Reviews

Caroline Holmes

The author is to be congratulated on unearthing so much interesting historical material on the treatment of the poor: a little-considered area becoming ever more relevant nowadays. His book is well presented with clear, attractive illustrations, some of which are his own photographs.

Extensive quotations allow the reader to become immersed in the attitudes, thought processes and language of the period. We find earnestness and good-hearted concern for the less fortunate, narrow-minded pompous bigotry, sarcasm, ranging from gentle to scathing, and the pawky humour of a farm-servant. We enjoy a miscreant's cheeky behaviour and are touched by the pathos of an old couple no longer able to earn a living with their mangle. We note the sometimes harsh dominance of religion and realise how much this influence has changed in our time.

Hopefully Alastair MacDonald will continue researching this field, as there are surely further questions that his work has raised in his own mind, as well as those of his readers.

April 2022

The Cold Hand of Charity

© Copyright Alastair MacDonald 2021. All rights reserved.