Environments for Children

Part of the National Children’s Bureau series book series (NCB)


Is the environment of the urban child better or worse than it used to be? From our own recollections or from the opening pages of innumerable autobiographies we may be likely to conclude that the contemporary child has a less happy habitat than that of his grandparents. Then we reflect that the distorting mirror of memory and the transforming power of nostalgia may be playing its usual tricks. For the social historians are at our elbows to remind us, as Laslett does, that

Englishmen in 1901 had to face the disconcerting fact that destitution was still an outstanding feature of fully industrialised society, with a working class perpetually liable to social and material degradation. More than half of all the children of working men were in this dreadful condition, which meant 40 per cent of all the children in the country. These were the scrawny, dirty, hungry, ragged, verminous boys and girls who were to grow up into the working class of twentieth-century England. (1965)


Student Teacher Urban Child Housing Estate Modern City Retail Distribution 
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Copyright information

© National Children’s Bureau 1980

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