Last Updated 20 Jun 2022

Essay on Rich and Poor

Category Poverty
Words 1062 (4 pages)
Table of contents

The different lifestyles and experiences, of rich and poor people in 19th century Britain. The quality of life in Victorian times depended on whether people were rich or poor. Wealthy people enjoyed a good and easy life, but on the other hand, poorer people had a rough and hard life, often ending up in the workhouse or early death. By 1851 British society divided into social classes. The aristocracy was powerful and wealthy. The middle class, who ran the businesses, were ambitious and growing in wealth. The people in villages, in the towns, working as a servant in the homes of the rich were very poor.

The Gap Between Rich and Poor

The life of the rich, birth mattered more than money. A rich baby boy had governesses and nannies, then went to public schools such as Eton or Harrow, finishing his education at Oxford or Cambridge. Girls were educated at home and getting prepared for marriage. Some girls went to boarding school and at the end of the 19th century, a small number were able to go to university. The eldest son inherited his father’s estate and title. In a rich household, their meals where far more then they could eat and the rest was passed on to the employers who lived on their land. As the century went on, middle-class people took annual holiday.

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Behaviour in a typical middle-class family was proper. Children spent most of the time with the nanny and called the father “Sir”. The mother’s job was to stay at home and tells servants and tradesmen what to do. The middle-class house values where religion, modesty, cleanliness, self-improvement and hard work. They enjoyed musical evenings, stamp collecting, butterfly collecting and the theatre. The working class lived on their employer’s land in little cottages. If the working class would ever leave their employer they would have to leave their accommodation and make them homeless or go into workhouses.

That’s why a lot of people stayed in the same employment for a long time. At the start of the 19th century, few poor people received an education until the 1880 education act made primary school compulsory. Poverty is the state of being poor. For the poor, most children have to work because their family needed the money. The more people in the family who worked, the more money they had. More money means more food and better living conditions. Very poor people with no home or job lived in workhouses and families got split up. They earned their keep by doing jobs in the workhouse.

The idea was that the poor were helped to support themselves. For most of the population, poverty brought terrible living and working conditions. Millions of people were living in terrible squalor. They lived in cold, damp, badly built houses. They where overcrowded which led to spreading of disease. Working conditions were dreadful and people got low pay for long hours working in factories, mines and mills. Work was hard, and dangerous with little safety and poor working conditions. Huge social problems led to alcoholism and violence. This was happening up and down the land in the cities of Britain.

We Make Our Own Fate

During the 19th century, people had strong beliefs about the causes of poverty. People believed that it was a person’s own doing that they lived in poverty, as it was due to their own behaviour, laziness, alcoholism or wasting the money that they had. A person should help themselves to avoid poverty and to get out of poverty. It was called self-help. The next step in this essay will be looking at some source material to find out which is primary and secondary. Primary sources are can also exist in many copies, if they were popular and widely available at the time that they were created.

Secondary sources were called secondary because they are created after primary sources and they often use or talk about primary sources. Secondary sources can give additional options sometimes called bias, on a past event or on the primary source. Secondary sources often have many copies. Looking at Source D: This is a secondary source, as it was written in 2001 by Victorian diaries in London. The diary was written unwittingly as the author Lady Maria Hobart did not expect anyone to read her diary. Also, it is unwittingly written because it describes an event out of her life.

The diary is the primary source of the memory of the special day and written by her, produced at the time. She was also very wealthy as there were a maid and eight bride’s mates and she was made by a sir at the church. She had a horse and carriage picking her and her husband up from the church after their wedding ceremony. She was an educated lady and her workforce came out cheerfully to celebrate their marriage. There is a very positive bias and it is very well written and precise. Source B: this source is not very reliable, as he is protective of his father and may be distorted due to his age.

The father was the only source of income that points out that this family was very poor. This is also a primary source as George Edwards recalls his life in this diary. The workhouse was also a strong point that this family was poor. The images in source F we see here are all primary images as there were photos taken at the time. The images showing the upper and working class looking at image one is strongly biased as it only represents the upper class. Image six was wittingly taken. The intention was to show the poor. Image two shows a child as a miner In 1842 the mines act stopped working girls and boys under 10 from work in mines.

This also represents a poor family as all the member in a poor family had to work, even children. Also, a primary source as it was taken at the time of the event. The conclusion on primary and secondary sources is, primary sources come first hand from the source or person. Diaries would be a primary source because it is written directly by the individual writing in the diary. Information that has been stated, but not interpreted by others. Secondary sources are sources that were written about primary sources. Secondary sources analyse, interpret and discuss information about the primary source.

Essay on Rich and Poor essay

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