1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Booth, Charles

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BOOTH, CHARLES (1840- ), English sociologist, was born at Liverpool on the 30th of March 1840. In 1862 he became a partner in Alfred Booth & Company, a Liverpool firm engaged in the Brazil trade, and subsequently chairman of the Booth Steamship Company. He devoted much time, and no inconsiderable sums of money, to inquiries into the statistical aspects of social questions. The results of these are chiefly embodied in a work entitled Life and Labour of the People in London (1891-1903), of which the earlier portion appeared under the title of Life and Labour in 1889. The book is designed to show “the numerical relation which poverty, misery and depravity bear to regular earnings and comparative comfort, and to describe the general conditions under which each class lives.” It contains a most striking series of maps, in which the varying degrees of poverty are represented street by street, by shades of colour. The data for the work were derived in part from the detailed records kept by school-board “visitors,” partly from systematic inquiries directed by Mr Booth himself, supplemented by information derived from relieving officers and the Charity Organization Society. Mr Booth also paid much attention to a kindred subject-the lot of the aged poor In 1894 he published a volume of statistics on the subject, and, in 1891 and 1899, works on Old-age pensions, his scheme for the latter depending on a general provision of pensions of five shillings a week to all aged persons, irrespective of the cost to the state. He married, in 1871, the daughter of Charles Zachary Macaulay. In 1904 he was made a privy councillor.