The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act replaced the old system of 'outdoor' relief with a network of workhouses where those requiring support had to reside. Groups of parishes were joined together into unions each of which had its own workhouse. There were eleven poor law unions in Leicestershire. The parishes/places comprising each of the unions ( Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Barrow-upon-Soar, Billesdon, Blaby, Hinckley, Leicester, Loughborough, Lutterworth, Market Bosworth, Market Harborough and Melton Mowbray) are set out on a separate page.
See also a separate advice page re Atherstone PLU which is is NOT in Leicestershire (it is in Warwick), but this page is presented to assist those researching their Leicester county roots.
Details of the records of these unions are set out in Gibson & Rogers, "Poor Law Union Records. 2: The Midlands and Northern England" published by the Federation of Family History Societies.
Most records giving details of inmates of the Poor Law Unions in Leicestershire are held at The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland. Staff lists were held centrally (to prevent discharged employees obtaining a post with another union) and are now held at The National Archives .
Peter Higginbotham's Workhouses Web Site has many pages about the operation of workhouses and the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act.
Guy Etchells has transcribed an extract from White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. 1863 describing the background to the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and the operation of the Act in Leicestershire.