At the core of this book are three central contentions: That medical welfare became the totemic function of the Old Poor Law in its last few decades; that the poor themselves were able to negotiate this medical welfare rather than simply being subject to it; and that being doctored and institutionalised became part of the norm for the sick poor by the 1820s, in a way that had not been the case in the 1750s.
Exploring the lives and medical experiences of the poor largely in their own words, Sickness, medical welfare and the English poor offers a comprehensive reinterpretation of the so-called crisis of the Old Poor Law from the later eighteenth century. The sick poor became an insistent presence in the lives of officials and parishes and the (largely positive) way that communities responded to their dire needs must cause us to rethink the role and character of the poor law. -- .
Steven King is Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Leicester -- .
Part I: Locating sickness and medical welfare 1. The ecology of poor relief 2. Defining and measuring 3. Negotiating medical welfare Part II: The scale and character of medical welfare 4 Treating the sick poor: a quantitative overview 5 Medical People 6 Wider medical welfare 7 Dying, being buried and leaving people behind Part III: Parochial medical welfare in context 8 Institutions and the sick poor 9 The medical economy of makeshifts 10 Making sense of diversity Appendix Bibliography Index -- .