Exploring poverty in east London
This event offers an historical insight into poverty in east London, with presentations exploring approaches to poverty measurement pioneered by William Booth, the role of the settlement movement in poverty alleviation and ways in which the influences of the Settlement movement have shaped contemporary approaches to community and citizen organising.
East London has been at the forefront of thinking about poverty and poverty alleviation and has long been associated with having some of the highest levels in the country.
Thursday 19 January, 5–7pm, UEL, University Square Stratford (USS) Room US1.01
Lucinda Matthew-Jones, Liverpool John Moores University: East London Settling: A photo-essay of the University Settlement Movement
Eddie Playfair, Newham Sixth Form College: From Toynbee Hall to London Citizens (via Chicago)
Laura Vaughan, UCL Bartlett School of Architecture: The relationship between physical segregation and economic marginalisation in the historical urban environment
Abstracts and Biographies
East London Settling: A photo-essay of the University Settlement Movement
Harvard University Library Open Collection Program offers scholars a unique chance to examine the photographic depictions of the university and social settlement movement in Britain. Most scholarship on this movement relies on written evidence. In this paper Lucinda will turn from the mind’s eye to examine how the photographic eye captured the East End and conveys a sense of settling. The settlement movement was based on the ideas of neighbourliness, knowledge and understanding. By turning to a consideration of the photographs taken by two settlement houses, Toynbee Hall (Whitechapel) and St Margaret’s House (Bethnal Green), Lucinda will illustrate what it meant to settle in East London.
Lucinda Matthews-Jones is a Senior Lecturer in 19th century British history at Liverpool John Moores University. She is currently working on a book-length study of the university and social settlement movement in the period 1880-1920. She has published work on the settlement movement in 'Journal of Victorian Culture', John Arnold and Sean Brady's 'What is Masculinity' with forthcoming work appearing in 'Historical Journal' and 'Women's History Review'. Together with Timothy W. Jones, she edited the 2015 volume 'Material Religion in Modern Britain'.
From Toynbee Hall to London Citizens (via Chicago)
The settlement movement in east London has played an important role in the development of social work and raising issues of poverty and inequality. This talk will briefly trace the development of community action and organising in East London from the university settlements created in the late 19th century via the urban settlement houses in the US they inspired, back to East London with the community organising of The East London Citizens Organisation.
Eddie Playfair is the Principal of Newham Sixth Form College, a large comprehensive college for young people aged 16-19 and has worked in education in East and North East London for the best part of 30 years. He lives in east London and is not an academic historian.
The relationship between physical segregation and economic marginalisation in the historical urban environment
This talk will cover the origins of the poor problem in London; poverty as a spatial issue, Charles Booth as the first social scientist and what his maps of poverty reveal to us on the role of urban layout in shaping patterns of poverty and prosperity in the city; conclusion: questions of poverty and urban space today.
Laura Vaughan is Professor of Urban Form and Society at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her research addresses the inherent complexity of the urban environment both theoretically and methodologically, most recently in a large study of London’s suburban evolution from the nineteenth century till today (her book Suburban Urbanities was published by UCL Press in 2015). She has been researching nineteenth century Whitechapel for over two decades, with studies ranging from the spatial structuring of Charles Booth’s poverty maps to a study of the Jewish East End. Her publications include: Vaughan, L. et al (2007). "Space and Exclusion: Does urban morphology play a part in social deprivation?" Area 37. Vaughan L. (2008) Mapping the East End Labyrinth, in: Werner A. ed Jack the Ripper and the East End. Chatto and Windus: London; Vaughan L., and Geddes I. (2009) Urban Form and Deprivation: A Contemporary Proxy for Charles Booth's Analysis of Poverty, Radical Statistics, 99. “There Was a Priest, a Rabbi and an Imam...: An Analysis of Urban Space and Religious Practice in London's East End, 1685-2010”, Material Religion, 9, 10-35. Vaughan L., and Sailer K. (2017) The Metropolitan Rhythm of a “Majestic Religion”: An Analysis of the Socio-Spatial Configuration of Synagogues in Nineteenth Century Whitechapel, in: Colin Holmes and Kershen A. eds An East End Legacy: Essays in Memory of William J Fishman. Routledge: London.