The Covid pandemic has raised the profile of care for the elderly and shone a light on what is all too often their isolation and vulnerability. We take for granted in the third decade of the twenty first century that Welfare State provision should meet our needs from the cradle to the grave. Even so, with funding stretched to breaking point, we rally round the charities that ask for our support, thereby adding much needed voluntary finance to State provision.
What then happened to the elderly and the vulnerable prior to state provision from the first vital steps taken by the Liberal Government in the first decade of the twentieth century? Apart from the Poor Law with its indoor (workhouse) and outdoor relief what provision was available for them? We can answer these questions as far as the ancient parish of Hornsey and the district of Wood Green are concerned through material, including images, held in the Archive. This material falls into two categories:
- Hornsey Charities which provided support mainly through money hand-outs in the form of allowances and payment of rent, weekly doling out bread, provision of fuel, blankets and clothing and the apprenticing of boys to a trade.
- Organisations or individuals who built almshouses for a specific group, such as the parish poor, or for their retired workers. This is the focus of the articles in this series.
The series will be published over the coming weeks and includes the following articles: