Surrey in the 19th Century: Life of the Poor, Emigration and Cultural - A Half-day Course - 10 March
In this half-day course, Dr Judy Hill covers two topics relating to life in the county of Surrey.
During the period 1815 to 1834 agricultural labourers in Surrey experienced increasing hardships and distress. Marginal land brought under the plough during the French Wars was no longer used, resulting in more unemployment. After 1827, there were a succession of bad harvests and the summer of 1830 was wet and cold. The number of unemployed workers increased and parishes found it increasingly difficult to provide adequate poor relief. Many labourers found themselves socially segregated and unprotected against unemployment and price fluctuations. The Swing Riots of 1830-32 took place during a time of increasing pauperisation of labourers. The Riots reflected the resentment felt by agricultural labourers. They wanted vengeance against local landed interests, notably their employers and those who controlled the vestries and made poor law decisions. The attacks struck at the very roots of social cohesion.
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