Victorian Social Reform In Britain Essay Research — страница 4

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concluding volume, was seen as disappointing, offering no solutions, no alternative to his previously noted faith in individualism and `limited socialism`. He was, after all, a recorder rather than a reformer. This he left to others, yet despite the congratulations afforded him for his statistical work, he fell back into nineteenth century conservatism and called for the expansion of the Poor Law. Beatrice Potter, meanwhile, had parted from Booth and her work in the East End of London convinced her that only a society- wide change could halt the march of poverty. Webb, Clara Collet, and others drew attention to the prevalence of sweated labour in households headed by women, and to the connection between below-subsistence-level wages and high infant and child mortality. Potter` s

work amongst London`s Jewish community, and investigation of sweated trades was invaluable, and her marriage to Sydney Webb, cemented the intellectual socialism of her subsequent work within the Fabian Women` s Group. ?The Fabians, Sidney and Beatrice Webb in particular, devoted themselves to the analysis of social and economic conditions. They were convinced of the incapacity of the free market to diminish poverty and inequality. They placed their faith instead in social ownership, economic planning and extensive measures by central and local government to provide institutional and other relief to prevent and cure poverty due to unemployment, old age, sickness and other causes of need. The Webbs devoted themselves to pressing these ideas upon leading politicians and civil

servants.? (A McBriar, 1962 in Pat Thane 1996 p.16) From 1909 to 1913 the Fabian Women`s Group recorded the details of the daily budgets of thirty families in Lambeth, published as ?Round A bout a Pound a Week? by Maud Pember Reeves, in 1907. ?At The Works? by Lady Florence Bell surveyed the lives and living standards of the people of Middlesbrough. Her book was more anecdotal and observational than Booth`s , and was more concerned with the welfare of the ironworkers wives who were important to the health of their men and the family. Illness, or a change for the worse in wages would have a devastating effect on a family who were kept together by the women. Beatrice Webb initiated a number of studies of the aspects of poverty for the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws 1905-09. All

of them made clear the extent to which poverty persisted even in households headed by a male working long hours, when wives and children contributed to family income in all ways possible. Similar investigations were carried out by Clementina Black, who edited a report of an enquiry undertaken by the Women`s Industrial Council, undertaken mainly in 1909/1910, to discover the problems encountered by women in the workplace. ?Married Women`s Work? presents the conditions endured by thousands of married women, their pay, conditions, health, home and relationships. The investigators were charged with obtaining a substantial body of information about each woman visited. It was compiled in a standardised form, in that questions such her occupation, if she continued to work after marriage

etc were asked. In addition, questions concerning living conditions , infant mortality and weekly budget provided an invaluable snapshot of how families lived at that time. In order to assist them, each investigator was given a booklet of suggestions ?Hints to Investigators? ?They were told not to write down their responses while interviewing but to make rough notes immediately after leaving the dwelling.? And that ?Reports should be as lifelike and complete as possible. Details that seem, in the individual case, unimportant, become significant when they recur again and again. Thus the appearance of good or bad health, cheerfulness or the reverse, are points worth noting; and so are any little details that may be given of family history in the previous generation. Too much detail

is preferable to too little.? (Mappen, 1983, p. vi) The work of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree was directly influenced by that of his father Joseph, who in the 1860s carried out two surveys into poverty in Britain. Seebohm also studied Charles Booth ` s work in London and decided to carry out a similar study in York. The results were published in 1901 as ?Poverty, A Study of Town Life? Rowntree sent investigators to survey every working class household in York (11,560) to establish family income and expenditure and to record their impressions of living conditions and that of neighbours, voluntary workers and clergy. His methods were impressionistic like Booth ` s and similarly did not seek to construct a precise poverty line. He perceived poverty as not simply lack of income but as