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Poor Relief and Charity, 1869-1945: the London Charity Organization Society

Robert Humphreys
Palgrave (Oct 2001)

This volume challenges many widely held beliefs about the efficacy of The London Charity Organization Society. Politicians, social administrators, sociologists, economics, biographers and historians have been swayed by the strength of its propaganda. The Charity Organization Society (COS) continues to be used as an institutional model to illustrate the alleged advantages of voluntarism over state benefits. This book exposes the misleading nature of many of its claims. It explains how the COS was shunned by other charities, treated with suspicion by parish clergy disregarded by Poor Law guardians and seen as little different from the stigmatised Poor Law by those in need.

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