Making sense of diversity
in Sickness, medical welfare and the English poor, 1750–1834
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This chapter brings together the arguments which are core to the book. It argues that the sick poor became the totemic group of paupers in the last decades of the Old Poor Law and that medical welfare became the most insistent part of poor law spending. By 1834, the Old Poor Law was well on the way to becoming a proto-medical service. This, and the fact that the poor and officials expected the sick to negotiate their relief, had fundamental consequences for the stability and purpose of the post-1834 New Poor Law.


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