The Unemployed and the Land
In the past, during times of high unemployment, schemes of public works were often developed. This was not only because of the mounting costs of relief, but also because it was considered in the interests of the unemployed to have work to do.
A hundred years ago ways of relieving unemployment were regarded as among the most urgent of political questions. The 1880s had seen a large rise in the numbers out of work and a growing militancy among trade unions and political organisations. There had been a number of mass demonstrations and confrontations between the police and the unemployed in London's West End, with rioting and window-smashing in Pall Mall, until hastily passed legislation prohibited crowds from gathering closer to the centres of power than Tower Hill.