Living the Poor Life involved more than 200 volunteers across the country, including local and family historians, researching and cataloguing 19th century records from the huge Ministry of Health archive (MH12). […]
As part of the 18-month project, volunteer editors were given access to the digitised correspondence of 21 Poor Law Unions, from Berwick-upon-Tweed in the North to Truro in the South-West, and from Mitford and Launditch in East Anglia to Cardiff and Llanfyllin in Wales. Once notoriously difficult to research due to their size and limited indexing, these records now have detailed catalogue entries and a keyword search facility.
The result is an invaluable new resource for researchers and historians containing numerous tales of family breakdown, corruption and blackmail and the previously untold stories of the poor, left behind by Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Visitors to The National Archives website can now access more than 115,000 scanned images of original records from 108 volumes of Poor Law Union records, searchable by place, name and subject matter and free to download at http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/livingthepoorlife .
That records can be downloaded free of cost is an exception in the UK National Archives.