Selection Criteria

Christian Community: An appeal for help © Images reproduced courtesy of Senate House Library, University of LondonThe content in Poverty, Philanthropy and Social Conditions in Victorian Britain has been selected in close collaboration with the participating libraries and archives, and our specialist editorial board members.

The resource explores the social conditions in nineteenth and early-twentieth century Britain, focusing on the concerns of poverty and cultural efforts to improve welfare across the region. The varied selection of material covers different approaches to the complex societal conditions of the period through several different document types. Key themes are presented through correspondence from official government channels, rare printed books, pamphlets and periodicals to provide case studies and insights into the changing approaches to poverty and welfare in the Victorian and early-twentieth century.

The Family Welfare Association library material was gifted to Senate House Library, University of London by the Charity as it operates today: Family Action. The Library and publisher are grateful to Family Action for their donation of the material, and for this opportunity to take the story of their pioneering charitable work to a global audience of researchers. Their website can be accessed here:


A Note on Exclusions

Poverty, Philanthropy and Social Conditions in Victorian Britain covers over a century of social concerns and welfare reform from across the region. Though key themes and locations are well-represented, the scale of the period prevents the inclusion of all relevant material.

A lengthy process of discussion between many different archives and specialists has resulted in the partnership with The National Archives, British Library and Senate House Library for the resource. Where exclusions have been made, this has been due to:

  • Collections falling outside the defined remit of this resource
  • Existing open-access content