Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Care of the poor
  Help in hard times  

At the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign Poor Law Unions were set up to deal with the problem of helping those poor people who could not help themselves.
(To find out more about the setting up of the system see the Workhouse pages). The Upper Swansea valley came under the Pontardawe Poor Law Union.

The system shut away in workhouses those paupers who could not support themselves. Part of paupers list of 1877The Pontardawe Union still tried to help people outside the workhouse, which meant that they at least could see friends and loved ones, and they would not be locked in.
The Union paid small sums of money for food and clothing to poor people who could not work for some reason.
The list below of paupers in Ystradgynlais in 1877 gives us an idea of the sort of problems facing the poor in Victorian times.
  Part of paupers list of 1877  
  The first column tells us the name of the paupers, the second where they live and the third how much money they receive.
At the
top of the entry we can see a poor family who actually lived at the Ynyscedwyn Ironworks.
The father of the family was a Mr Williams who had a wife, a daughter Sarah and a son Evan. The reason they needed help was "sickness" and the family received four shillings per week (about 20p today !)
You can also see three families receiving help because the husbands were away looking for work.

More on care of the poor in the area...

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