Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


There are 1 entries for this date: Charles Booth
Charles Booth

Charles Booth

On this date in 1840, English entrepreneur, social researcher and philanthropist Charles Booth was born in Liverpool to Unitarians. Booth became a shipping company apprentice at age 16, and, after being orphaned in 1862, he and his brother Alfred started a skins and leather trade business, with offices in New York and Liverpool. Booth launched the Booth Steamship Company in 1866. He had campaigned in the slums of Toxteth in Liverpool for Liberal parliamentary candidacy in the 1865 election, which he lost, but witnessing the intense poverty of the slums changed the course of his life. According to his personal writings and correspondence, this experience eventually caused him to abandon his religious faith. Instead of faith, Booth developed a strong sense of social responsibility and worked the rest of his life to improve conditions for the poor. Booth believed that party politics could not solve social problems, but, in his view, educating the electorate would. This idea motivated him to join Joseph Chamberlain's Birmingham Education League and participate in a survey, which concluded that 25,000 Liverpool children were not in school or working.

In 1871, Booth married Mary Macaulay, cousin of Beatrice Potter (later Webb). The Booths moved to London, and socialized with others (including the Webbs) who shared their deep concern for England's poor. Booth, a member of the Fabian Society, had also served on the Royal Commission on the Aged Poor, and served with Beatrice Webb on the Royal Commission on the Poor Law. Booth first began analyzing census figures by assisting the Lord Mayor of London's Relief Fund, in 1884. Unsatisfied with other surveys of London's poverty, in 1886, Booth began work on his monumental work, Life and Labour of the People of London (finished in 1903), which totaled seventeen volumes. Beatrice Webb, Mary Booth and other social reformers worked on this project at various times. While previous studies estimated that 25% of Londoners were in poverty, Booth's study showed the number to be at about 35%. It is believed that his studies on the poor helped result, at least in part, in the Old Age Pensions Act of 1908. By the time of his death by stroke at age 76, Booth had been made a fellow of the Royal Society and received honorary degrees from Oxford, Cambridge and Liverpool Universities. D. 1916

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

 

FFRF privacy statement

AAI-LOGO

FFRF is a member of Atheist Alliance International.