Poverty, Philanthropy & Social Conditions in Victorian Britain

Poverty, Philanthropy & Social Conditions in Victorian Britain

Poverty, Philanthropy & Social Conditions in Victorian Britain is a collection of digitized primary sources on poverty and efforts to alleviate it in 19th-century Britain. The collection includes material from both government sources and private charitable organizations. The collection has 3 major components:

1) Government documents, sourced from the National Archives of the United Kingdom, include correspondence of the Poor Law Commission, Poor Law Board, and Local Government Board. These materials provide primary source information on the workhouse and outdoor relief systems. They include the following document series:

  • MH 32 Local Government Board and predecessors: Assistant Poor Law Commissioners and Inspectors, Correspondence, 1834-1904.
  • MH 33 Poor Law Commission: Assistant Poor Law Commissioners, Registers of Correspondence, 1834-1846.

2) Settlement House periodicals and reports, sourced from the British Library, provide information about the University Settlement Houses, private charitable community centers in economically depressed areas where reformers sought to provide cultural and educational opportunities.

3) Family Welfare Association Library material, sourced from the Senate House Library at the University of London, contains reports, pamphlets, articles, periodicals, and printed books published and collected during the Victorian era by the Charity Organisation Society (COS), the Family Welfare Association’s predecessor organization.

The collection was prepared with the oversight of an editorial board of scholars from Britain and the United States. All editorial decisions were made with great care. Some terminology in the documents may be deemed discriminatory or offensive by present-day principles, but it has been preserved for the sake of historical accuracy and context.

Dates covered