A Poor Law Union was a unit used for local government in the United Kingdom from the 19th century. Local government in the United Kingdom is arranged into four different systems with one each for England Northern Ireland Scotland and Wales The 19th century of the Common Era began on January 1, 1801 and ended on December 31, 1900, according to the Gregorian calendar During this time, the administration of the Poor Law was the responsibility of parishes, which varied wildly in their financial resources and requirements. This article deals chiefly with the English Poor Laws covering England and Wales A civil parish in the United Kingdom is a unit of local government. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 allowed parishes to form unions, which would be jointly responsible for the administration and funding of Poor Law in their area. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 sometimes abbreviated to PLAA was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whig
The functions of Poor Law Unions were exercised by Boards of Poor Law Guardians, partly elected by ratepayers, but also including magistrates. Boards of Guardians were Ad hoc authorities that administered Poor Law in the United Kingdom from 1835 to 1930 Rates are a type of taxation system in the United Kingdom, and in places with systems deriving from the British one used to fund Local government. A magistrate is a judicial officer In Common law systems a magistrate usually has limited authority to administer and enforce the Law.
Until 1894, the Guardians consisted of justices of the peace along with other members elected by rate-payers, with higher rate-payers having more votes. A Justice of the Peace ( JP) is a Puisne Judicial officer appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace JPs were removed and plural voting stopped in 1894, although no people actually receiving poor relief were able to vote. Plural voting is the practice whereby one person might be able to vote multiple times in an Election.
The Unions were later used for other functions, such as civil registration, and were the basis of the rural sanitary districts established in 1875. Civil registration is the system with which a Government records the vital events of its Citizens The primary purpose of civil registration is to create legal Sanitary Districts were established in England and Wales in 1875 and in Ireland in 1878. Year 1875 ( MDCCCLXXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common 
In 1894, rural districts and urban districts were set up based on the sanitary districts (and therefore indirectly on the unions). Year 1894 ( MDCCCXCIV) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Rural districts were a type of Local government area &ndash now superseded &ndash established at the end of the 19th century in England, Wales, and In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, an urban district was a type of Local government district that covered an Urbanised area In 1930, under the Local Government Act 1929, the Poor Law Unions were finally abolished, with their responsibilities transferred to the county councils and county boroughs. Year 1930 ( MCMXXX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Local Government Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo V c 17 made changes to poor law and local government in England and Wales A County council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a County. County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (excluding Scotland) to refer to a Borough or a City
In Ireland the Poor Relief Act of 1838 divided into districts or "unions" in which the local taxable inhabitants were to be financially responsible for all paupers in the area. Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world In 1898 the Poor Law Union was adopted as the basic administrative division in place of the civil parish and barony. Further subdivision into 828 registration districts and 3,751 district electoral divisions followed. Townlands were not arranged according to these divisions with parish and barony retained as a means to make comparisons with records gathered before 1898.