“How to get rid of the professional tramp”
A Royal Commission was held 1905-09 on “The Poor Laws and Relief of Distress”. It led to two reports, the Majority and Minority reports. The arguments hinged on the balance between individual rights and duties versus the collective alleviation of the structural causes of poverty. Beatrice Webb was the intellectual backbone of the Minority viewpoint, squaring off against social reformer Helen Bosanquet. Despite being in the minority, Webb’s efforts ultimately planted the seed for the Welfare State.
We have a 10-page booklet in the collection that was published locally the following year, 1910. It describes a new system for feeding vagrants in Berkshire who are passing through, on condition that they are genuinely seeking work.