The poor received money, time and expertise from charitable Victorian people and organisations to help them deal with poverty.

Most of these charities believed in the theory of self-help and did not think the Government should intervene.

Many also believed that the poor should be ‘educated’ to live better lives and improve themselves, and that they would provide this ‘education’.

Others linked to religion and charitable individuals often saw themselves as ‘doing God’s work’ in helping the poor.

A number of these charities were not organised on a national level. This limited their effectiveness for several reasons:

  • A person might receive similar help from two charities at once, limiting resources.
  • There were areas of the country and parts of cities which received no help.

Provider of charityHelp provided
Thomas BarnardoProvision of homes for orphaned children, he began work in London in 1867
Octavia HillProperty owner who provided a good standard of housing
RSPCCProvided help for children and orphans
Salvation ArmyWork colonies set up to help the poor to learn new work and life skills