Between the May 1 and October 15, 1851, London hosted The Great Exhibition, which was the precursor for the Global movement of what would become known as the World Fairs. The World Fairs being a multinational networking resource for emergent global Capitalism.
The equivalent of one third of the entire population of Great Britain travelled from all corners of the realm to attend. On one day, October 7, the attendance reached a staggering and unprecedented 109,915 visitors.[1]
Equally, as astonishing as the attendance, was the profit made. The balance sheet showed a plus of £186,000 (£18 million in today’s money) this money in turn was used to fund the creation of The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum.[2]
The Great Exhibition was a Global event in both the scope of the exhibits and also in its ability to draw visitors from all over the known world. It was the obvious illustration that society was now ready for the growth and expansion three important sociological realities; events, spectacles and platforms.
It also showed the power of capitalism. In the words of Karl Marx, Capitalism seeks, “ a constantly expanding market for its products, chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.”[3]
At the centre of the unprecedented economic growth were a series processes that were fundamental economic realities. An unlimited supply of cheap cotton created by Slave Labour in America. A labour surplus to move into the new industrial centres. A British textile industry that was able to over produce beyond domestic needs. A market controlled by Britain for textiles India, in which by the rule of law and military force, Indian domestic textile production was forbidden.[4]
The end result was a Britain that was fundamentally opulent for some classes and systemically a vast body of low wage persons required to keep profit margins at their most maximised.[5]
In short, Britain had the greatest volume of wealth on earth and equally staggering levels of poverty that created a pre-modern culture for the lower classes that had little or no escape mechanisms other than in the exceptional cases. 
It is important to state that this condition does not seek to attribute any kind of ideological intent against the poor by business or government. The condition is, rather areas where inaction, ignorance or prejudice within the leadership of the Establishment had a significant impact upon the lives of millions of people in England and Wales throughout the Nineteenth Century. When the term Establishment is used it also brings into its nomenclature the Church especially the State Church of England.
The study of the Nineteenth Century history needs to be viewed carefully as it is a temptation to slip into anachronistic analysis. This research bares this in mind and seeks to find balance wherever possible by seeking to understand the various perspectives in context to the times. 
When we, in the Twenty First Century read many of the Nineteenth Century documents our natural reaction is often to be appalled that such insensitivity existed within society and especially as that insensitivity was often defended by the Church establishment.

No matter what our judgement may be, there was very much the sense that the Nineteenth Century Established Church saw itself as being a locus and arbiter of justice and generosity to the poor and oppressed. That self-perception was often based upon the generous and active engagement of Christian philanthropists and those truly involved in seeking to bring equity to society.
In this research, our focus is not upon the many admirable acts of goodness by Churches and individuals and the societies they created to execute their goals. Rather the work seeks to identify the structural and institutional settings that created the very deprivation that the philanthropists were seeking to address.
The reason the 19th Century establishment saw itself in the way that it was because those in positions of power in both Church and State viewed their own condition is contrast to the looked to earlier times.  They were astonished at the severity of so many of the Church sanctioned attitudes towards the poor and as a result saw themselves as enlightened and engaged.
In the 16th Century, a beggar was considered a criminal and not a person in need. Under Act of Parliament a Beggar was to be punished. 
“A sturdy beggar is to be whipped the first time, his right ear cropped the second time, and if he again offends, to be sent to the next gaol till the quarter sessions, and there to be indicted for wandering, loitering, and idleness, and if convicted, shall suffer execution of death as a felon and an enemy of the commonwealth.⁠1” 
The relativity and contrast factors are very important to understand how cultures view themselves in relation to others.

Bishop Blomfield
In 1832, the Bishop of London, Charles James Blomfield, chaired a commission to review the laws of the land concerning the care, relief and protection of the poor. Bishop Blomfield took over as Bishop of London in 1828 and was in office less than three full years before undertaking the task of chairing this Commission that redefined poverty and the motives of the poor in seeking relief for years to come.

William Howley
William Howley, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1828, preceded him, was the Master of the Masonic Royal York Lodge, Bristol[6] and represents all of the establishment elite stereotypes in terms of his supporting the status quo ambitions of the upper classes. Howley was very much an architect of a system that Howley wanted to reform but was unable to.
Blomfield was a fair and just carer of the souls of men and women. He was though, not a “voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,”[7] rather a Hellenic “lover's whisper, …. to make the sanest man, go mad.”[8] He sought to strengthen the structural pillars of an institution that viewed society through the eye glass of statistical data backed up by anecdotes at the same time as claiming to care for the souls of men.

A short meditation on the words of Edward Pusey acting as a prophetic word to the powers of the establishment would have been in order.

“There is a Judgment of which all temporal judgments are but forerunners; a fire which God will not extinguish; suffering, of which there is no mitigation, no end; a doom in which there is no intercessor; and that these are especially reserved for such as in this life showed no mercy to Christ’s poor; that while fornicators, unjust, covetous, have no portion (we know) in the Kingdom of Heaven; yet in our Lord’s own description of the Great Day, the sin, which He singles out for condemnation, is neglect of Him in His poor and suffering members” (Matt. 25:44, 45).2[9]

The 1834, Poor Law Report proposed that attempts of relief for the poor were in fact the cause of increasing poverty in the country.[10] As a result under Parish Church supervision the “Work House” system was developed so as to create an environment whereby receiving assistance was a punitive experience. [11]
Any consideration of balance in the report is hard to find and those that opposed the draconian punitive measures against the poor were rejected. 
“It might have been hoped that, under such circumstances, a general feeling would have arisen that these abuses are intolerable, and must be put an end to at any risk or at any sacrifice. But many who acknowledge the evil seem to expect the cure of an inveterate disease, without exposing the patient to any suffering or even discomfort. They exclaim against the burthen as intolerable, but object to any amendment, if it appears that it must be or may be attended by any immediate inconvenience.” [12]
There seems to be nowhere in the report, any understanding that the poor were poor because of structures both economic and social that were either implemented or supported by Church and Government. As a result, the report divorces itself from any sense of Christian compassion or Grace. For example, “concerning bastards begotten and born out of lawful matrimony (an offence against God's law and man's law) the said bastards being now left to be kept at the charges of the parish where they be born, to the great burden of the same parish.”[13] It is hard to imagine the consciousness of those “Bastards” as they looked at themselves through the perceptions of a Church mandated worldview. 
To put this in a wider context it is important to note that the Bench of Bishops rejected in principle all the reform Bills put before Parliament from the 1820’s to the 1880’s and were blind to the obvious conflicts of interest in terms of they, as Bishops living in what would have been considered extravagant opulence.[14] 
From the Twelfth Century onwards, land use in England had been governed by a system of cooperative ownership from the 900 titled Barons at one level to the illiterate small holders at the other end of the spectrum.[15] The system lent itself to maximising profit to the large land-owners and yet at the same time created sustainability, albeit at a subsistence level, for the peasant classes. 
The major (sic) Inclosure Acts of 1773 and 1845 removed the parameters of landholding to a point whereby Common Land was incorporated into the larger and more profitable landholdings which in turn drove the peasantry off of the land.  
The Capitalist interpretation was that increased efficiency in the management of the land meant there was over production, thus surplus, which in turn led to an equal surplus of labour. This in turn created the growth employment opportunities for an expanding labour pool in the various new industries that were developing.[16] 
(numbers of people leaving the land and moving to the cities)

The Marxist critique saw the process as increased power to the elite and the loss of privilege and right to the working classes. 
“In the 19th century, the very memory of the connexion between the agricultural labourer and the communal property had, of course, vanished. To say nothing of more recent times, have the agricultural population received a farthing of compensation for the 3,511,770 acres of common land which between 1801 and 1831 were stolen from them and by parliamentary devices presented to the landlords by the landlords?”[17] Marx Capital Chapter 27 
A third interpretation to the Capitalist and Marxist critique is, that as a result of the overall isolation of the Church of England authorities from the real issues facing the country, there was a lost opportunity for the Church to represent, advocate for and defend the rights of the poor.

In both the 1773 and the 1845 Acts of Parliament there were provisions and protection for the poor under the stewardship of the Parish Church warden and Parish Council representatives of the poor. [18] 
In real terms the various Church councils and committees established to extend equity to the poor were controlled by the landowners and there was no evidence of any significant advocacy for the rights of the small holding peasant.[19] 
In short, if the Established Church had sensed any real structural responsibility to the poor as opposed to selective and voluntary philanthropy of its wealthy members there would have been a very different process of chartered sociological change as opposed to the traumatic process of the driving of the peasants from the land to the great textiles mills of the North of England. 
The British pound became the world’s first Reserve Currency and dominated global economics well into the 20th Century. It was only possible in London for such a structure to develop. Paris and New York, the only potential competitors to London were far from facilitating an economy large enough to develop a Reserve currency. [20]
In 1793, The Government began to inflate the economy by printing bank notes to, ostensibly pay for the war with France. As long as Britain was seen to be winning the war the stability of the currency would not be seen as being in danger of either collapse or massive devaluation.[21] 
In late February 1797, a French invasion appeared to be imminent as the French fleet attacked the Welsh port town of Fishguard. This created a wave of insecurity which in turn created instability within the banking system due to the populace converting their paper currency notes into Gold.[22] 
The total face value of the notes in circulation was almost exactly twice the actual gold reserves held; £10,865,050 of notes, compared to £5,322,010 in bullion. In short, if there had been a widespread attempt to convert notes to bullion, the Bank of England would have gone bankrupt.[23] 
In reaction to this the 1797, Parliamentary Bill, The Bank Restriction Act (37 Geo. III. c. 45) was passed which allowed the government to suspend the conversion of notes to bullion.[24] 
The inflationary spending increased so that by the end of the war, in real terms in 1814, the paper currency in circulation had a value of £28.4 million but was backed by only £2.2 million of gold. [25]

Sir Robert Peel, was the Chairman of the Parliamentary Bullion committee and created a series of fiscal policies, that tied the currency to Gold. This was established by a massive austerity programme and devaluation of Sterling, unemployment levels increased in the new industries to previously unknown levels. 
This needs to be seen in light of the massive agricultural unemployment that was caused by the Land Acts sending vast populations to the industrial cities to find work only for both employment to be limited and wages dropping whilst the prices of goods and services increased. 
By 1821, there were £2,295,360 of notes in circulation being backed by £11,233,390 of Gold. This led to Restriction Act being lifted so that by May 1821, full convertibility of notes to Gold was re-established. The ratio of Notes to Gold being at 4.5% in favour of Gold it meant that the money supply of notes could grow which in turn would make Sterling the preeminent currency in the world. [26] The cost of building such a strong reserve currency was great; massive deprivation of the poor.


One of the realities of the period between 1820 and 1850 was the move, not with meta intention but rather as a series of localised responses, to bring order to the infrastructure of London’s culture.
This was expressed in the obvious areas such as sewage and drinking water but also order at the administrative level as well.
When looking at this migration from chaos to order it is difficult to find an effective descriptor for this at the sociological level.
The process is often alluded to in Weber, Dukheim and Marx but not given a concrete value.
I would suggest that the term La Technique coined by Jacques Ellul is highly effective as a descriptor. The one draw back is that as Ellul writes, La Technique can not easily be translated into English and ends up with descriptions of technology as much as anything else.
La Technique is Technology but not based on material but rather ideas.
In short, La Technique is a law that demands when a set of idea cognates are organised in a certain way the outcome will be a prescribed response. Just as in a mechanical setting outcomes can be determined by sets of cognate laws then in the realm of social organisation the same applies.
With Technique though there are down sides that create complex correspondence issues. A 19th Century example is in the realm of forensic biology. A body that is put through a pathology process will assist the scientist to discover and then create many cures for disease. The difficulty in the 19th Century was very simply there were not enough corpses available for science to be pursued. This by default created a market for illegally procured dead bodies. In short, the grave robbing industry was created by the need for science to be able to flourish. In our own day a similar example can be seen in organ transplants. The vast majority of organ transplants come as a result of traffic accidents. In short, the health of organ transplant medicine has as a requirement the ineffective use of roads and vehicles.
Another comptemporary example is in certain states in America proceeds from lottery tickets are used to fund local state education. The lottery ticket industry is built upon low income persons gambling which results in an increase in poverty. That poverty is a needed requirement for the local education funding.
In the 19th Century London exploded with La Technique, much one can argue had a highly beneficial outcome. Technique also is embedded within the Capitalist framework and moves everything within its sphere towards more efficient and optimised working framework.
This can be seen in London in the sewage and drinking water system.


The population growth in London and its implications during the Reign of Victoria is almost mythical. The expansion was exponential in that in 1800 the estimate was that London had a population of one million. One hundred years later it was just under seven million.

It is estimated that fifty percent of London’s population in 1900 were not born in the city. This created an effect of rootlessness and an aggressive desire to belong. The resulting plethora of clubs, organisations, secret societies and Churches is an illustration of the response to that rootlessness.

This population growth and the resulting rootlessness is accentuate further by the growth Urban Tertiary communities. In short, a city the size of London whilst being connected by its over all infrastructure was in fact a collection of villages inside a confined space.

For the working class population this meant that a person could live most of their life within a very limited geographical and sociological space.
Where this effects the subject of the High Church Missions is that the Church, especially the Church of England was to some extent absent in the more deprived and marginalised communities.

Timothy Stafford in “The Slum Priest Ritualists” quotes Hugh McLeod, “The Church of England attendance figures in poor districts stands at 4% rising to 22% in wealthy areas.”[27] What Stafford did not state is that in McLeod’s “Class and Religion in late Victorian City” that number is given as they mean average. In reality, some areas such as Somers Town had less than 2% Church of England attendance.

The Anatomy of the Spiritually Marginalised

In George Eliot’s Daniel Doranda a discussion is had between Steerforth, his mother and his mother’s companion. Together they discuss the difference between the lower classes and themselves in terms of consciousness. Steerfoth declares that they “are not like us, they obviously do not feel deeply like we do”.[28]

The Spiritually Marginalised are often placed in this category as less sensitive and less aware of the inner workings of consciousness. This way of thinking of the 19th Century poor sadly dominated much of the Christian philanthropy focused upon them.

Almost, all philanthropy was focused around the idea “doing” as a means of correcting what was wrong within the society. A “Fallen Woman” was placed into a programme whereby she would learn to sew so that she would no longer turn to the sex trade to make a living. The idea of dealing with her inner conflicts, guilt, pain and self-value barely existed within the programmes of the day.

For the Evangelical the answer was clearly binary in the “New Birth”, a regeneration of the whole being by the power of the Holy Spirit that empowered the individual to “live victoriously”.

Within the sectors of London society that were of Middle Class orientation this was a highly effective and authentic message. The power of the Blood of the Cross to cleanse from sin and the power of the spirit to empower a life of following Christ is not the issue to be argued over. Rather it is how the Blood of the Cross and the empowering of the Holy Spirit is brought into living reality into a persons life.

For a fifteen year old girl who had no idea of who either her mother or father were, was hungry on a daily basis, was repeatedly raped from the age of nine and passed around a group of men as a sexual plaything but experienced a warped sense of pleasure in seeing men capitulate her sexual power; the need for deep spiritual surgery required lay beyond the remit of much of the Evangelical world. Equally the men who had raped her were in a similar need of deep spiritual healing from the addiction to sin, the self loathing and guilt and the inability to release themselves.

The consciousness of the spiritually marginalised is important to understand if we are to equally understand the reasons why the High Church Mission movement adopted its methodology.

Few would argue with the Evangelical emphasis upon New Birth entered into through repentance based upon faith in the grace of God. It was more how that message was applied that was brought into question.

By the Mid 19th Century the concept of decisional religion had reached its high water mark. The American emphasis upon large platform events with entertainment in the form of both the music and the sermon had worked their way into British Evangelical thought. At the quantitive level the method; Event, Platform and Orator, was highly productive. There were also enough anecdotes to spread the method over a large swathe of the population including the abused and the abusers.

From a spiritual formation, or in Evangelical language Discipleship, perspective the question needs to be asked, at what point do those who are deeply traumatised by sin, either as perpetrator or victim, reach an authentic condition of healing and restoration.

The Evangelical response of more faith, more prayer, more Bible, more service and more fellowship sets the scene for either success or failure but very little in between. It is the ultimate binary of win or loose but with peoples lives as the unit of gain or loss.

The Sacramental through the liturgical provides room in the spaces and the grey areas for people to go through a deep process of not just inner healing but an ongoing discipline of moving beyond the love of sin that is inherent to the human condition.

It is the difference between crisis spirituality built on decisions or process spirituality that is developed over time. Once I was blind but now I see is an effective metaphor for some healed of blindness it may not be so appropriate for someone who is being healed of a deep disease of the soul by sin.


Anonymity was a new experience for the vast majority of people living in London during the second half of the 19th Century. Anonymity was one of the first outcomes of the process of urbanisation. In the various rural communities that people originated from there were, as in all rural communities, a sense of social norms being enforced by the approval and disapproval of the community.

In short, morality was enforced by the need to be accepted and the fear of being rejected within ones rural community. As soon as a person leaves the narrow sociological confines of the small community they are no longer subject to its moral enforcement.

This emancipation from the sociological enforcement agencies of the small community give access to moral experimentation that is at first liberating but then destructive as there is only the subjective moral compass to structure ones life around.

It is difficult to document how this leads to moral deviancy but without seeking to create a correlation and causality matrix one can state that sexual and violent deviancy grew rapidly within those sectors of society that had no longer any sociological enforcement. STATISTICAL NEED AS MOTIVE AND JUSTIFIER FOR ACTION SALVATION ARMY LONDON CITY MISSION BERNADO’S HOMES




[9] 2 Source of Love, p. 45. Arthur Brinckman and E. B. Pusey, Notes and Questions on the Catholic Faith and Religion, the Notes and Answers Compiled Chiefly from the Works and in the Words of Dr. Pusey. (London: A. D. Innes & Co., 1891), 278.