The medical economy of makeshifts
in Sickness, medical welfare and the English poor, 1750–1834
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This chapter tries to situate parochial medical welfare within the wider medical economy of makeshifts. It argues that paupers engaged in a three-strand set of responses to illness in addition to their negotiation of parochial relief. Sometimes they explored medical avenues (for instance charitable treatment by doctors) which shadowed the response of parishes; sometimes they explored avenues which complemented parochial activity; and sometimes (for instance through self-dosing and self-help clubs) they explored avenues which substituted for parochial spending. The chapter concludes that the medical welfare traceable in Old Poor Law records was a small subset of that garnered by the poor.

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