The Bitter Cry of Outcast Women, 1900–1914

  • Sue Bruley
Part of the Social History in Perspective book series (SHP)


The years between the turn of the century and the First World War were ones of rapid social change and upheaval. Internationally, the once dominant British economy was increasingly under threat from new industrial powers, such as the USA, the newly unified Germany and Japan. With the British Empire at its height, notions of colonial domination and racial superiority form an inescapable aspect of the age. Imperial pomp and splendour, and rising living standards for many, masked the enduring misery of the underclass. The rise of social science and investigation uncovered wretched living conditions for as many as a third of the population. Many of these researches, such as Maud Pember Reeves’ study of Lambeth, Round About a Pound a Week and Lady Bell’s study of Middlesborough, At the Works contain much valuable material concerning working-class women.1 An increasingly interventionist state introduced a major period of social reform. Although the origins of this movement are complex, it certainly had more to do with nationalism than any desire to ameliorate the lives of the poor.


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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© Sue Bruley 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Bruley

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