Page, Frederick (DNB00)


PAGE, FREDERICK (1769–1834), writer on the poor laws, son of Francis Page of Newbury, Berkshire, born in 1769, matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 14 July 1786. Leaving the university without a degree, he was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1792, and became a bencher in 1826. His attention was first drawn to the poor laws by the manner in which the poor rate affected his property. Having been assessed to the whole amount of the tolls for the navigation of the Kennet between Reading and Newbury, which were collected by his agent, he appealed to the Berkshire quarter sessions, where the rate was confirmed. The case was tried in the king's bench in 1792, with the same result. Page served as overseer in three different parishes in 1794, 1801, and 1818. He communicated the result of his experience in 1794 to his friend, Sir F. Eden, who inserted it verbatim in his work on the poor laws (State of the Poor, i. 576–87). Subsequently to 1818 Page paid great attention to the administration of the Select Vestries Act, to the principle of which he became a convert after three years' experience. He also repeatedly visited the continent and the southern counties of Ireland to investigate the condition of the poor. He died at Newbury on 8 April 1834.

Page published: 1. ‘Observations on the present State and possible Improvement of the Navigation and Government of the River Thames,’ Reading, 1794, 12mo. 2. ‘The Principle of the English Poor Laws illustrated and defended by an Historical View of Indigence in Civil Society, with Observations and Suggestions relative to their improved Administration,’ Bath, 1822, 8vo; 2nd edit., with additions, London, 1829, 8vo. 3. ‘Observations on the state of the Indigent Poor in Ireland and the existing Institutions for their relief, being a sequel to “the Principle of the English Poor Laws, &c.”’ London, 1830, 8vo.

[Durnford and East's Reports, iv. 543–50; Gent. Mag. 1834 i. 564, ii. 659; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886, p. 1056.]

W. A. S. H.