchester “whether the workhouse is to be a lodging house and to be inundated with these trampers” who habitually “make the union house a lodging house,” greatly to the annoyance of the establishment. The Central Authority admits that its policy of a mere application of the “workhouse test” to vagrants has proved unsatisfactory, and declares the only effectual remedy to be a separate semi-penal establishment. In the absence of adequate statutory powers, the Central Authority pours out, between 1841 and 1844, a stream of regulations and suggestions to local authorities, based on the idea of making the night’s stay of the vagrant more unpleasant to him. There was to be everywhere a separate vagrant ward; without a fire; smoking and card playing were to be strictly prohibited; they were to be bathed; their bedding was to be inferior to that of other inmates, and so on. Above all, they were to be prosecuted under the Vagrant Act on the slightest provocation.

Yet the Central Authority was not yet convinced of the need for a vagrant ward in every union. When the Bradford Board of Guardians pointed out in 1844 that the average number of their vagrants was only twelve a week, the Central Authority at once acquiesced in the abandonment of the proposed vagrant ward, and said that arrangements should be made to set the vagrants a task of work in the workhouse itself.

In 1842 and 1844, as we have seen, slightly increased powers over vagrants were obtained (including, but only by implication, statutory authority for the four hours’ detention in the morning), together with powers to establish district asylums for the houseless poor in certain large towns.

The Central Authority “framed a scheme for division of the whole of the Metropolitan district” into areas corresponding “to the great lines of roads along which mendicants and vagrants” entered London, which were to have separate establishments for vagrants, and so entirely relieve the Metropolitan workhouses of their care. What Orders were issued to this effect is not clear. Meanwhile the House of Commons appointed a Select Committee to consider the whole conduct of the Central Authority; and no further action was taken. Orders were issued to the boards of management of the newly created vagrant districts, telling them that they need not meet. How far these vagrancy districts ever came into existence we have not yet discovered. One of them, the North Eastern Metropolitan District, had got so far as to enter into a contract for the purchase of a site and to borrow ?3500 to pay for it. “Owing to various causes, the chief of which was a want of co-operation on the part of several of the boards of guardians, that scheme, after an inquiry by a Committee of the House of Commons, was abandoned.” Beyond this somewhat obscure episode, all that happened was that when the General Consolidated Order of 1847 systematically codified the regulations affecting workhouses, it included, scattered among its various sections, a few provisions relating to the treatment of the “casual poor wayfarers,” such as the requirement of a separate ward, and the express regulation of their diet and employment.

Vagrants and the Poor Law Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: We left the Poor Law Commissioners, in 1847, at last awake to the fact that the policy of the Report of 1834-that vagrants should be treated like any other able-bodied male paupers, and offered “the House”-had been a conspicuous failure. The new “union workhouses,” rising up all over the country, afforded to the habitual tramp a national system of well-ordered, suitably situated, gratuitous common lodging-houses, of which he took increasing advantage. Confronted by this growth of vagrancy, the Poor Law Commissioners, towards the end of their term, had pressed on boards of guardians a new vagrancy policy-that of making the night’s lodging disagreeable to the wayfarer. By statute and order the Central Authority had authorised compulsory detention for four hours and the exaction of a task of work. This policy had not been generally adopted, nor particularly successful where tried. In the bad years of 1847-9 vagrancy was still increasing at a dangerous rate, and one of the first duties of the new Poor Law Board was to issue instructions on the subject.

The instructions given by Mr. Charles Buller, the first President of the Poor Law Board, adumbrated in the guise of a policy what were really two distinct and inherently incompatible lines of action. The Central Authority, on the one hand, pressed on boards of guardians the advisability of discriminating between the honest unemployed in search of work and the professional tramp-“the thief, the mendicant and the prostitute, who crowd the vagrant wards”-even to the extent of refusing all relief whatsoever to able-bodied men of the latter class, who were not in immediate danger of starvation. It seems as if the Central Authority was at this point almost inclined to press on boards of guardians the Scottish Poor Law policy of regarding the able-bodied healthy male adult as ineligible for relief. “As a general rule,” it was laid down, the relieving officer “would be right in refusing relief to able-bodied and healthy men; though in inclement weather he might afford them shelter if really destitute of the means of procuring it for themselves.” Acting on this suggestion many boards of guardians closed their vagrant wards, and the Bradford Guardians decided to “altogether dispense with” the meals heretofore given “at the vagrant office.” The honest wayfarer in temporary distress might, it was suggested, be given a certificate showing his circumstances, destination, object of journey, etc., upon production of which he was to be readily admitted to the workhouses, and provided with comfortable accommodation.

To aid in this discrimination, it was suggested that a police constable, who had knowledge of habitual vagrants and was feared by them, would be useful as an assistant relieving officer. Nevertheless the other policy, that of the casual ward, admitting to its disagreeable and deterrent shelter every applicant who chose to apply for it, was not abandoned by the Central Authority. The orders and instructions about casual wards still remained in force, and continued to be issued or confirmed. These involved, not the refusal of relief to the able-bodied healthy male adult, but systematic provision for it, coupled with detention and a task of work.

Ten years later we find the Central Authority definitely abandoning, so far as the Metropolis was concerned, both its policy of discrimination among wayfarers and that of refusing, at any rate in weather not inclement, relief to the healthy able-bodied male vagrant. The London workhouses had become congested “by the flocking into them of the lowest and most difficult to manage classes of poor.”

They were now to be entirely relieved of the annoyance and disorganisation caused by the nightly influx of casual inmates. All persons applying for a night’s lodging were to be subjected, whatever their antecedents, character, or circumstances, to a uniform “test of destitution,” by being received only in “asylums for the houseless poor,” six of which, conducted on a uniform system of employment, discipline, and deterrent treatment, were to be established in London apart from the workhouses. This was admittedly a revival of the project of 1844, which had failed from the “want of co-operation on the part of several of the boards of guardians.” The revived policy proved for six years equally unsuccessful and for the same reason. The six “asylums for the houseless poor” did not get built, and vagrants continued to be dealt with haphazard in the forty Metropolitan workhouses. In 1864 the Central Authority took what proved to be a decisive step. The Metropolitan Houseless Poor Acts, 1864 and 1865, made it obligatory on Metropolitan boards of guardians to provide casual wards for “destitute wayfarers, wanderers, and foundlings.” At the same time it bribed them to adopt that policy for all wayfarers by making (in accordance with a recommendation of the House of Commons Select Committee on Poor Relief of 1864) the cost of relief given in the casual wards a common charge upon the whole of London. The casual wards so made a common charge had to be conducted under rules to be framed by the Central Authority; and these we have in the Circular of October 26th 1864, recommending that the new casual wards should consist of two large “parallelograms,” each to accommodate in common promiscuity as many of one sex as were ever expected; furnished with a common “sleeping platform” down each side, on which the reclining occupants were to be separated from each other only by planks on edge; without separate accommodation for dressing or undressing; and with coarse “straw or cocoa fibre in a loose tick,” and a rug “sufficient for warmth.” To this was added, by the General Order of March 3rd 1866, a uniform dietary “for wayfarers” in these wards of bread and gruel only, thus definitely marking the abandonment, so far as London was concerned, of all attempt, either at refusing a night’s lodging to able-bodied healthy males, or at doing anything more or anything different for the honest unemployed wayfarer than for the professional tramp.

Notwithstanding the apparent decisiveness of policy as to vagrants embodied in the Metropolitan Houseless Poor Act of 1864, we find the Central Authority, disturbed by the steady growth of vagrancy throughout the country, still continuing to talk about discrimination. In 1868, Sir M. Hicks-Beach, in announcing that the Poor Law Board contemplated extending to the whole country the Metropolitan system of dealing with vagrants, added, with an inconsistency which we do not understand, that “it would be required … that guardians should take the responsibility of a sound and vigilant discrimination between deserving travellers in search of work and professional vagrants not really destitute, by the appointment of officers capable of exercising such discrimination; and that, where practicable, the police should be appointed assistant relieving officers. The forthcoming Order would likewise suggest, in cases where it might be practicable, that the accommodation for deserving travellers should be different from that given to professional vagrants.” Yet even for the professional vagrant the promiscuous London casual ward of 1864 was not to beextended. “It was,” said the President of the Poor Law Board in 1868, “very desirable that … each person should have a separate or divided bed place.” The new policy, which the President seems to have thought was the London policy of 1864, but which was really a revival of Mr. Charles Buller’s policy of 1848, was embodied in a Circular, which admittedly reproduced, in all essentials, the Minute of 1848-the necessity of discrimination, the employment of the police, the issue of tickets to genuine honest wayfarers, their comfortable accommodation in workhouses without task of work, and the desirability of uniformity of treatment in the different unions.

It must be added that, before the end of its tenure of office, the Poor Law Board had become convinced that it had as completely failed to solve the problem of vagrancy as had the Poor Law Commissioners. In the Metropolis it was forced on its attention that “the great increase in the pauper population may be traced to the operation of the Houseless Poor Act, which has practically legalised vagrancy and professional vagabondism.” Throughout the whole country the number of vagrants nightly relieved in the workhouse, which had between 1858 and 1862 always been under 2000, rose between 1862 and 1870 to between five and six thousand, and to a maximum of 7946 on 1st July 1868, though falling to less in the exceptionally good trade of 1870-1. The fact is that the boards of guardians felt themselves between the horns of a dilemma, against which the inconsistent see-saw policy of the Central Authority was no protection. If they refused relief to those whom their relievingofficers deemed worthless loafers, these bad characters became “masterful beggars,” pertinacious tramps, and sources of danger to the countryside, whilst in the bad times of 1866 some of those refused relief suffered hardship and even death. Hence the general reversion to a policy of relief. The Central Authority, under Mr. Goschen’s presidency, was at this point considering a new policy, that of penal detention after relief. Mr. Goschen explained to the House of Commons that this would amount, practically, to “a kind of imprisonment,” and be “a stronger measure than the administration by the police of the law as at present existing,” which had also been proposed, but “if Parliament were inclined to concede power to detain paupers for a longer period than they were now detained, and to keep them at work, he believed that would be a very effectual means of diminishing vagrancy and pauperism.”

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Vagrants and the Poor Law Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: We left the Poor Law Commissioners, in 1847, at last awake to the fact that the policy of the Report of 1834-that vagrants should be treated like any other able-bodied male paupers, and offered “the House”-had been a conspicuous failure. The new “union workhouses,” rising up all over the country, afforded to the habitual tramp a national system of well-ordered, suitably situated, gratuitous common lodging-houses, of which he took increasing advantage. Confronted by this growth of vagrancy, the Poor Law Commissioners, towards the end of their term, had pressed on boards of guardians a new vagrancy policy-that of making the night’s lodging disagreeable to the wayfarer. By statute and order the Central Authority had authorised compulsory detention for four hours and the exaction of a task of work. This policy had not been generally adopted, nor particularly successful where tried. In the bad years of 1847-9 vagrancy was still increasing at a dangerous rate, and one of the first duties of the new Poor Law Board was to issue instructions on the subject.

The instructions given by Mr. Charles Buller, the first President of the Poor Law Board, adumbrated in the guise of a policy what were really two distinct and inherently incompatible lines of action. The Central Authority, on the one hand, pressed on boards of guardians the advisability of discriminating between the honest unemployed in search of work and the professional tramp-“the thief, the mendicant and the prostitute, who crowd the vagrant wards”-even to the extent of refusing all relief whatsoever to able-bodied men of the latter class, who were not in immediate danger of starvation. It seems as if the Central Authority was at this point almost inclined to press on boards of guardians the Scottish Poor Law policy of regarding the able-bodied healthy male adult as ineligible for relief. “As a general rule,” it was laid down, the relieving officer “would be right in refusing relief to able-bodied and healthy men; though in inclement weather he might afford them shelter if really destitute of the means of procuring it for themselves.” Acting on this suggestion many boards of guardians closed their vagrant wards, and the Bradford Guardians decided to “altogether dispense with” the meals heretofore given “at the vagrant office.” The honest wayfarer in temporary distress might, it was suggested, be given a certificate showing his circumstances, destination, object of journey, etc., upon production of which he was to be readily admitted to the workhouses, and provided with comfortable accommodation.

To aid in this discrimination, it was suggested that a police constable, who had knowledge of habitual vagrants and was feared by them, would be useful as an assistant relieving officer. Nevertheless the other policy, that of the casual ward, admitting to its disagreeable and deterrent shelter every applicant who chose to apply for it, was not abandoned by the Central Authority. The orders and instructions about casual wards still remained in force, and continued to be issued or confirmed. These involved, not the refusal of relief to the able-bodied healthy male adult, but systematic provision for it, coupled with detention and a task of work.

Ten years later we find the Central Authority definitely abandoning, so far as the Metropolis was concerned, both its policy of discrimination among wayfarers and that of refusing, at any rate in weather not inclement, relief to the healthy able-bodied male vagrant. The London workhouses had become congested “by the flocking into them of the lowest and most difficult to manage classes of poor.”

They were now to be entirely relieved of the annoyance and disorganisation caused by the nightly influx of casual inmates. All persons applying for a night’s lodging were to be subjected, whatever their antecedents, character, or circumstances, to a uniform “test of destitution,” by being received only in “asylums for the houseless poor,” six of which, conducted on a uniform system of employment, discipline, and deterrent treatment, were to be established in London apart from the workhouses. This was admittedly a revival of the project of 1844, which had failed from the “want of co-operation on the part of several of the boards of guardians.” The revived policy proved for six years equally unsuccessful and for the same reason. The six “asylums for the houseless poor” did not get built, and vagrants continued to be dealt with haphazard in the forty Metropolitan workhouses. In 1864 the Central Authority took what proved to be a decisive step. The Metropolitan Houseless Poor Acts, 1864 and 1865, made it obligatory on Metropolitan boards of guardians to provide casual wards for “destitute wayfarers, wanderers, and foundlings.” At the same time it bribed them to adopt that policy for all wayfarers by making (in accordance with a recommendation of the House of Commons Select Committee on Poor Relief of 1864) the cost of relief given in the casual wards a common charge upon the whole of London. The casual wards so made a common charge had to be conducted under rules to be framed by the Central Authority; and these we have in the Circular of October 26th 1864, recommending that the new casual wards should consist of two large “parallelograms,” each to accommodate in common promiscuity as many of one sex as were ever expected; furnished with a common “sleeping platform” down each side, on which the reclining occupants were to be separated from each other only by planks on edge; without separate accommodation for dressing or undressing; and with coarse “straw or cocoa fibre in a loose tick,” and a rug “sufficient for warmth.” To this was added, by the General Order of March 3rd 1866, a uniform dietary “for wayfarers” in these wards of bread and gruel only, thus definitely marking the abandonment, so far as London was concerned, of all attempt, either at refusing a night’s lodging to able-bodied healthy males, or at doing anything more or anything different for the honest unemployed wayfarer than for the professional tramp.

Notwithstanding the apparent decisiveness of policy as to vagrants embodied in the Metropolitan Houseless Poor Act of 1864, we find the Central Authority, disturbed by the steady growth of vagrancy throughout the country, still continuing to talk about discrimination. In 1868, Sir M. Hicks-Beach, in announcing that the Poor Law Board contemplated extending to the whole country the Metropolitan system of dealing with vagrants, added, with an inconsistency which we do not understand, that “it would be required … that guardians should take the responsibility of a sound and vigilant discrimination between deserving travellers in search of work and professional vagrants not really destitute, by the appointment of officers capable of exercising such discrimination; and that, where practicable, the police should be appointed assistant relieving officers. The forthcoming Order would likewise suggest, in cases where it might be practicable, that the accommodation for deserving travellers should be different from that given to professional vagrants.” Yet even for the professional vagrant the promiscuous London casual ward of 1864 was not to beextended. “It was,” said the President of the Poor Law Board in 1868, “very desirable that … each person should have a separate or divided bed place.” The new policy, which the President seems to have thought was the London policy of 1864, but which was really a revival of Mr. Charles Buller’s policy of 1848, was embodied in a Circular, which admittedly reproduced, in all essentials, the Minute of 1848-the necessity of discrimination, the employment of the police, the issue of tickets to genuine honest wayfarers, their comfortable accommodation in workhouses without task of work, and the desirability of uniformity of treatment in the different unions.

It must be added that, before the end of its tenure of office, the Poor Law Board had become convinced that it had as completely failed to solve the problem of vagrancy as had the Poor Law Commissioners. In the Metropolis it was forced on its attention that “the great increase in the pauper population may be traced to the operation of the Houseless Poor Act, which has practically legalised vagrancy and professional vagabondism.” Throughout the whole country the number of vagrants nightly relieved in the workhouse, which had between 1858 and 1862 always been under 2000, rose between 1862 and 1870 to between five and six thousand, and to a maximum of 7946 on 1st July 1868, though falling to less in the exceptionally good trade of 1870-1. The fact is that the boards of guardians felt themselves between the horns of a dilemma, against which the inconsistent see-saw policy of the Central Authority was no protection. If they refused relief to those whom their relievingofficers deemed worthless loafers, these bad characters became “masterful beggars,” pertinacious tramps, and sources of danger to the countryside, whilst in the bad times of 1866 some of those refused relief suffered hardship and even death. Hence the general reversion to a policy of relief. The Central Authority, under Mr. Goschen’s presidency, was at this point considering a new policy, that of penal detention after relief. Mr. Goschen explained to the House of Commons that this would amount, practically, to “a kind of imprisonment,” and be “a stronger measure than the administration by the police of the law as at present existing,” which had also been proposed, but “if Parliament were inclined to concede power to detain paupers for a longer period than they were now detained, and to keep them at work, he believed that would be a very effectual means of diminishing vagrancy and pauperism.”

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Vagrants and the Local Government Board

In this issue about vagrants, the book “English Poor Law Policy” [1] reads as follows: The adoption, between 1886 and 1907, of a policy of discriminating between some able-bodied applicants and others, according to their character and circumstances, with a view (whether by Poor Law farm colony or by the relief works and labour exchanges of the distress committees) to the rehabilitation of the man really seeking work, makes all the more remarkable the retention, during the whole period, of a contrary policy with regard to wayfarers or vagrants. We find the Central Authority, from 1871 onwards, consistently maintaining for this class a policy of indiscriminate relief on demand, under deterrent conditions, distinctly “less eligible” than the poorest accommodation of the independent labourer, free from any trace of wish for, or attempt at, reform or cure, and intended to be uniform throughout the kingdom. There was, for instance, after 1871, no reversion to the policy so frequently adumbrated between 1847 and 1871, of discriminating between the professional tramp and the bona fide workman in search of employment, reserving the deterrent casual ward for the one, and granting a night’s lodging without conditions to the other. On the contrary, the basis of the new policy of 1871 was the universal establishment of the deterrent casual ward for all wayfarers, and the exclusion from the workhouse of even the worthiest among them. This uniformity was to be secured by the Pauper Inmates Discharge and Regulation Act, 1871, which provided that a casual pauper should not be entitled to discharge himself before 11 a.m. on the day following his admission, or, if found a second time in one casual ward within a month, not till 9 a.m. on the third day, nor in any case until he had performed a prescribed task. The Act also made for uniformity by requiring the guardians to provide such casual wards as the Central Authority thought necessary, and by subjecting the admission, diet, and task to its Orders. From this time forth, therefore, the Central Authority assumes complete responsibility for the treatment of vagrants. Its Circular of 1871 begins by condemning the work of its predecessors. “The result of the system hitherto adopted in the relief of this class of paupers cannot be regarded as successful, for while there has been no uniformity of treatment as to diet and work there has been neglect in many unions to provide proper and sufficient wards.” The Central Authority enunciated once more the need for national uniformity, pointing out that stringent regulations in one union caused vagrants to vary their route and resort to another place, and expressed an intention of requiring that suitable accommodation should be provided at every workhouse. But no uniformity was actually prescribed. The examples of Bath and Corwen unions were quoted for the guidance of others. At Bath vagrants had to apply for relief at the police station, whence able-bodied men were sent to the workhouse, where they were relieved, and required to perform a three hours’ task of stone-breaking, while women, children, and old and infirm men were relieved at a refuge without any task. The Central Authority mentioned this system with apparent approval, and remarked that it had diminished the vagrancy of Bath by over 58 per cent. At Corwen a proposal was approved to place the vagrant wards in the yard of the police station, and appoint a police officer as assistant relieving officer. But the stream of vagrants, after a merely temporary abatement, continued to grow. In 1882 the Central Authority got another statute, and issued another order, increasing the period of detention and otherwise making the conditions more deterrent-still without laying down any policy of discrimination between wayfarers of one sort and wayfarers of another. A few more years’ experience showed that the detention really operated against the virtuous wayfarer, who found himself discharged too late to get the work for which he had tramped. The remedy of the Central Authority was to issue circulars suggesting that the guardians should give orders that casual paupers who had done their task on the preceding day should be allowed to leave early in the morning. Some boards of guardians acted on this, others did not-thus destroying the national uniformity at which the Central Authority had aimed. Finally, in 1892, in tardy response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Committee of 1888, a Circular and an Order were issued, “with the view of facilitating the search for work by casual paupers who are desirous of obtaining employment,” which gave to every inmate of the casual ward, who had performed his task to the best of his ability, an absolute right to claim his discharge at 5.30 A.M. in summer, or 6 A.M. in winter, on the second day after admission, on his merely representing “that he is desirous of seeking work.” Whether from this or other causes, the stream of vagrants continued to grow, with the usual fluctuations. In 1904 the numbers passed all previous records, and so unsatisfactory had proved the policy of 1871-1904 that a Departmental Committee was appointed to find a new one.

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also

Resources

Notes and References

  1. Sidney Webb and Beatrice Webb, “English Poor Law Policy” (1913), Longmans, Green and Co., London, New York, Bombay and Calcuta.

See Also



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  • Article Name: Vagrants
  • Author: Margaret Parker
  • Description: History of Vagrants The following concept of Vagrants may be usefull here:Able-bodied people who were unemployed (generally [...]

This entry was last updated: April 15, 2017

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