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By Cyrus Redding

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New York: Scribner, 1911, pp. 27–29. 61 and other fees that were more than the average poor family could afford, while in other parts of the country officials made an effort to keep costs down. Access to education for the poor, then, was haphazard at best. The schools that did exist for children of the poor and lower middle classes were hardly ideal places for learning. The title character of Dickens’s David Copperfield, for instance, uses vivid terminology to describe his first reaction to Salem House, a school for poor children; the description is based largely on Dickens’s own visits to schools for the poor.

Most of the time, though, nothing changed. In too many cases, this led not only to overcrowding but homelessness. ”23 From their beginnings, cities such as London were divided by class. There were spacious, comfortable blocks where the rich lived, and much less desirable slum regions where the poor made their homes. By the Victorian era several exceptionally large slums had sprung up, areas where virtually everyone was poor and lived in squalor. Dickens accurately described the atmosphere of one of these areas, which he called Folly Ditch, in Oliver Twist.

In industrial areas, young women chose to work in the factories and mills, rather than become servants. . Textiles employed the largest number of women in industry. Seventy-six per cent of all fourteen-year-old girls in Manchester in 1852 worked in cotton mills. . In factories women often earned more than they could in other jobs, but their wages were only between two thirds and one half of men’s wages, even for identical work. Most women accepted the notion that their labour was less valuable than that of a man, and accepted unskilled, inferior, underpaid jobs of any kind available, because they desperately needed to earn money and did not have the power to demand anything better.

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A history and description of modern wines by Cyrus Redding


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