A village history in West Sussex


Westbourne History Group

Bygone Series

No1. Trades People 1845-1938

No2. Village Schools 1819-1984

No4. Westbourne Then & Now

No5. Westbourne Union Life

No6. Westbourne Church Guide

No7. Cleaning up Westbourne        

No8. Westbourne Worthies

No9. The Bastards of  Westbourne

No10. Westbourne’s War 1939-1945

No11. A Millenium in Tandem

No12. Sindles Farm

No13. Westbourne Memorials

No14. Cottage Economy

No15. The Village Schools 1810-2011

No16. Westbourne and the Great War

No17. Tradespeople of Westbourne

Bourne in the Past

Other Publications

Sindles Farm

The River Ems

The Westbourne Story

Any Comments?

Numbers 1 to 5 inclusive out of print, further information on details and costs visit:


Home | Personal | Church | Scouts | Schools | Ambrose | Sketchbook | Workhouse | Census | Memories | Yesteryear | Publications | Village Website

In 1835, Westbourne Parish and eleven others, each previously responsible for relieving its own poor, were combined into the new Westbourne Union. This was the result of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.


The Elizabethan Poor Law had imposed on a parish two duties, operating through locally appointed overseers. The first duty was to support those unable to work including the sick and aged; the second duty was to provide work for those unable to find it for themselves.

As the eighteenth century grew older the cost of relief from rates levied on a parish basis rose considerably.

Mid C 18 £0.75 million

1803 £5.3 million

1813 £8 million

The growth of poverty was due to a variety of causes, the South of England suffering the most.

The Government was committed to reducing taxation. Income tax had been abolished in 1816 to be re imposed in 1842. The income of central government came mainly from taxes on commodities in mass demand:- tea, sugar, beer, spirits etc. Relief to the poor accounted for about 80% of the local rate, the rest being used to sustain prisons, constables, roads and bridges, etc.

A Commission set up in 1832 by the Reformed Parliament to enquire into the operation of the Poor Laws concluded, quite erroneously in view of its lack of statistics, that the rise in demand for relief was due to the laziness of the “able bodied pauper”. Thus by denying him relief, rates could be reduced. This was the aim of the Poor Law Amendment Act.

An able bodied pauper would not receive relief unless he entered the workhouse. Life, in the workhouse was to be made so unpleasant that he would not enter. This was to be achieved by having dreary work, an unattractive but just adequate diet, silence at work, strict rules of conduct, no drink and the splitting up of families.

Published 1991 ISBN 0 9507496 4 8