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Slum TravelersLadies and London Poverty, 1860-1920$
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Ellen Ross

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520249059

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520249059.001.0001

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Maud Pember Reeves

Maud Pember Reeves

(p.208) 19 Maud Pember Reeves
Slum Travelers

Ellen Ross

University of California Press

This chapter discusses Maud Pember Reeves. It focuses on her graphic account of working class life in the London district of North Lambeth, describing a project carried out by the Fabian Women's Group (FWG). The FWG intended to give women prominence in the Fabian Society and to study women's economic independence in relation to socialism. In 1909, the FWG's Motherhood Special Fund Committee began a study of the domestic lives of forty-two families with new babies living on a subsistence wage of about a pound a week. The FWG raised money and was able to provide extra cash for food for the mothers' infants. The Fabians expected that extra cash would lead to the improvement of infant health, demonstrating that high child death rates in the slums were due to poverty and not maternal ignorance or negligence. Their conclusions, which were published as a Fabian Tract, defended the often maligned intelligence and industry of working-class women. It also argued for the state to aid families through a minimum wage, affordable housing, and public feeding of infants.

Keywords:   Maud Pember Reeves, working class life, North Lambeth, Fabian Women's Group, economic independence, Motherhood Special Fund, infant health, Fabian Tract

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