Quotations from Joseph Rowntree

Social Problems

 “I feel that much of the current philanthropic effort is directed to remedying the more superficial manifestations of weakness or evil, while little thought or effort is directed to search out their underlying causes. Obvious distress or evil generally evokes so much feeling that the necessary agencies for alleviating it are pretty adequately supported.
For example, it is much easier to obtain funds for the famine-stricken people in India than to originate and carry through a searching enquiry into the causes and recurrence of these famines.”
“The Soup Kitchen in York never has difficulty in obtaining adequate financial aid, but and enquiry into the extent and causes of poverty would enlist little support…”


Why might Joseph Rowntree’s ideas about enquiring into the causes of social problems upset some people?


Approach to Helping

“In connection with Religious, Political and Social work, it is to be remembered that there may be no better way of advancing the objects one has at heart than to strengthen the hands of those who are effectively doing the work that needs to be done. Not unfrequently one hears of persons doing excellent work whose service is cramped, or who are in danger of breaking down through anxiety about the means of living. It would be quite in accordance with my wish that cases of this kind be assisted….”



What does this quote tell us about Joseph Rowntree’s approach to helping?



“Temperance” reminiscences written down by Joseph Rowntree for his grandchildren, 1914. These are extracts from the reminiscences. (An abstainer, in this context, is someone who does not drink alcohol.)

quotations1 quotations2


Who and what influenced Joseph Rowntree’s ideas about temperance? How important did he believe leading by example to be?