chapter 2 social issues 1900-18

  • Created by: loupardoe
  • Created on: 14-02-18 10:12

why were there debates about poverty and concerns for national efficiency and what was their significance in bringing about changes in social policy in 1900-14?

the work of individuals

  • increase in the debates about poverty
  • much greater awareness of it through the work of key individuals
  • John Galt, Charles Booth, Seebohm Rowntree

John Galt

  • Scottish Baptist
  • draper who had moved to London to work in the textile industry
  • involved collecting goods from the sweatshops of the poor East End
  • witnessed the poverty and exploitation of workers
  • led to his church establsihing the London City Mission to bring the gospel to the poor
  • worked in Bethnal Green and Poplar
  • collected for a relief fund by touring the churches round the country
  • documented his work among the poorest workers
  • accounts of the poverty were published by the Religious Tracts Society and in magazines like Mission
  • took a series of photographs to illustrate his talks
  • brought home the sheer degradation of urban life

Charles Booth

  • successful Liverpool businessman
  • produced the seventeen volume Life And Labour Of The People Of London between 1886 and 1903
  • made use of existing information
  • began by looking at census returns to prepare a report on where London charitable donations should be allocated
  • claim by Marxist Henry Hyndman of the Social Democratic Federation that 25% of Londoners lived in poverty
  • lived with poor families
  • divided into poverty, industry and religous influences
  • used information from school boards
  • produced coloured maps to show poverty levels and reasons for this in different areas of london
  • offered detailed and disturbing evidence of the severe problems of poverty in London
  • showed that 35% of people in London lived in abject poverty
  • discovered there were many coauses of poverty
  • old age, illness, poor wages, irregular employment
  • high levels of crime and prostitution- Jack the Ripper
  • acted as member of an 1893 commission on the aged poor and the Poor Law
  • urged the introduction of old age pensions

Seebohm Rowntree

  • 1901- major survey of York
  • Quaker
  • member of the famous chocolate manufacturing family
  • had a strong religious motivation to investigate and allieviate poverty
  • led a team of researchers in York's poorer areas in 1897-98
  • based on a study of 46,000 people- 2/3 of the city
  • 1899- preliminary findings published in Poverty, A Study Of Town Life
  • claimed that over 20,000 people were living in poverty
  • defined by not having enough food, fuel and clothing to maintain basic health
  • stressed that even if they were careful, they would not succeed in saving money because their income did not meet the basic needs for rent, food and clothing
  • problem was that so much labour was casual and subject to fluctuating demand
  • great deal of unemployment
  • if workers were sick, then family income stopped and the only means of subsistence was applying to the workhouse
  • particularly shocking for many- london was recognised as having poor areas, but this research indicated that poverty levels in a prosperous cathedral city like York seemed just as bad
  • influential with the new Liberals


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