This guide accompanies the following article: ‘I mak Bould to Wrigt’: First-person Narratives in the History of Poverty in England, c. 1750–1900, History Compass 9/5 (2011): 365–373, DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2011.00774.x Author’s Introduction Histories of the experience of poverty are hampered in the period before widespread literacy, owing to the infrequency with which the words of the poor could be inscribed privately and the mediated qualities of public or third-party recordings (for example, where testimony was given by the poor in their capacity as defendants in criminal trials). Yet comprehension of the gradations of material poverty, and the social allegiances or divisions that it inspired, are vital to our understanding of nineteenth-century society and can reveal some surprising disjunctions in what we think we know. Jane Humphries’ recent research on autobiographies recalling child labour, for instance, presses for a refocusing of our attention on the role of children in the industrial revolution. Therefore, a programme of work which considers the perceptions and experiences of poverty by drawing on first-person testimonies can provide detailed insight into lived experience, and has the potential to destabilise our assumptions about the mass of ordinary working people. Author Recommends J. Burnett, D. Vincent and D. Mayall (eds.), The Autobiography of the Working Class. An Annotated Critical Bibliography (New York: New York University Press, 1984–1989), 3 volumes. A calendar of over 3000 working-class autobiographies with an excellent index. Not all of the autobiographies listed have been published. R. Gagnier, Subjectivities. A History of Self-Representation in Britain, 1832–1920 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991). A pioneering and interdisciplinary work about autobiography. J. Humphries, Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). A recent work which deploys working-class autobiographies as both qualitative and quantitative sources to reconfigure our understanding of children’s collective contribution to the industrial revolution. S. King, Poverty and Welfare in England 1700–1850 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000). A textbook coverage of the transition from the old poor law to the new. P. Sharpe (eds.), Chronicling Poverty. The Voices and Strategies of the English Poor, 1640–1840 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997). The published papers of a conference held in London in January 1995, drawing together some authors central to the debate about the use of narratives to analyse the experience of poverty (particularly pauper letters). K. D. M. Snell, Annals of the Labouring Poor. Social Change and Agrarian England, 1660–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). A wide-ranging book that considers a startling variety of testimonies including settlement examinations and fictional accounts of poverty. T. Sokoll (ed.), Essex Pauper Letters, 1731–1837 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). An edited collection of the raw material, with useful introductory essays about how to scrutinise this genre. D. Vincent, Bread, Knowledge and Freedom. A Study of Nineteenth-Century Working-Class Autobiography (London: Methuen, 1981). An early attempt to make use of the calendaring of working-class autobiographies, with a particular focus on the history of working-class family life and experiences of education. Online Materials The Workhouse http://www.workhouses.org/ An excellent website providing information about the Poor Law, pictures of workhouses and extracts of sources relating to workhouse life. Charles Booth Online Archive http://www.lse.ac.uk/booth/ Includes original documents from his survey of London poverty 1886–1903. Syllabus for a course on English poverty, from the final decade of the eighteenth century to the first decade of the twentieth: published first-person narratives from observers of the poor which may be mined to provide a focus for discussion include: C. Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London (1902). M. Higgs, Glimpse into the Abyss (1906). J. London, People of the Abyss (1903) [full text online at http://www.jacklondons.net/writings/PeopleOfTheAbyss/toc.html] H. Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor (1851–1862) volume 1 [full text online at Google books]. B. S. Rowntree, Poverty. A Study of Town Life (1901) [full text available via Google books], chapter 4. Texts written by the poor can be identified in Burnett et al. (referenced above). Topics for Lecture and Discussion Week I: Contexts and Methodologies: From Social History to Cultural History, and Back Again? Journal of Social History 37:1 (2003) [special edition considering the relationship between social and cultural histories]. Week II: Statutory Change: Out With the Old Poor Law, in With the New Suggested primary focus: C. Shaw, When I was a Child (1903), chapters 13 and 14 [which, at the time of writing, is being made available full-text online at http://www.thepotteries.org/focus/011.htm] OR J. Greenwood, ‘A Night in a Workhouse’, Pall Mall Gazette (1866), 12 January onwards [full text online at http://www.workhouses.org.uk/, select ‘Arts and Literature’ from menu, then ‘Journalism’]. Secondary readings: M. A. Crowther, The Workhouse System 1834–1929. The History of an English Social Institution (1981). F. Compton, Workhouse Children (1997). A. Digby, The Poor Law in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales (1982). N. Edsall, The Anti Poor Law Movement 1833–44 (1971). D. Englander, Poverty and Poor Law Reform in Nineteenth-Century Britain (1998). S. Fowler, Workhouse. The People, the Places, the Life Behind Doors (National Archives, 2007). D. Fraser (ed.), The New Poor Law in the Nineteenth Century (1976). S. King, Poverty and Welfare in England 1700–1850 (Manchester, 2000). L. H. Lees, Solidarities of Strangers the English Poor Laws and the People, 1700–1948 (1998). M. E. Rose, ‘The Anti-Poor Law Movement in the North of England’, Northern History, 1 (1966). P. Thane, ‘Women and the Poor Law in Victorian and Edwardian England’, History Workshop Journal, 6 (1978). A. Tomkins, ‘I mak Bould to Wrigt’: First-Person Narratives in the History of Poverty in England, c. 1750–1900’, History Compass (2011). K. Williams, From Pauperism to Poverty (1981). Week III: Collective Poverty: Mob, Crowd and Residuum Suggested primary focus: J. London, People of the Abyss (1903), chapter 12 ‘Coronation Day’ OR C. Shaw, When I was a Child (1903), chapter 18. Secondary readings: Japp van Ginneken, Crowds, Psychology and Politics, 1871–1899 (1992). Peter Hayes, The People and the Mob (1992). J. Golby, The Civilisation of the Crowd: Popular Culture in England 1750–1900 (1999). Harvey Kaye, The Face of the Crowd, Selected Essays of George Rude (1988). S. Ledger, ‘In Darkest England: the Terror of Degeneration in Fin de Siecle Britain’, Literature and History, 4/2 (1995). J. S. McClelland, The Crowd and the Mob (London, 1989). Daniel Pick, Faces of Degeneration (1989). John Plotz, The Crowd: British Literature and Public Politics (2000). Richard Soloway, ‘Counting the Degenerates: The Statistics of Race Degeneration in Edwardian England’, Journal of Contemporary History, 17/1 (1982). E. P. Thompson, Customs in Common (London, 1991). Week IV: Dangerous Sex? From Malthus to Eugenics Suggested primary focus: F. Place, Illustrations and proofs of the principle of population: including an examination of the proposed remedies of Mr Malthus, and a reply to the objections of Mr Godwin and others (London, 1822) [plus a number of editions in the twentieth century]. Secondary readings: J. Feldman, ‘Population and Ideology’, History of Political Thought, 5 (1984). E. Heavner, ‘Malthus and the Secularisation of Political Ideology’, History of Political Thought, 17 (1996). J. P. Huzel, ‘Malthus, the Poor Law, and Population in Early Nineteenth-Century England’, Economic History Review, 22 (1969). P. James, ‘Population Malthus’: His Life and His Times (1979). W. L. Langer, ‘The Origins of the Birth Control Movement in the Early Nineteenth Century’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 5 (1975). A. McLaren, Birth Control in Nineteenth-Century England (London, 1978). D. Porter, ‘Biologism, Environmentalism and Public Health in Edwardian England’, Victorian Studies, 34 (1991). G. Searle, Eugenics and Politics in Britain, 1900–1914 (1976). G. R. Searle, The Quest for National Efficiency, 1900–1914 (1979). D. Stone, ‘Race in British Eugenics’, European History Quarterly, 31 (2001), 397–426. D. Winch, Malthus (1987). Week V: Dangerous Radicals? The Politics of Poverty Suggested primary focus: S. Bamford, Passages in the Life of a Radical (1844) for a first-hand account of ‘Peterloo’ OR J. J. Bezer, ‘The Autobiography of One of the Chartist Rebels of 1848’ in D. Vincent (ed.), Testaments of Radicalism. Memoirs of Working-Class Politicians 1790–1885 (1977). Secondary readings: E. Biagini and A. Reid (eds.), Currents of Radicalism: Popular Radicalism, Organised Labour and Party Politics in Britain, 1850–1914 (1991). R. Brown, Chartism (1998). M. Finn, After Chartism: Class and Nation in English Radical Politics, 1848 –1874 (1993). John Foster, Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution (1974). P. Joyce, Visions of the People (1994). Miles and Savage, The Remaking of the British Working Class, 1850–1940 (1995). A. Reid, Social Classes and Social Relations in Britain, 1850–1914 (1992). M. Taylor, The Decline of British Radicalism (1995). D. Thompson, ‘Women in Nineteenth Century Radical Politics’, in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley (eds.), The Rights and Wrongs of Women (1976). E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1963). J. Vernon, Politics of the People (1993). M. Wiener, English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit (1981). D. G. Wright, Popular Radicalism: The Working Class Experience, 1780 –1880 (1988). Week VI: Provincial Poverty and the Case of Manchester Suggested primary focus: M. Brigg (ed.), The Journals of a Lancashire Weaver (Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society 1982) [1856–1875], see index for ‘Manchester’ OR J. Burnett (ed.), Destiny Obscure. Autobiographies of Childhood, Education and Family from the 1820s to the 1920s (1982), 95–9, ‘Jack Lanigan’. For a view of nearby Salford at the start of the twentieth century, see R. Roberts, The Classic Slum (1971). Secondary readings: H. M. Boot, ‘Unemployment and Poor Law Relief in Manchester, 1845–1850’, Social History [London], 15 (1990). A. Briggs, Victorian Cities (1963), chapter 3. D. Cannadine, ‘Victorian Cities: How Different?’, R. J. Morris and R. Rodger, The Victorian City. A Reader in British Urban History 1820–1914 (1993). C. Chinn, Poverty Amidst Prosperity. The Urban Poor in England 1834–1914 (1995). T. Griffith, The Lancashire Working Class 1880–1930 (2001). A. J. Kidd and K. W. Roberts (eds.), City, Class and Culture. Studies of Social Policy and Cultural Production in Victorian Manchester (1985). D. J. Oddy, ‘Urban Famine in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Effect of the Lancashire Cotton Famine on Working-Class Diet and Health’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 36 (1983). Week VII: Metropolitan Poverty and Outcast London Suggested primary focus: J. London, People of the Abyss (1903) OR Raphael Samuel, East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding (1981). Secondary readings: Xavier Baron, Late Victorian and Early Modern London, 1870–1914 (1997). H. J. Dyos (ed.), The Victorian City (1973). W. J. Fishman, East End 1888: A Year in a London Borough Among the Labouring Poor (1988). G. S. Jones, Outcast London (1971). G. S. Jones and D. Feldman (eds.), Metropolis London (1989). Roy Porter, London: A Social History (1996). L. Nead, Victorian Babylon People, Streets, and Images in Nineteenth-Century London (2000). Ellen Ross, Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London, 1870–1918 (1994). Jonathan Schneer, London 1900: The Imperial Metropolis (2001), part 1. J. Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight (1992). J. White, Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East End Tenement Block, 1887–1920 (2003). A. Wohl, The Eternal Slum: Housing and Social Policy in Victorian London (1977). J. A. Yelling, Slums and Slum Clearance in London (1986). Week VIII: Childhood Poverty: Material and Emotional Deprivations Suggested primary focus: J. Burnett (ed.), Destiny Obscure. Autobiographies of Childhood, Education and Family from the 1820s to the 1920s (1982), 100–7, ‘Alice Foley’ OR J. D. Burn, The Autobiography of a Beggar Boy (1978), letters one to five. Secondary readings: P. Cox and H. Shore (eds.), Becoming Delinquent: British and European Youth, 1650–1950 (Abingdon, 2002). A. Davin, Growing Up Poor. Home, School and Street in London 1870–1914 (1996). P. Horn, The Victorian Town Child (1998). J. Humphries, Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution (2010). L. A. Jackson, Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England (London, 2000). P. Kirby, Child Labour in Britain 1750–1870 (2001). E. Ross, ‘Hungry Children: Housewives and London Charity 1870–1918’, in P. Mandler, The Uses of Charity. The Poor on Relief in the Nineteenth-Century Metropolis (1990). H. Shore, Artful Dodgers. Youth and Crime in Early 19th-Century London (1999). Week IX: Race, Immigration and Poverty Suggested primary focus: R. Swift (ed.), Irish Migrants in Britain, 1815–1914 (2002), part 2 [available online from Google books] OR Jews’ Temporary Shelter: First Annual Report (1886) [online as a downloadable resource at http://www.movinghere.org.uk]. Secondary readings: E. C. Black, The Social Politics of Anglo-Jewry 1880–1920 (1988). J. Davis, ‘From Rookeries to Communities: Race, Poverty and Policing in London, 1850–1985’, History Workshop Journal, 27 (1989). M. De Nie, The Eternal Paddy. Irish Identity and the British Press (2004), chapter 2. D. Feldman, ‘The importance of Being English’ in G. S. Jones and D. Feldman (eds.), Metropolis London (1989). D. Feldman, Englishmen and Jews. Social Relations and Political Culture (1994), chapters 7 and 12. F. Finnegan, Poverty and Prejudice. A Study of the Irish Immigrants in York 1840–1875 (1982), chapter 10. J. A. Garrard, The English and Immigration: A Comparative Study of the Jewish Influx 1880–1910 (1971), especially chapters 4 and 5, 9 and 10. L. P. Gartner, The Jewish Immigrant in England 1870–1914 (1973), chapter 2. S. Gilley, ‘English attitudes to the Irish in England 1789–1900’, in C. Holmes (ed.), Immigrants and Minorities in British Society (1978). C. Hall, K. McClelland and J. Rendall, Defining the Victorian Nation. Class, Race, Gender and the Reform Act of 1867 (2000), 204–20. C. Holmes, John Bull’s Island: Immigration and British Society 1871–1971 (1988), part 2. C. Holmes, ‘J.A. Hobson and the Jews’, in C. Holmes (ed.), Immigrants and Minorities in British Society (1978). C. Holmes, Anti-Semitism in British Society 1876–1939 (1979), chapter 2. A. J. Kershen, ‘Trade Unionism’, D. Cesarani (ed.), The Making of Modern Anglo-Jewry (1990). N. Kirk, ‘Ethnicity, Class and Popular Toryism’, in K. Lunn (ed.), Hosts, Immigrants and Minorities (1980). A. Lee, ‘Aspects of the Working-Class Response to the Jews in Britain 1880–1914’, K. Lunn (ed.), Hosts, Immigrants and Minorities (1980). L. Lees, ‘Patterns of Lower Class Life: Irish Slum Communities in Nineteenth Century London’, in S. Thernstrom and R. Sennett (eds.), Nineteenth Century Cities (1969). L. Letford and C. G. Pooley, ‘Geographies of Migration and Religion: Irish Women in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Liverpool’, P. O’Sullivan (ed.), Irish Women and Irish Migration (1997). D. MacRaild, Culture, Conflict and Migration: The Irish in Cumbria (1998), especially chapter 2. D. MacRaild, The Great Famine and Beyond: Irish Migrants in Britain in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (2000). L. V. Marks, Model Mothers. Jewish Mothers and Maternity Provision in East London, 1870–1939 (1994), chapter 3. F. Neal, Sectarian Violence. The Liverpool Experience, 1819–1914 (1988), especially chapters 3 and 4. M. A. G. O’Tuathaigh, ‘The Irish in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Problems of Integration’, R. Swift and S. Gilley (eds.), The Irish in the Victorian City (1985). M. Rozin, The Rich and the Poor: Jewish Philanthropy and Social Control in Nineteenth Century London (1999). R. Swift and S. Gilley (eds.), The Irish in the Victorian City (1985). R. Swift, The Irish in Victorian Britain (1999). J. White, Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East End Tenement Block, 1887–1920 (2003), chapters 4 and conclusion. B. Williams, ‘The Anti-Semitism of Tolerance: Middle-Class Manchester and the Jews 1870–1900’, in A. J. Kidd and K. Roberts (eds.), City, Class and Culture (1985). B. Williams, ‘East and West’, D. Cesarani (ed.), The Making of Modern Anglo-Jewry (1990). Week X: Crime, Poverty and Social Control Suggested primary focus: Raphael Samuel, East End Underworld: Chapters in the Life of Arthur Harding (1981), chapters 7, 13 and 15 OR C. Lombroso, Crime : Its Causes and Remedies (1911; 1968), part 2, chapter 6. Secondary readings: J. Davis, ‘The London Garrotting Panic of 1862. A Moral Panic and the Creation of a Criminal Class in Mid-Victorian England’, V. Gattrell et al. (eds.), Crime and the Law: The Social History of Crime in Western Europe Since 1500 (1980). A. Donagrodzki, Social Control in Nineteenth Century Britain (1977). J. Duckworth, Fagin’s Children. Criminal Children in Victorian England (2002). M. Fitzgerald (ed.), Crime and Society (London, 1981), chapters 1–6. J. Golby and A. W. Purdue, The Civilisation of the Crowd: Popular Culture in England 1750–1900 (1984). S. J. Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (1984). M. Ignatieff, ‘State, Civil Society and the Total Institution: A Critique of Recent Social Histories of Punishment’, in D. Sugerman (ed.), Legality, Ideology and the State (1983). M. Ignatieff, ‘Total Institutions and the Working Classes: A Review Essay’, History Workshop Journal (1983). G. Jones, ‘Class Expression Versus Social Control’, in his Languages of Class (1984). R. F. Meier, ‘Perspectives on the Concept of Social Control’, Annual Review of Sociology, 8 (1982). D. Pick, Faces of Degeneration: A European Disorder, c. 1848–1918 (1989). F. Rosen, F., ‘Crime, Punishment and Liberty’, History of Political Thought, 20 (1999), 173–86. F. M. L. Thompson, ‘Social Control in Victorian Britain’, Economic Review, 2nd ser., xxxiv, 2, 1981. Focus Questions • Who were the poor in nineteenth-century England? How did people fall into or remain trapped by poverty? • Why did the ‘condition of England’ question rise to such prominence in the 1840s? To what extent did concerns about poverty subside after c.1855? • What prompted a resurgence of anxiety and inquiry around 1869–1870, or after c. 1880? • How far were perceptions of poverty by outside observers capable of accurately depicting or appreciating the experience of poverty? • How comprehensive are first-person testimonies of poverty by the poor? Is there a conflict between emotion and authenticity? Seminar/Project Idea Oliver Twist and Workhouse Poverty Dickens wrote Oliver Twist in 1837–1838, when the author’s outrage and revulsion at the new legislation were at their most intense. His later forays into workhouses as a journalist-observer adopt a very different tone to his novel, and the tenor of memoirs by former workhouse residents (inmates or employees) can provide a third refrain. Therefore consider writings about workhouses from a variety of genres. What impact does the intention to publish (and the format of that publication) have upon the narratives produced? How many different types of workhouse accommodation do first-person accounts cover between them? Is it possible to weigh the authenticity of these descriptions? Can we generalise with any confidence about the experience of nineteenth-century workhouse residence? Additional Primary Sources S. G. Checkland and E. O. A. Checkland, The Poor Law Report of 1834 (1974). For two accounts of the vagrancy ward in early twentieth-century workhouses see J. London, The People of the Abyss (1903) chapters seven, eight and nine; M. Higgs, Glimpses into the Abyss (1906) ‘Five days and five nights as a tramp among tramps’ particularly pp. 106–30. For permanent residency see Charles Shaw, When I was a Child (1903). For an employee’s perspective see D. C. Cox (ed.), ‘The diary of Edward Lawrence, Master of Wellington Workhouse, 1890–1’, in Shropshire Record Series 4 (2000), G. Gear (ed.), The Diary of Benjamin Woodcock, Master of the Barnet Union Workhouse, 1836–1838 (Hertfordshire Record Publications, volume 24: 2010), or J. Cole (ed.), Down Poorhouse Lane. The Diary of a Rochdale Workhouse (Littleborough, Lancashire: George Kelsall, 1984). Readings Relating to Oliver Twist P. Ackroyd, Dickens (1990), 228–54. J. L. Altholz, ‘Oliver Twist’s workhouse’, The Dickensian, 97 (454) (2001). R. Bodenheimer, The Politics of Story in Victorian Fiction (1988), 119–35. John Bowen, Other Dickens (2000), chapter 3. S. Connor, ‘ “They’re all in One Story”: Public and Private Narratives in Oliver Twist’The Dickensian, 85 (1989). L. Goodlad, Victorian Literature and the Victorian State (2003), chapter 2. J. Hillis Miller, ‘The Dark World of Oliver Twist’, H. Bloom (ed.), Charles Dickens (1987). G. Himmelfarb, The Idea of Poverty. England in the Early Industrial Age (1983), chapter 19. J. John, ‘Twisting the Newgate Tale: Dickens, Popular Culture and the Politics of Genre’, J. John (ed.), Rethinking Victorian Culture (2000). J. John, Dickens’s Villains: Melodrama, Character, Popular Culture (2001), chapter 5. A. Kettle, Introduction to the English Novel, volume 1 (1951), chapter 4. Steven Marcus, Dickens from Pickwick to Dombey (1965), chapter 2. D. A. Miller, The Novel and the Police (1988), chapter 1. Sullivan, Sheila. ‘Dickens’s Newgate Vision : Oliver Twist, Moral Statistics, and the Construction of Progressive History’, Nineteenth Century Studies, 14 (2000), 121–48. C. Walder, Dickens and Religion (1981), chapter 2. Readings for the Historical Context I. Anstruther, The Scandal of the Andover Workhouse (1973). M. A. Crowther, The Workhouse System 1834–1929. The History of an English Social Institution (1981). M. A. Crowther, ‘The Workhouse’, in Proceedings of the British Academy, 78 (1992). A. Digby, Pauper Palaces (1978). A. Digby, The Poor Law in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales (1982). F. Driver, Power and Pauperism: The Workhouse System 1834–1884 (1993). D. Englander, Poverty and Poor Law Reform in Nineteenth-Century Britain (1998). D. Fraser (ed.), The New Poor Law in the Nineteenth Century (1976). S. King, Poverty and Welfare in England 1700–1850 (2000). L. H. Lees, Solidarities of Strangers the English Poor Laws and the People, 1700–1948 (1998). S. Thomas, ‘Power, Paternalism Patronage and Philanthropy: The Wyndhams and the New Poor Law in Petworth’, Local Historian, 32, part 2 (2002). P. Thane, Old Age in English History (2000), chapter 9: ‘The New Poor Law and the Aged Poor’. R. Wells, ‘Andover Antecedents? Hampshire New Poor Law Scandals, 1834–1842’, Southern History, 24 (2003). D. Williams, ‘The Ludlow Guardians 1836–1900’, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, 77 (2002). K. Williams, From Pauperism to Poverty (1981), chapter 2.

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