An Introduction to Britain’s Interwar Poverty

Edwardian-London-23The end of World War I saw millions of deaths, millions of dollars worth of damage, and countless lives affected. The return of the soldiers was a shock to the nation, as the demand for health care services dramatically increased, even new mental illnesses such as Shell Shock (now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD) were introduced.

The end of slavery less than a hundred years prior meant that the slaves whom once worked for English households were now free and left to their own devices. Many of these individuals worked in London, however, numbers decreased in domestic housework. Racism was still prevalent, and high class and low class lived in two completely different worlds. For a high class individual to mingle amongst the lower class was quite a shock and highly frowned upon. It seemed that the life you were born into was the life you were bound to. It was in the first half of the 1900’s, a time which wasn’t so long ago. However, mindsets and social rules reigned heavily, determining how a person lived, what they did and who they would become.

Homeless individuals, poverty-stricken families, and unemployed men and women were forced to live in less than desirable ways. High Class society had better things to do than to look after anyone outside their own social class, and had to manage their own problems with maintaining the financial upkeep of their extravagant homes. If this was so, who was to care for those who needed help the most? 


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