IMPORTANT PEABODY TRUST ARCHIVE An important and informative archive consisting of annual reports of the trustees of the Peabody Donation Fund in London, England. Mr.Peabody was a noted American Philanthropist who, upon his death, set up a trust dedicated to providing affordable, clean and safe housing for London's lower classes. Unlike the squalid tenements found throughout much of London, these residences were to be relatively spacious,hygienic, and affordable. This effort proved to be a resounding success, as can be seen by the fifteen annual reports of the trustees offered here. To insure the proper use of its funds, Peabody had willed that the directors of the trust file annual reports of its activities. Accordingly, The reports start with the first annual report in 1866 and continue without interruption until the fifteenth report in 1879. At first, the reports were very simple, but as the years went by, the annual reports became ar more detailed. Also, the purpose of the fund seems to shift toward providing housing for the working lower to lower middle classes, who could pay enough rent to help subsidize the program, instead of the city's abject poor.
The reports provide a wealth of information about the housing situation and social structure of Victorian London. Each year the rental rates are provided for each of the apartments by size of the unit and by its location. Further, in 1868 and then annually beginning in 1877, the Committee also provided tables showing the Occupations of their tenants. These tables clearly show the increasing economic betterment of the buildings tenants over time. In 1868 the 1971 workers housed by the foundation were largely composed of laborers, porters, and other less skilled jobs, with a smattering of more skillled workers ( including 17 policemen and 2 recruiting Sergeants) rounding out the total. In 1879, however, the demographic composition of the tenants had changed dramatically for the better. The number of laborers had declined by almost 100 from the previous year, and the residents now included more skilled professions such as nurses, shopmen and storekeepers, tailors, and even 133 Police Constables ( but no regular policemen). Taken together, the fifteen consecutive reports provide an unusually complete record of the Fund's activities while providing us with a clear cross section of the occupations and wages of London's working poor at the time of Queen Victoria, the fictional Sherlock Holmes and the all too real "Jack the Ripper". Except for some clean fold splitting in a few pieces condition of this comprehensive archive is excellent.
Item ID: 1317