The 1847 Consolidated General Order
The implementation of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, and its accompanying nationwide system of union workhouses, were placed in the hands of the three Poor Law Commissioners based at Somerset House in London. The Commissioners issued a continual stream of detailed regulations and orders to the 600 or so Poor Law Unions in England and Wales. Some of these orders, known as Special Orders, applied only to specified unions and did not require parliamentary approval. Others, known as General Orders, applied to all unions and did require the endorsement of parliament.
By 1847, after a decade of evolution, the General Orders in force at that time were brought together as the Consolidated General Order. This effectively became the 'bible' of poor-law and workhouse operation and remained largely unchanged until a major updating took place in 1913.
To read the full text of the 1847 Consolidated General Order, just click on the accompanying picture of the Order's title page.
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