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Slum Travelers

Ladies and London Poverty, 1860-1920

Ellen Ross (Editor)


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Late-nineteenth-century Britain saw the privileged classes forsake society balls and gatherings to turn their considerable resources to investigating and relieving poverty. By the 1890s at least half a million women were involved in philanthropy, particularly in London. Slum Travelers, edited, annotated, and with a superb introduction by Ellen Ross, collects a fascinating array of the writings of these "lady explorers," who were active in the east, south, and central London slums from around 1870 until the end of World War I. Contributors range from the well known, including Annie Besant, Sylvia Pankhurst, and Beatrice Webb (then Potter), to the obscure. The collection reclaims an important group of writers whose representations of urban poverty have been eclipsed by better-known male authors such as Charles Dickens and Jack London.
List of Illustrations
Map of London in 1888
Introduction: Adventures among the Poor

1. “A Lady Resident,” “Sketch of Life in Buildings,” 1889
2. Annie (Wood) Besant, “White Slavery in London,” 1888
3. Clementina Black and Adele (Lady Carl) Meyer, from Makers of Our Clothes, 1909
4. Helen (Dendy) Bosanquet, “Marriage in East London,” 1895
5. Agnes Kate Foxwell, from Munition Lasses, 1917
6. Clara Ellen Grant, “A School Settlement,” 1911
7. Margaret Harkness, “Barmaids,” 1889
8. Mary (Kingsland) Higgs, “In a London Tramp Ward,” 1906
9. Edith (Mrs. F.{ths}G.) Hogg, “The Fur-Pullers of South London,” 1897
10. Amy Levy, from A London Plane-Tree, and Other Verse, 1889
11. Margaret McMillan, “A Slum Mother” (1908) and “Guy and the Stars” (1919)
12. Olive Christian Malvery, “Gilding the Gutter,” 1905
13. Anna Martin, “The Irresponsibility of the Father,” 1918
14. Honnor Morten, “Eating the Apple,” 1899
15. Margaret Wynne Nevinson, “The Evacuation of the Workhouse,” 1918
16. Sylvia Pankhurst, selections from The Woman’s Dreadnaught, 1916–1917
17. Florence Petty, from The Pudding Lady, 1910
18. Ellen Henrietta Ranyard, selections from The Missing Link Magazine, 1878
19. Maud Pember Reeves, selections from Round about a Pound a Week, 1913
20. Maude Alethea Stanley, “Drunkenness,” 1878
21. Dorothy Tennant (Lady Stanley), from London Street Arabs, 1890
22. Ethel Brilliana (Mrs. Alec) Tweedie, “Petticoat-Lane,” 1895
23. Kate Warburton, “An Epiphany Pilgrimage,” 1906
24. Beatrice (Potter) Webb, “Pages from a Work-Girl’s Diary,” 1888

Appendix 1: The Geography of London Wealth and Poverty
Appendix 2: The Texts Arranged Thematically
Glossary of Terms, Institutions, and Organizations
Ellen Ross is Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She is the author of Love and Toil: Motherhood in Outcast London (1993) and many articles on London and women’s history.
“An invaluable resource for academicians and students interested in subjects ranging from Urban and Women’s studies to history and social science. . . . This book will also fascinate general readers and writers interested in gaining insight into what life was like in the slums of London during this period.”—History In Review
"An extraordinarily welcome addition to the field. No other such collection exists."—Deborah Epstein Nord, author of Gypsies & the British Imagination, 1807-1930

"Ross offers a spritely entree into the lives of important female authors and reformers who have heretofore been shadowy figures in historical scholarship."—Judith R. Walkowitz, author of City of Dreadful Delight

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