Status details for Gilbert Union

Status:Gilbert Union
Number of units in system:
Geographical Level: 8 (Higher-level District)
ADL Feature Type:countries, 3rd order divisions
Is a status within:Poor Law Union/Reg. District

Full Description:

The Gilbert Act (1782(22 Geo.III,c.83)) enabled parishes to unite for the purpose of monitoring their poor within a common workhouse, "provided that no parish was distant more than ten miles from the intended site of the Poorhouse"(Lipman, 1949, p.39). These workhouses were controlled by the Justices, who would also appoint a permanent Governor and a Visitor of the Workhouse. There was a general dislike of the Gilbert Act, mainly due to the clause that "required the provision of work if the applicant for relief was unemployed, yet forbade it to be given to the Workhouse"(Lipman, 1949, p.40). Thirteen years later, Sir William Young's Act (1795(36 Geo.III, c.23)) allowed Justices to order domiciliary relief and introduced the 'Speenhamland System', a method of giving poor relief that was based on the price of bread and size of a labourer's family. Before 1834, a large number of Local Acts were passed, as well as numerous adaptations of the Gilbert Act, leading to the creation of 65 Gilbert Act Unions.