Introduction
in The poor in England 1700–1850

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book represents the single most significant attempt in print to supply the English 'economy of makeshifts' with a solid, empirical basis. It also represents the attempt in print to advance the concept of makeshifts from a rather woolly label to a more precise delineation. The chapter then provides the records of the Welsh charity school in London to exemplify both the benefits and the meanings drawn from charity by recipients. The book suggests that kinship and social credit were deemed by contemporaries to be important elements in their makeshift economies. It unravels the material and cultural implications of incorporating charity within survival strategies. The book tackles the complicated relationship between poverty and social crime in the capital by looking at both contemporary published opinion and the evidence of the courts.

The poor in England 1700–1850

An economy of makeshifts

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