By Judith Attar
Beveridge arrived at Toynbee Hall in 1903 at the age of 24. He was a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford and came to Whitechapel to study ‘the causes and consequences’ of poverty at first-hand. During his time here he grappled with the problem of unemployment. He became a member of the Central (Unemployed) Body for London (CUB), which was set up to match unemployed men to work. Beveridge had the unenviable task of deciding which men to help and which to turn away.
Whilst at Toynbee Hall he made influential contacts. He worked alongside men like George Lansbury and Ramsay Macdonald, both future Labour leaders. He also witnessed close up the evils of poverty or ‘Want’, one of the ‘five giants’ that he tackled in his seminal report. To find out more about William Beveridge and his pioneering social insurance scheme read the full booklet here.