What were the living and social conditions like in the 1890s?
Living conditions: * Towns became overcrowded. * People lived in slums, often whole families lived in one room. * No internal water supplies. * Shared outside toilets. * Limited electricity, wealthy families were starting to get it. * Larger families but higher infant mortality. * Very limited birth control, moral distaste. * Church taught contraception was wrong.
Working conditions: * Most workers worked in factories. * Peace work – women given work to do at home or in small workshops, sewing or making matchboxes or candles, many others worked in textile factories. It was used to supplement the man’s income. * No minimum wage or restrictions on the amount of hours worked. * No unemployment benefit, sick pay or pensions. * Many workers only had seasonal employment. * Safety at work had improved, rates of pay were still the same. The state believed it was down to the employee to accept a wage.
State of education: * State education until twelve. * Church schools provided a different type of education, most school were church schools. * Factory schools educated the children of their workers. * Very limited secondary education, only available for the wealthy
Victorian attitudes and solutions to poverty: * Rich deserved to be rich, poor deserved to be poor. * Deserving poor were morally correct, mainly women and children. * The undeserving poor spent money on beer, drugs and prostitutes and were morally irresponsible. * Had to help yourself. * People went to workhouses, worked for food and a bed.
What were social reformers doing in 1890s and what motives were there for reforms?
William Booth and the Salvation Army: * Like Christian groups gave hot soup and bread to people but did more. * William and Catherine Booth went out and found poor people