Attitudes towards poverty in the 1890s
- Poverty was often blamed on the individual which was blamed in laziness (laissez-faire).
- Politicians believed that people were responsible for their own welfare and that they should work hard and save for their old age.
- The only way to get up if you were poor was to enter the workhouse. Conditions in the workhouse were poor to discourage people from seeking help.
- Charities to help the poor existed, but many relied on family.
By 1900, public opinion was changing as people realised that poverty was a cause of several factors.
- Charles Booth - he carried out research into poverty in London and published a book to display this.
- Seebohm Rowntree - he studied poverty and its causes in York and published a report on it.
- Both researchers found that 28 - 31% of the population lived around the poverty line. The poverty line meaning unable to afford decent housing, food, clothing, healthcare or even a luxury, such as a newspaper.
- Pollution: coal was used to heat houses, cook food and heat water…