Adam Matthew Digital announces publication of ‘Poverty, Philanthropy and Social Conditions in Victorian Britain’

17 March 2020

Published product

Adam Matthew Digital has today announced the publication of ‘Poverty, Philanthropy and Social Conditions in Victorian Britain , a vital resource for the study and teaching of life in Victorian Britain. 

With material drawn from the British Library, the National Archives, UK and the Family Welfare Association Library housed at Senate House Library, UK, this unique collection offers insight and perspective on welfare reform and the social tensions surrounding poverty at the time.

Highlights include documents from the Charity Organisation Society concerning the work of leading Victorian social reformers, the periodicals of Settlement Houses at the forefront of the movement to integrate social classes, and official correspondence from Poor Law Assistant Commissioners and Inspectors which benefits from the application of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. Notablfigures mentioned in documents and sources include Edwin Chadwick, Charles Booth, Octavia Hill, Thomas Malthus, Louisa Twining and Keir Hardie.


 "[This resource] offers a rich multi-dimensional portrait of poverty in Victorian Britain….[It] wonderfully captures the intensity, breadth, creativity, heterogeneity, and passions of those engaged in grappling with poverty through theoretical writings about economy and society, through mundane labours of inspecting workhouses, and by living and working among the poor in social settlements."

Seth Koven, Rutgers University


"Social and political change are hallmarks of the Victorian era and both are inextricably linked in our consciousness with images of workhousesbustling industries and political upheaval. This product brings together some of the most important documentation of the time and shines a light on how poverty, philanthropy and social change represent the turbulence of the Victorian era. We’re excited that the application of HTR technology makes the written word content available to undergraduates in a way it wasn’t previously, opening up the opportunity for greater understanding of this tumultuous time."

Beth Hall, Head of Production, Adam Matthew Digital


To find out more about this product, or to arrange a free trial, please visit our website:


*The Family Welfare Association library 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.