Abstract

 

Overseersí vested interests played an important role in shaping local poor relief provision under the Old Poor Law. In the industrial town of Bolton the Relief Order books for the 1820s reveal an unusual emphasis upon the payment of paupersí rent by the parish. This policy was partly a result of self-interest. Many members of the Relief Committee owned substantial quantities of residential property. Such rent payments ensured that these landlords received a subsidy from other ratepayers. A desire to preserve this type of relief, frowned upon by the 1834 Report, may be a contributory factor in the Board of Guardianís later resistance to the Poor Law Amendment Act.