Social and Welfare Improvements
The workhouse was seen as the solution to a broad spectrum of social problems. It acted as an old people's home, a mental hospital, a general hospital, a children's home and a hostel for the homeless. Poverty had been a problem for society from the very start.
During the Middle Ages it was left to family or the church to look after the poor and infirm. In 1597 an Act was passed requiring parishes to appoint 'overseers of the poor' whose job it was to find work for those who could work and to build alms-houses for those unable to support themselves. A number of Acts from 1696 until 1834 paved the way for the establishment of workhouses.
Blackburn's old workhouse was erected in 1764 on the Town's Moor. It was in use for 100 years before moving to the heights overlooking Queen's Park. It was the Local Goverment Act of 1930 which saw th demise of the Board of Guardians and the workhouses, and it was the election of the Labour Government in 1945 which led to the welfare state and proper provision for the old and destitute.