A Christmas Carol Background
Poverty in Victorian England
Living Conditions in Slums
Slums were rundown areas with houses where thirty or more people lived together in a single room. People squatted and slept on straw beds that were placed on the hard room floor. Rotting dead bodies laid everywhere on the floor and the mothers had to protect their infants from rats attacking them.
Workhouses were places where the poor or working class would go if they needed support. People in the workhouses went to work for shelter, food, and clothes. The workhouse only provided the minimum amount of food for people would need to survive. The people that lived there were treated like slaves. The workhouses separated families into groups of children, men, and women. Workhouses were the last resort to some and many would rather have suffered outside than to go to workhouse.
Many children in their families had to work along with their parents to support their family's needs. Some jobs children had worked at were pulling carts and coalmines, street peddling, chimney sweeping, and factories and mills. Most of these jobs were deadly to the children who worked their. Some children were recruited to become thieves or pickpockets.