Poverty was a concept that people in Britain in the Victorian age struggled with. Were the destitute victims of circumstances, idle and work shy or the victims of industrialisation? There was also the question of who should be responsible for the poor, should society take care of them or as many believed should they simply be left to their own devices? The hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful show a typical view on poverty;
‘The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, And ordered their estate.’
With the onset of industrialisation and population shift, people began to question their place in society and anticipate whether they could indeed change this.
The reasons for migration from the country to the city during the 18th and 19th centuries is mainly threefold, for one the population in the country began to grow, this is attributed to the drop in infant mortality rate and the surplus in births over deaths, secondly the invention of farm enhancing methods drastically reduced the need for an agricultural workforce, that, in conjunction with the development of large mass producing factories within the cities drew people away as there was more employment opportunity. Lastly, the north became a hub for large scale industrialisation as it was in abundance