Richmond Poor Law Union Applications

The application and report books were a record of those applying for poor relief, kept by the relieving officer. They hold a wealth of detail relating to the applicants, which may include their immediate family, their occupations, addresses, ages and the reasons why they applied for poor relief. Sadly, very few survive for Surrey (with the exception of Godstone Union which has a set of these books from 1869 to 1915) but those for Richmond Union are a particularly rich source.

Applications for poor relief were made either to the Relieving Officer or to the Board of Guardians directly, and the details entered into the book. The books were ‘signed off’ by the Board of Guardians every quarter, and a note of the decision or direction by the Board inserted at the quarterly meeting.

The books are laid out over two pages, and generally give the following information:

Number in the Relief List
Date of Application
Names of Applicants
Length of time in Union
Calling or Occupation
Marital Status
Ability (i.e. whether disabled)
If in receipt of relief
Present cause of seeking relief
Observations and names of relatives liable to relieve the applicant
Weekly earnings
Date of last visit
Quantity and nature of relief
Relief ordered by Guardians
Other orders

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