Why were there debates about poverty and concerns for national efficiency in 1900-14?

  • Created by: GrB
  • Created on: 25-04-17 23:23

The Work of Individuals

One reason for the increase in debates about poverty was the awareness brought by the work of key individuals. 

>John Galt had moved to London to work in the textiles industry where part of his job included collecting goods from East end sweatshops. He witnessed the poverty and exploitation of workers leading to his Church establishing the London City Mission to bring the gospel to the poor. Galt worked in Bethnal Green and the Poplar and the severe winter of 1893-4 saw such hunger and hardship that churches began a relief fund. Galt collected for this by touring churches around the country. Galt documented his work amongst the poor and accounts of the poverty he witnessed were published by the religious tracts society and in magazines like Mission. He took a series of photographs to illustrate his talks. These brought home the dire the poverty in England was.

>Charles Booth was a Liverpool businessman who with a team of writers produced the seventeen volume Life and Labour of the People of London. He began by looking at census returns to prepare a report on where charitable donations should be allocated. This was triggered by a claim from Henry Hyndman (founder of the SDF) that 25% of Londoners lived in poverty. He had a team of researchers and himself lived with poor families. He produced coloured maps to show areas of poverty in London and the reasons for it. His work offered detailed and disturbing evidence of poverty. Booth's work concluded that 35% lived in poverty, higher than Hyndman had claimed. He outlined the causes of poverty as being old age, illness, poor wages and irregular employment. In recognition of his work he acted on commissions


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