Non-Fiction Books:

Poverty Amidst Prosperity

The Urban Poor in England, 1834-1914


Paperback / softback

Customer rating

Click to share your rating 0 ratings (0.0/5.0 average) Thanks for your vote!

Share this product

Poverty Amidst Prosperity by Carl Chinn
Sorry, this product is not currently available to order


The upper and middle classes of Victorian England were marked out by their confidence: they boasted that the sun never set on their Empire; they believed they were destined to lead other nations; and they bragged that their civilisation was pre-eminent. Their self-belief was assured because they lived in a country that had become rich through industrialisation. But amidst great prosperity there was also much poverty. Deprivation and distress were widespread and obvious. In towns and cities, grand public and civic buildings were surrounded by poor dwellings later known as 'slums'. The poor crowded into these insanitary districts; they rented badly built dwellings with inadequate facilities; they did the dirtiest, hardest and most dangerous jobs; they ate the worst food; they suffered ill health and early deaths. Poverty blighted their lives. Many observers asserted that many of the poor were thriftless and feckless. They stated that the muckiness of the poor districts was caused by dirty people who did not wish to raise themselves out of the mire. Gradually, however, social investigators began to question these scathing generalisations, arguing that poverty was usually the result of economic conditions over which individuals and families had no control. "Poverty Amidst Prosperity" focuses on the urban poor themselves, and explains their way of life from within. Using working-class autobiographies and other evidence from working-class people themselves, Carl Chinn shows how people reacted to poverty, and brings to the fore their strategies for coping with their situation. He asserts that the urban poor were not passive victims of their circumstances, but that they fought against poverty with the support of neighbours and kin, and that they formed thriving villages in a dreadful urban environment. This book provides the ideal introduction to those seeking to understand poverty from the grassroots. Its wide range of evidence, clear analysis and strong argument stress the importance of communities, and give a voice to those whom traditional history has marginalised.

Author Biography

Carl Chinn MBE is Professor of Community History at the University of Birmingham
Release date NZ
May 10th, 2007
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
2nd Revised edition
12 b/w
Carnegie Publishing Ltd
Product ID

Customer reviews

Nobody has reviewed this product yet. You could be the first!

Write a Review

Marketplace listings

There are no Marketplace listings available for this product currently.
Already own it? Create a free listing and pay just 9% commission when it sells!

Sell Yours Here

Help & options

  • If you think we've made a mistake or omitted details, please send us your feedback. Send Feedback
  • If you have a question or problem with this product, visit our Help section. Get Help
Filed under...

Buy this and earn 111 Banana Points