THE MAKING OF THE IRISH POOR LAW, 1815-43

PETER GRAY
400pp 2009 LIST PRICE: £80.00 H642

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Description
This study examines the debates preceding and surrounding the Poor Law of 1838 on the nature of Irish poverty and the responsibilities of society towards it. Following enactment, the island was covered by a network of 130 union workhouses, which became notorious for the harshness of their internal regime and for their catastrophic failure during the Great Famine. The nature and internal frictions of the great Irish poor inquiry of 1833-36 are analysed, along with the policy recommendations made by its chairman, Archbishop Whately, and the aims and limitations of the government’s measure and the public reaction to it in Ireland and Britain are considered. Finally, the study describes the implementation of the Poor Law between 1838 and 1843 under the controversial direction of George Nicholls.