'Social Explorers' (or 'Social Investigators') is a term used to describe individuals, usually well-heeled, who disguised themselves as vagrants and entered the workhouse (or, most commonly, just its tramps' accommodation or 'casual ward') to experience its conditions and subsequently write about what they had observed. Possibly the earliest of these was the anonymous (and presumably Scottish) author of Visit to an English Workhouse, published in 1837, although he only got as far as living on the inmates' diet for several days. The first explorer to fully immerse himself in casual ward conditions was James Greenwood, whose articles in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1866, about the Lambeth casual ward, caused a sensation. Other authors, such as Mary Higgs, wrote about their experiences with the aim of improving the conditions for those forced to seek shelter in workhouses.
- Anonymous (1837) Visit To An English Workhouse
- Anonymous (1892) The Experiences of a Lady "Amateur Casual"
- Anonymous (1894) A Night in a Workhouse — the Stepney Casual Ward.
- Anonymous (1904) A Visit to Bradford Workhouse
- Anonymous (1910) The Skipton Workhouse Casual Ward
- Baker, Henry Stuart (1910-) A "Professional" Amateur Casual
- 'Crane, Denis' [Cranfield, Walter Thomas] (1910) A Vicarious Vagabond
- Edwards, Rev. George Z (1910) A Vicar as Vagrant
- Craven, Carey William (1887) A Night in the Workhouse — Keighley Union workhouse, West Yorkshire.
- Gray, Frank (1931) The Tramp: his Meaning and Being
- Greenwood, James (1866) A Night in a Workhouse
- Greenwood, James (1906) After 40 Years — The Amateur Casual of 1906
- Higgs, Mary (1904) Five Days and Five Nights as a Tramp Among Tramps — Social Investigation by a Lady
- Higgs, Mary (1904) The Tramp Ward
- Higgs, Mary (1904) London Investigations
- Higgs, Mary (1905) A Night in a Salvation Army Shelter
- Higgs, Mary (1906) Glimpses into the Abyss (a compilation of her previous works).
- London, Jack (1903) The People of the Abyss
- Malvery, Olive Christian (1906) The Soul Market
- Parkinson, Joseph Charles (1866) A Real Casual on Casual Wards
- Stallard, J.H. (1866) The Female Casual and her Lodging
- Tennant, H.J. (1887) The Eastbourne Workhouse Casual Ward
- Varley, Julia (1904) Life in the Casual Ward
- Wallace-Goodbody, Frederick George (1883) The Tramps' Haven
- Wilkinson, T.W. (1907) On Tramp With A Ticket
- Wyrall, Everard (1910) The Spike
Unless otherwise indicated, this page () is copyright Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.