1834 and all that...



I think it must have been exam revision that fixed the mnemonic 'Poor Law 34' in my brain - it has rhythm and rhyme (try it). Sadly, most of the learning that went with the jingle has long since evaporated.

One of the reasons many young people find history tedious is because they perceive it as irrelevant to their consuming interest in the NOW. Whilst I was not one of those young people, clearly the teaching of The Poor Laws held little interest for me then. But at a time when discussion of mental health, care of the elderly and Universal Credit are high on the news agenda, Santayana's oft-repeated aphorism, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" reminds us that we need to know how our predecessors dealt with these issues to fully understand how to deal with them NOW.

Yesterday evening the (very full) Waveney Heritage Centre was treated to the launch of Elaine Murphy's new book 'Monks Hall: the History of a Waveney Valley Manor For me the real treat was not the excellent refreshments but to hear Elaine speak so eloquently on a subject close to her heart. So I'm really looking forward to her talk next week, entitled Paupers, Lunatics and the Decayed : Discovering Our Less Fortunate Ancestors.

Learning about the day-to-day lives of our predecessors, especially the 'less fortunate', has often been overwhelmed by a 'weight of dates'. I'm sure Elaine will lighten that load a little.

...and doubtless you will be able to buy a signed copy of the book!


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