Page 80 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 80

 Round about a Pound a Week MAUD PEMBER REEVES
This is an important study of working- class life in Lambeth in the early years of the twentieth century which even has tables of figures (weekly expenditure etc). But it is extremely readable, fascinating, poignant and compassionate – as well as being relevant today.
‘Alphabet’ sampler by ‘DAR’, Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester
In 1909 a group of women, all of them members of the feminist, left-wing Fabian Women’s Group, would regularly leave their comfortable homes in Kensington and Hampstead and call on forty-two families in Lambeth in order to interview them about their everyday life.They wrote down their findings in tiny lined notebooks (which are still preserved in the London School of Economics library) and in 1912 these were written up as a twenty-page Fabian Tract, ‘Family Life on a Pound a Week’. Once the tract had appeared Maud Pember Reeves turned it into Round about a Pound a Week with sixteen chapters covering such topics as Housing,Thrift, Food and Mothers’ Days, producing a book of stunning interest and originality which has never really been rivalled in the hundred years since first publication in 1913.‘A book addressed to a middle class world of power and condescension’ (Polly Toynbee), its mixture of factual rigour, wit and polemic remains unique.
 NO 79
248pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155691

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