I am doing a MA by Research on the topic of Medicine and Poverty: A Study of the Poor Law Medical Services in East Kent: 1834 – 1870.
I chose this topic because in building on my undergraduate dissertation and east Kent was at the forefront for the introduction of the 1834 Poor Law Act. Furthermore, previous studies on medical care in workhouses have concentrated on London and the major cities of England. My approach to this research topic is to investigate ‘from the bottom up’, which means I will be examining the actual treatment the poor received. The Poor Law introduced changes and improvements to the health care provided over this period through legislation and the edits sent out by central government. However, I will be assessing whether the Guardians in east Kent actually introduced all the changes demanded by the Poor Law Commissioners through their edits or as a result of their inspections at individual workhouses. In addition, I will be investigating when these changes occurred and what effect this had on the treatment of the sick.