English Poor Laws - Scotland and Ireland

Scotland and Ireland

Further information: Scottish Poor Laws and Irish Poor Laws

The Poor Law systems of Scotland and Ireland were distinct from the English Poor Law system covering England and Wales although Irish legislation was heavily influenced by the English Poor Law Amendment Act. In Scotland the Poor Law system was reformed by the 1845 Scottish Poor Law Act. In Ireland the Irish Poor Law Act of 1838 was the first attempt to put control of the destitute and responsibility for their welfare on a statutory basis. Due to exceptional overcrowding, workhouses in Ireland stopped admissions during the Irish Potato famine and increasingly resorted to outdoor relief. Emigration was sometimes used by landlords as a method of keeping the cost of poor relief down and removing surplus labour. Reforms after the Irish War of Independence resulted in the abolition of Boards of Guardians in the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State and their replacement by County Boards of Health.

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