Food and Betterment Association Collection

Scope and Content

The records comprise seven folio volumes of sourced and dated press cuttings on subjects of interest to the Association, particularly social problems related to drink, slum housing and malnutrition. The main sources for local events such as the Charity Bazaar of Feb. 1907, are the Liverpool Courier, Liverpool Post and Mercury and Liverpool Echo, with other local titles including the Protestant Standard and Porcupine. Volumes 5-7 reuse pages of The Welldoer as scrap. Sources for general issues include a very wide range of local, regional and national newspapers, and magazines such as the Spectator, and the British Medical Journal

Administrative / Biographical History

  • 1893-1897 Liverpool Food Association
  • 1898-1900 Liverpool Food and Betterment Association
  • 1901-1909 Food and Betterment Association
  • 1909- League of Welldoers

The Liverpool Food Association was founded in 1893 by Herbert Lee Jackson Jones, a pioneer in the introduction of the middle-classes into social work. Under Jones, as Honorary Secretary, and the City Coroner, as President, the Association took premises in Limekiln Lane, Scotland Road, Liverpool and put up soup boilers. In the first season, dinners at ½d each (or free to the poorest) were distributed to eleven schools. Other services followed, such as the distribution of food to housebound invalids by voluntary Lady Attendants. The range of charitable activities increased and diversified to include the notion of cultural betterment", for example open-air concerts were provided in slum areas to elevate the seared mind or brighten the dulled hour amongst the poor and the poorest poor". As a protest against an increasing, professional, over-paid philanthropy", Jones founded the League of Welldoers, who took the notion of personal service to the extent of martyrdom, living in the service of the Association on no more than £15 a year, plus uniform and austere board and lodgings. The League published The Welldoer. Organ of the Food and Betterment Association. A critical record of benevolence. Nonsectarian and nonpolitical.


Volumes and cuttings are arranged chronologically, with some overlap between volumes

Access Information

Access is open to bona fide researchers.

Separated Material

The Merseyside Record Office holds records of the Liverpool League of Welldoers, 1893-1967

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and licensing Rules available on request.

Related Material

Special Collections and Archives also holds:

  • Rathbone Papers (RP) IX.10.74/90: telegram from Herbert Lee Jones, dated March 7, 1902, on the death of William Rathbone VI
  • Liverpool Philomathic Society Archive (LPS) 1/1/5: letter from Clifford Muspratt, dated 1 March 1909, offering to speak against the motion that the cost of feeding poor school children should be put on the rates


Simey, Margaret Bayne, Charity rediscovered: a study of philanthropic effort in nineteenth-century Liverpool(Liverpool University Press, 1992)