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Welcome to the Voluntary Action History Society!

The Spring 2018 Series of Voluntary Action History Seminars begin in January 2018.

Seminars are held at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Our next seminar:

The First Charity Shops? Salvation Army and Red Cross stores (1890s-1910s)
By Marjorie Gehrhardt (University of Reading)

‘Charity shops have become a typical feature of UK high streets and they appeal to a wide audience, customers and volunteers alike. Despite their success, their history is little known. This paper examines the aims and workings of shops run by the Salvation Army and the British Red Cross at the turn of the century, in order to assess their role in the development of charity shops in the UK. It also sheds light on some of the tensions that arose between these retail ventures and other businesses. How did the deeply religious Salvation Army respond to criticisms levelled against the salaries paid to its employees, the quality and price of the goods it sold? And how did the British Red Cross justify devoting much-needed space and staff to running shops in the middle of a war that put unheard-of pressure on its resources? Through a close examination of the reasons why these organisations set up such shops, how these stores related to their parent charity and how contemporary observers responded to the existence of these shops, this paper will analyse the specificities of the Salvation Army’s and the British Red Cross’s retail ventures, and interrogate their similarities with ‘modern-day’ charity shops.’

At 6pm in IHR Seminar Room N304, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1E 7HU

For more upcoming events click here

Latest Blog Posts

Disabled Ex-Servicemen of the First World War and Christian Charity in Inter-War Britain by Bethany Rowley

Charity in the Georgian Era: Lessons for Today? by Andrew Rudd

If you have any voluntary action-related news or events you would like posted on the VAHS website, please email Louis Carserides at louis.carserides@outlook.com

For more blog posts, click here.

If you have any voluntary action-related news or events you would like posted on the VAHS website, please email Louis Carserides at louis.carserides@outlook.com

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