Self-help and the voluntary system

At the start of the 20th century, there were no old age pensions, unemployment benefits, health insurance or help for children.

If the main wage-earner in a family died or could not work, a whole family could be plunged into terrible poverty.

However, the Government believed that the social problems of Britain could be solved through:

  • voluntary action
  • charity
  • self-help

The video below examines health and housing in the 19th century.