Type details for Poor Law Union/Reg. District

Type:Poor Law Union/Reg. District
Description:From 1834, most parishes were grouped into Unions for the administration of poor relief and the operation of workhouses, although some large urban parishes operated independently and are listed here as Poor Law Parishes. From 1837, an almost identical geography of Registration Districts was established for reporting births marriages and deaths, and later as a framework for the census. Wherever a union and a district had an identical name and boundary we treat them as a single unit. However, we uses status values and detailed dates to carefully track the differences.
Number of units in system: 754
Geographical Level: 8 (Higher-level District)
ADL Feature Type:countries, 3rd order divisions
May be part of: Poor Law/Registration County , Administrative County
May have as parts: Registration sub-District , Parish-level Unit
Possible status values: Poor Law Parish (PLPar) , Elizabethan Poor Law Parish (ElizPLPar) , Incorporation (Inc) , Poor Law Union (PLU) , Registration District (RegD) , Gilbert Union (GilU) , Out-Relief Union (OutRelief) , Casual Wards (CasualWd)

Full Description:

The English poor law system was first codified in 1587?98, and until the nineteenth century was run by part-time officials in individual parishes. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 grouped most parishes into Unions, which in rural areas generally grouped parishes around market towns, sometimes including parishes from a different ancient county from the town. These new units were large enough to build a workhouse and have paid officials. From 1837 this new geography formed the basis of the new system of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths, and between 1851 and 1911 it was also the primary reporting framework for the Census of Population. Note that although most Poor Law units were also Registration Districts, and vice-versa, some Districts were groupings of Poor Law Unions/Parishes; and these relationships often changed over time. Our system goes to some effort to use "status" values record the differences, working on the principle that where and when the two kinds of area had the same boundary they should be one unit; but not otherwise, even if the name and central town were the same.