London Records of the Poor
- 1 The City of London Poor Law Union
- 2 Pre-1834 Records of the Poor
- 3 Foundlings
- 4 Hospitals
- 5 Websites
- 6 References
The City of London Poor Law Union
Starting in 1834, a single poor law union had responsibility over the City of London called The City of London Poor Law Union. Multiple workhouses operated within this jurisdiction. For further information, see:
Records from the poor law unions, which were created from this time forward include the following:
- Creed Registers
- Rate books
- Workhouse Lists of Inmates
- Register of Apprentices
- Register of Births
- Register of Deaths
- Vestry Rate Books
- Admission and Discharge Registers
- Board of Guardians' Records
Online Poor Law Records
Ancestry.co.uk (£) has the largest collection of online London poor law records:
- London, England, Poor Law Records, 1834-1940 (digital images)
Other sites include:
- The Pauper Biographies Project provides detailed information including maps and working papers.
- For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site: www.workhouses.org.uk
- Here's a general website providing data on approximately 10 percent of the county's poor
Family History Library Collection
To determine records availability for each poor law union, search the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the county (London), and then under the name of the poor law union, i.e. City of London; then search under the term[s] "poorlaw" or "poorhouses".
Guides to London Poor Law Records
- Gibson, J.S.W., Colin D. Rogers, and Cliff Webb. Poor Law Union Records. 4 parts. Birmingham, UK: Federation of Family History Societies, c1997. FHL Book 942 P37gj 1997 pt. 1.Volume 1 includes London.
- Webb, Cliff. London, Middlesex and Surrey Workhouse Records: A Guide to Their Nature and Location. West Surrey Family History Society, c1991. FHL Book 942.21 H25w no. 31.
- Webb, Cliff. A Provisional List of City of London Poor Law Records. West Surrey Family History Society, c1992. FHL Book 942.21 H25w no. 28 1992.
Pre-1834 Records of the Poor
Workhouses and the City of London Corporation of the Poor existed in the City before 1834. For further information, see:
Early London workhouses included:
- Bishopsgate Street - opened 1699
- St Giles Cripplegate - opened 1724
Parish chest records contain a great deal of information about the care of London's poor before 1834, when it was a parish responsibility. Refer to individual City of London parish pages to learn more about parish chest records.
Most transported convicts from London were impoverished individuals who had committed property crimes. The government banished their criminal poor to British colonies where they labored for specified numbers of years. Prosecuted crimes can be found in the Old Bailey Sessions and London Sessions.
Foundlings were abandoned babies. Abandoning babies has been a common practice in urban areas for centuries.
The London Foundling Hospital opened in 1741. In the 1950s, most business dropped off, as adoption became more popular. The Hospital created records on more than (100,000) infants placed in their care during that period. For tips on finding foundling records, see Research Resources at The Foundling Museum website.
Baptisms at this facility from 1741 to 1838 are indexed on FamilySearch in Batch C067701.
For further information, see: Anthony Camp's London Foundling Hospital: Reclaimed Foundlings.
Before 1741, the care of foundlings fell to the parishes where they were discovered. Officials often named these nameless infants after their parish or streets where they were found. Individuals charged with raising these children were supported by parish rates.
A few guides and databases have been prepared about pre-1741 London foundlings.
- Webb, Cliff. An Index to London Hospitals and Their Records. London: Society of Genealogists, c2008. FHL Book 942.1/L1 J43w.
BedlamBethlem Royal Hospital, also known as 'Bedlam,' was a London hospital for the mentally ill, dating from medieval times.
- London Bedlam Hospital, Bishopsgate Ward, London (The National Archives, Ref: E179/145/139); copy: FHL Film 2228700.
- Poor Law Records in London and Middlesex (London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) Information Leaflet)
- The Foundling Museum. Preserves the history of the Foundling Hospital.
- Finding Your Foundling - The Records of the Foundling Hospital (LMA Information Leaflet)
- Hospital Records (LMA Information Leaflet)
- Records of Patients in London Hospitals (LMA Information Leaflet)
- An Account of Several Work-Houses for Employing and Maintaining the Poor ... (London: Joseph Downing, 1725), 1-8. Digitized by Internet Archive.