Social Explorers

'Social Explorers' is the term used to describe relatively well-heeled individuals who entered the workhouse (or at least its tramps' accommodation, or 'casual ward') with the purpose of experiencing its conditions and to subsequently write about what they had observed. Possibly the earliest of these 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.

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