It is generally accepted that primary sources detailing paupers’ experience of the 19thÂ century are largely written about the poor rather than by them.
This is true. However, at The National Archives we estimate there to be thousands of documents written by paupers within our record series MH 12. These ego documents (meaning autobiographical writing) take the form of letters, petitions and signed depositions that came into the Local Government Board and its predecessors, the Poor Law Commission and the Poor Law Board. SoÂ within oneÂ (admittedly huge) record series we can find documents setting out the pauper experience written by paupers themselves.