Poverty and Greed

The Victorians poor really were poor, not like the poor today.who are fortunate to have the benefits for housing and the such not that unemployment and benefits is an easy way to live by any means. But the Victorian poor were very poor, starving. During the 1830s and 1840s, there was an enormous shortage of food, driving the prices much higher than many could afford. Many found themselves scrounging for food or simply not eating at all.

The English philanthropist and social researcher Charles Booth took a keen interest in the poor and created a map surveying London life and labour.

His most famed work on documented working class life in London at the end of the 19th century, he created his famous poverty maps of the early 1880s as an early form of ‘social cartography’ where different colours on the streets indicated the income and class of its inhabitants.

He worked alongside Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree and with a team investigated poverty in London. This research which looked at incidences of pauperism in the East End of London, and showed that 35% were living in abject poverty even higher than the original figure and it was this that finally led to the government and started the fight back against poverty in the early 20th century and actually led to the founding of pensions.

The map on the left shows the poverty and ill health hotspots but worryingly a modern-day look at Charles Booth’s influential health map has painted a similar picture of ill-health, but with very different 21st Century causes.

Diabetes, of which I suffer, if not controlled can be a fatal disease and the map on the right shows not the London of 100 years ago, not the starvation by certainly the ill-health.but the same areas in London today are rife with deadly Type 2 diabetes.

This is caused by junk food that is cheap and readily available.

Public health expert Dr Noble said:

‘It was no surprise to see that diabetes risk is high in areas where poverty was high.’What was surprising was that some of these pockets of deprivation and ill-health have persisted for more than 100 years. ‘But unlike in Booth’s time, we now know how diseases like diabetes can be prevented. Using electronic records to create maps like these throughout the country could improve health and save money for the NHS.’

It is well known that diabetes is linked to poor diet and poor health but I do find it astounding that this has continually for over a century in these places. The communities in the areas have changed as well, the majority of people who dwell in these areas nowadays are immigrants, maybe it is time for the government to fight back against ill heath yet again.

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3 thoughts on “Poverty and Greed

  1. That’s pretty interesting. I’m surprised the poverty hot spots in London are the same as they were in the early 19th century…I’d have expected them to have shifted westward or something.

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