I spent this afternoon at the Edinburgh City Archives which is hidden away in the City Chambers, three floors below the level of the Royal Mile.
The main reason for my visit was to examine some records I had identified through the SCAN catalogue, Edinburgh Parochial Board: Lists of Poor 1840-1884.
This record consists of two volumes and I looked at the second of these which covers 1869-1884 (SL8/7/2). This is a printed volume entitled ‘List of Poor in Receipt of Relief from the City Parish of Edinburgh’ and for each year the names of those receiving poor relief are divided up into the the following sections:
Inmates in Poorhouse
Inmates in Lunatic Wards
Inmates in Morningside Asylum
Lunatics Boarded with Relatives
Lunatics Boarded Out
Paupers Boarded in Institutions
Invalids Boarded Out
Children Boarded Out
Edinburgh Poor in Country Parishes
Country Parish Poor in Edinburgh Parish
Children Receiving Education
In the cases of children boarded out and apprentices only a name and identifying number are listed, but in most other cases an address or name of institution is also given.
However, by far the most detailed section is for the out-door poor where the following information is provided:
Number of dependants (Male and Female)
Whether Member or Adherent
Any Assistance provided by the Church
Remarks (generally how long each person has been a member of their church but also details of any illness or disability)
The vast majority of those who received outdoor poor relief were women. For example, in 1882 Alice C. Peacock was receiving 4s 0d a week. She was aged 31, living at 7 Stanley Place, and had one male and two female dependants. She was recorded as a member of St Mary’s Episcopal Church, which she had attended for 1 year nine months, but received no assistance from them.
The men who received outdoor relief were mostly elderly although there are a few exceptions. In 1882 Archibald Sandilands, who lived at 3 Greenside Row, top flat right, was in receipt of 6s 0d a week. He was aged 39 and had three male and two female dependants. He was a member of the Greenside Established Church which he had attended for 8 years but again received no assistance from them.
Archibald, his wife Elizabeth, and their six children were recorded living at 3 Greenside Row in the 1881 Census (RD:685/2 ED:3 Page:11). His older children may well have been considered old enough to work and therefore not dependants.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find the person I was looking for today, but these lists are well worth a look if you think your Edinburgh ancestors may have received poor relief.
Further details of the holdings of Edinburgh City Archives and a list of those who claimed poor relief from St Cuthbert’s Parochial Board in the period 1850-1852 can be downloaded from http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/429/archives-access
Note: Edinburgh City Archives will be temporarily closed from 28 July until October 2011.