Samantha’s research draws widely upon social, economic, cultural and micro-historical approaches to the history of poverty, policy and welfare provision under the Old and New Poor Laws. She focuses in particular upon the role of gender and the ‘agency’ of the poor in their precarious position. Her first book was a microhistory of poor relief in Campton and Shefford in east Bedfordshire, 1770-1834, a period of sharp increases in the cost of provision and the number relieved. Although provision was provided from ‘cradle to grave’, most of the poor were relieved during life-cycle crises (as a child, when rearing a growing family, and in old age), and, while relatively ‘generous’, payments did not cover all living expenses.
She is currently writing a book on the experience of poor unmarried motherhood in London the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, from the establishment of metropolitan workhouses (c.1722) to the overhaul of the poor laws in 1834. The system of affiliation was like the modern ‘child support agency’ and offered mothers and parishes a way to claim back the costs of illegitimate children from putative fathers.
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
Local Population Studies Society Committee member
Economic History Society member
Consultant, Nutopia TV production company, 'Great Britain: Our Story'
Institute of Continuing Education
Tel: +44 (0)1223 746222
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