Philanthropy

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ColinL
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Philanthropy

Postby ColinL » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:57 pm

The 19th C produced some outstanding philanthropists many of whom saw the essential goodness and worth within people but whom needed the support of society to thrive. The model villages like Saltaire and others recognised that people did not only need a roof over their heads, but a garden, wide roads, avenues and open space and in addition community centres, football and cricket teams - and given they were usually Quaker providers no pubs! From the mid 19th the state decided it had to be responsible for public health and good clean water; then from C1870 it should be responsible for education.

By the end of the century and into the Edwardian era it became clear that it was not reasonable or possible to rely on the beneficence of individuals, welcome as that was, for overall welfare, which is why there was the increase in the involvment of the state until the 1980s when it was decided that indeed it was necessary to turn the clock back.

The archives of the Barnardos organisation mentioned by Richard, are a treasure trove for family historians as many original documents from the 19thC survive today and descendants can read about the circumstances that led to children going into care, and also following their development through to leaving, and even some years after when family members sought to find their siblings.

The good side of philanthropy should however be seen along side the hypocrisy of some who got involved with charity, that enhanced their standing, whilst they themselves were a part of the reason for the poor seeking charity in the first instance. This is graphically described in Hastings author Robert Tressell (Robert Noonan) detail of the Shining Light Chapel and the ladies in the charity for the poor. The employers forcing down wages by a few pence an hour and thus creating dispute between those builders/painters/ decorators that were prepared to work for less money, and those who were craftsmen. They sort to maximise profit by minimising cost and exploiting the division amongst the workmen. Those workmen & wives then had to apply to the wives of the employers who ran the Hastings (Mugsborough) charities because they did not earn enough to live on. Several people to a room whilst the employers houses were becoming more opulent and beyond all understanding of those who actually built them. There is vivid description of overcrowding in the streets near the West Hill as people sub-let rooms to those on lower incomes, in order that the tenants themselves could pay the rent. The Shining Light Chapel blamed the poverty on alcohol whereas the poverty was caused by the basic low income- regardless of whether the men went to the pub with their wages. The Temperance League was very active in Hastings.

Tressell, a skilled artist undertook delicate painting and gilt work for which he was underpaid, but became estranged from other workers whose wages had been pushed down. Classic divide and rule.

The influence of religion and total abstinence (for some) in Hastings is exampled by the areas of the town in the 19th C that were developed without pubs at the end of streets.Covenants on development prohibited sale of alcohol. Churches, many of which were endowed by Countess Waldegrave were many and widespread in the new suburban areas of land she had owned.

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Richard
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Re: Philanthropy

Postby Richard » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:12 pm

Understandably, Robert Noonan used a pseudonym to protect his identity and he set his story in ‘Mugsborough’, 'a small town in the south of England', though its coordinates of 'about 200 miles from London' and 100 miles from the coast would put it near Milford Haven in South Wales! However, why was Mugsborough’s climate different to the rest of southern Britain, since winter takes up three-quarters of the year, and where are the sea, the beach and the holidaymakers? Where are the author’s fellow Irishmen and women, the people who built Victorian and Edwardian England, and the recent workers' victories, like those of the ‘match girls’ in 1888 and the dockers in 1889? Why does Ragged Trousered Philanthropist highlight the bloody defeat of strikes in Featherstone in 1893 and Belfast in 1907, but not the massacre that sparked a revolution in Russia in 1905, and where are the past political struggles in Sussex, including ‘Captain Swing’ and the Chartists? Above all, where are the Hastings suffragettes, the nationally-famous trade union activists, like the docker, Ben Tillett, who ‘Tressell’ may well have heard speak in Hastings, and where are Mugsborough’s organised trades unionists and socialists?

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ColinL
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Re: Philanthropy

Postby ColinL » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:56 pm

Many novels are an amalgam of facts and images from a range of sites and experiences a person has had during their life. Tressels geographical location of his town has always interested me as it does not seem to link to anything we know of him. He does write about travelling socialist speakers and there are photos of him attending a meeting on the beach of the SDF. The West Hill was also a location for speakers to set up their stalls which would have been ideal for him to walk from his lodgings in Plynlimmon to listen whilst his daughter played on the grass. The full book is very long and his purpose was to detail the everyday lives of his fellow workers and their knowledge of politics, money, wages and exploitation. It was not possible for him to include detail of wider national and international issues most of which they would have had no knowledge. He was dealing with what they knew and experienced.

Countess Waldegrave tribute from the poor of Hastings and the children who went through schools. Her family owned great swathes of land in and around the town evntually used for housing.
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Waldegrave Fountain.jpg

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Richard
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Re: Philanthropy

Postby Richard » Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:18 am

Perhaps we need a Charles Dickens type of character of the day to highlight the ills of modern society?
From poverty and child sex exploitation to politics, greed and human foibles.


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