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Charles Booth (1840-1916)

Philanthropist and social researcher. Pioneer in influencing government policies on the reduction of poverty that led to a range of social reforms in the early 1900s, such as the introduction of the Old Age pensions, and free school meals, and ultimately to the foundation of the welfare state. He put into question the methods of collecting statistical data on poverty and he introduced a far-ranging report on poverty across London, that was published as Life and Labour of the People of London in 9 volumes between 1892 and 1897.

Booth corresponded with Seebohm Rowntree and advised him on his study of Poverty in York in 1899. By means of this study Rowntree showed that poverty was not a phenomenon unique to London, but he was able to refine and develop the definition of the poverty line and to introduce the concepts of primary and secondary poverty.

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