Clements Hall
Queen Victoria St  with tram

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe, South Bank and Bishophill areas of York

Clements Hall Local History Group

Exploring the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York

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Making ends meet on Nunnery Lane: revealing local poverty in the Victorian period

Orphan ballad singersOur new research project will investigate poverty and hardship in the mid-19th century in a part of our area of York to the south of the City Walls, Nunnery Lane.

Despite research on the workhouse little attention has been given to the many who received support at home.

'A group of orphans sing ballads in the street. Engraving by J. Romney after W. Gill.' . Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

A new resource has been opened up at Explore York Archives, where the cataloguing of post-1834 Poor Law records has revealed one of the best collections of out-relief records in Britain. These offer names, addresses, occupations, ages, and type and details of relief, both cash and in kind (for example flour and clothing).

Records are organised by parish and we’ll be looking at St Mary’s Bishophill Junior. The project aims to research social change in the period from 1837 to around 1882.

We're currently recruiting a team of volunteer researchers, who will be able to track individuals of interest such as orphans, or families. Explore York will provide training in use of these records.

If you would like to know more please contact Dick Hunter on