22 January 2012

Beggar Thy Neighbour

The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act stipulated that no able-bodied person was to be relieved by the Poor Law authorities except as the inmate of a workhouse, supposedly to reduce vagrancy; and that workhouse conditions were to be deliberately harsh, supposedly to discourage indigence.

Each parish, or union of small parishes, was to build a workhouse. That at Llanfyllin, for 250 paupers, was built in 1838, to a design by Thomas Penson, co-pupil with Thomas Telford of the famous bridge builder, Thomas Harrison. Grade II Listed, it is now in the hands of a local charity and provides the backdrop for an annual music festival.

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