. > ...

Visit the main website of Leyton & Leytonstone Historical Society

About footnotes in . > ...

Have your say

the history of Leyton and Leytonstone

from . dot to … dots – with plenty of spaces

.>... contents Previous (left) Next (right) Next (right)

the later Victorian and Edwardian times 1890 to 1919

The poor

David Lloyd George as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Herbert Asquith as Prime Minister of a Liberal government introduced the Pensions Act of 1908 to "lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor" (Lloyd George’s words).

The West Ham area had the 2nd lowest cost per head of population in Essex for out-door relief and in-maintenance in 1892 (and Saffron Walden the highest) 2.

Workhouse inmates had long been required to wear clothes that drew attention to their status, and this remained the case.  Children at the Bethnal Green poor Law Union’s Home at Leytonstone House also wore a distinctive uniform.

1  Essex Workhouses by John Drury, Farthings Publications 2006

West Ham Union workhouse

In 1901 the West Ham Union Workhouse at Leytonstone (photo on the left) contained 2,091 inmates including 333 children. Between 1895 and 1905 the population of the West Ham Union parishes increased by 48% from 451,000 to 667,000 but the workhouse population increased by 98% from 1,814 to 3,597 and the number on out-relief increased by 113% from 7,644 to 16,320.  By 1918 there were no children in any Essex workhouses. 1

2  1s 1 ½ d compared with 2s 5 ¾ d - newspaper cutting “The Express & Independent. / Saturday, April 15th,1893 // The Cost of Pauperism in Essex.” numbered 292 in “Wire Collection News Cuttings 1893”, VHM shelf item at L04 Q

Section contents
next page