Day School: The Parish Pauper - Life on the Breadline in 18th Century England

Ref: C3743200

This dayschool will look at the provision of social care for families at the lower end of the social scale - the labourers, farm workers, elderly, sick & destitute - in Georgian times in England & Wales. We will start with the growth of the parish poorhouse and workhouse, look at the changing role of the House of Correction and then observe the effects of the Speenhamland system, making comparisons with modern-day poverty issues, whilst keeping an eye on the new ideas discussed by the philosophers and revolutionaries of the late 18th century. We will use contemporary records, journals and diaries to illustrate key points and involve the students with readings and group discussions.

Additional information about this course

This course is not supported by The Education and Skills Funding Agency and does not have a fee waiver but concessions may be available. Contact the branch for further details.

Course aim

Observing how the poor and marginalised coped with changing government legisation, social attitudes and economic conditions in Georgian England, topics ranging from the parish poorhouse to Speenhamland system.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify key changes to parish provision for the poor and needy in 18th century England & Wales.
  • Explain the difference between a House of Correction and a parish Workhouse.
  • Make comparisions with modern-day care for the poor and needy.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • A handout listing key dates and events will be provided for all students.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • A handout listing websites linked to topics discussed during the day school will be provided.

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Day School: The Parish Pauper - Life on the Breadline in 18th Century England


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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