Browse through over a million pages of poor rate books from as early as the 1700 through to the 1921. The books recorded the amount of rates paid at each property, ownership of the property, and its location in the parishes of Portsea and Portsmouth.
You can search the rate books by parish, description, or add a keyword, Within the rate books you with discover the following facts about each entry:
Year and month
House number and address
Occupier’s name and/or organisation
Owner’s name and/or organisation
Description of property
Amount of rates
Amount in arrears
Total to be collected
Poor rate books were records of the amount paid and by whom. Rates were levied annually and collected from both property owners and occupiers. The money was used for local poor relief. The Poor Law Act of 1598 made the parish responsible for the poor. The original records are held at the Portsmouth History Centre.
Not all rate books survived. In 1744, an Act gave residents the right to inspect books, which meant that rate books were kept in better conditions; however, as populations grew and many more rate books were produced, local authorities destroyed some of the older records. In this specific collection, many of the early books are in poor condition which may lead to transcription errors and vital details missing because they are not legible.