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The workhouse
  Help from the Union

People who went to the Machynlleth Union for help did so because they were unable to earn their keep for some reason. Until the Union built a workhouse it would help these people by paying them money to enable them to stay in their homes until they were able to earn money of their own.
The money paid to the poor like this was called Outdoor Relief.

This extract from the Machynlleth Union records shows some of the people who received outdoor relief in 1858. They were all people who could not work because of illness and so could not earn money to buy food or clothing, or pay the rent. They could claim assistance for themselves or somebody else in the family they were looking after.

Debility - weakness.
Amputation - cutting off (of finger etc.)
Dyspepsia - indigestion or stomach pains.

  Entry from Union records

The extract reads:
"Evan Owen - 19 - Machynlleth - himself - "fever" - certified
Edward Rowland - 48 - Darowen - himself - "Debility"
Evan Roberts - 48 - Darowen - himself - " Diseased liver "
John Davies - 50 - Cemmes [Cemais] - himself - "amputation of finger"
William Jones - 43 - Cemmes - himself - "diseased liver"
John Edwards - 32 - Cemmes - himself - "diseased liver"
Thomas Jones - 43 - Mallwyd - himself - "Dispepsia" [dyspepsia]

The list tells us the names, ages, where they are from, who they are claiming for, and what their illness is. The end column where they are all listed as "certified" means that they have been visited by a doctor and are all genuinely ill.
There is more about help from the Machynlleth Poor Law Union on the next page...

Medical help from the Union...


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