Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Round About a Pound a Week

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4598 (Published 20 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4598
  1. Frances Wedgwood, general practitioner, Lambeth
  1. frances.wedgwood{at}nhs.net

In 1909, Maud Pember Reeves and her colleagues in the Fabian Women’s Group started something extraordinary. Every week for four years these middle class women left the comforts of their Kensington homes and travelled to Lambeth Walk in south London. Their destinations were 42 households of poor, respectable, working class families, all of whom were living on round about a pound a week. Conceived as a sort of Edwardian Sure Start, the women recruited expectant mothers and gave them and their babies extra food.

The breathtaking aspect of their work was not their intervention but the data they captured in …

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