Dorset’s Labouring Poor

Dorset Peasantry (detail 2)This section includes background material on the labouring poor in Dorset in the nineteenth century: these were the hospital’s first patients. The material is drawn from Parliamentary enquiries and newspaper reports, and covers living conditions, wages, nutrition and health. The final section, using documents from Beaminster, illustrates how the poor accessed healthcare in the 1830s, before the hospital opened, and the alternatives to hospital treatment during the hospital’s first twenty years.