Charity Organisation Society: Special Committee on Unskilled Labour

Scope and Content

Records of an investigation into the wages and conditions of work of unskilled labour, especially in London. Interviews with representatives of the London Carmen's Union, the General Labourers' Amalgamated Union and the United Builder's Labourers Union.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charity Organisation Society (COS): During the 1860s there was a concern that self-help and charity could conflict. It was believed that the poor could best be helped through the use of charity funding, to help themselves. In June 1868 at a meeting if the Society of Arts, the Unitarian minister Henry Solly (1813-1903) gave a public lecture entitled "How to deal with the Unemployed Poor of London and with its 'Rough' and Criminal Class". This led to the formation of the Charity Organisation Society in 1869, with Solly as its first Secretary. The aim of COS was a better standard of administering charity relief, emphasising the need for self help, and accompanying it with personal care. COS became involved in administering charity relief in London, and in the 20th century was associated with the introduction and development of social casework in Britain. The social reformer Beatrice Webb (1858-1943) became a member in 1883, and the housing reformer Octavia Hill (1838-1912) was a key figure in the development of the COS until her death.

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Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 8, 2002

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