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[Excerpt] The last decade has seen an upsurge in research by social historians on the English poor laws, largely in the form of local studies. These have greatly increased our knowledge of the demographic makeup of the "pauper host," the generosity of relief benefits, and the ways in which paupers combined poor relief with other forms of income assistance in order to subsist. In this book, Steven King uses "poor law and other documentation" for 60 English communities to extend our understanding of the role played by poor relief from 1700 to 1850. He argues that during this period there was not in fact one national system of poor relief, but two macro-regional patterns: a relatively generous and benevolent system in the south and east, and a stinting and harsh one in the north and west.


Suggested Citation

Boyer, G. R. (2003). [Review of the book Poverty and welfare in England, 1700-1850: A regional perspective] [Electronic version]. Journal of Economic History 62(3), 873-874.

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