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Poplar workhouse probationers wards', architects drawing 1869 © Peter Higginbotham. However, such Orders increasingly came to be used by unions wishing to get rid of undesirable or troublesome applicants.
This could include the aged and physically defective as well as the able-bodied.
On 20th December, 1836 the new Poplar Poor Law Union was formed.
Will Crooks, who came from an impoverished family, had himself spent some time in the Poplar workhouse as a child.The new buildings, mostly of four-storeys, also included wards for lunatics and probationers. Any spare capacity was offered to other metropolitan unions and parishes.There was also a Gothic-style chapel at the south of the site. The scheme proved to be effective with an "Order for Poplar" proving a strong deterrent to able-bodied applicants.This small change resulted in am improvement in workhouse conditions across the country.Within a few years, Crooks had become Chairman and the Board which began to operate an open-handed policy of outdoor relief, with little regard to the resulting cost for the local rate-payers.