Original notes and documents from the 'Poverty in UK' study

Below you can access a variety of documents relating to the 1968/69 'Poverty in the UK' research survey and for a detailed study of large families that was part of this overall project.  The documents also cover material produced for Peter Townsend's book of the survey, Poverty in the UK (1979). They cover research notes, survey design, correspondence, letters and chapter drafts for the Townsend book.

These documents provide an insight into the thinking that lay behind the study, the refinement of the research process as the study progressed, and the discussions - and, at times, disagreements - that surrounded it.

An example of Townsend's original notes for his 'Poverty in the UK' book

Townsend notes for chapter 11 on deprivation

The full version of these draft notes, 'Chapter 11 outline -objective and subjective deprivation', can be found in the zipped folder 'PinUK book - Objective and subjective deprivation' .

Comments on Townsend's paper on older workers

From Frank Parkin, Univeristy of Kent, August 1971

Comments from Frank Parkin, University of Kent

The original letter, 'Correspondence Frank Parkin', can be found in the zipped folder 'PinUK book - Older Workers' .
From Tony Atkinson, University of Essex

Tony Atkinson comments on older workers

The original letter, 'Correspondence Tony Atkinson', can be found in the zipped folder 'PinUk book - Older Workers' .

Organisation of the documents into folders

The pdfs of the original documents are contained in zipped files which group together related documents. The list of zipped files is set out below and a full description of which papers and documents are covered in each zipped file can be found in the document called 'Allocation of original Townsend documents to folders' which can be downloaded here. The zipped files can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. You can download Townsend's book, Poverty in the UK, here.

The 'Poverty in the UK' survey documents

These documents cover:

  • PinUK survey - sampling method
  • PinUK survey - correpsondence on sampling
  • PinUK survey - questionnaire
  • PinUK survey - fieldwork notes
  • PinUK suvey - project management

The Townsend 'Poverty in the UK' book documents

The materials relating to the subject areas covered by the survey have been organised to reflect the chapters of the Townsend book.  Some of the folders include drafts of the chapters. Not all of the subject areas covered in chapters of the book have documents associated with them.

  • PinUK book - Definitions
  • PinUK book - Theories of poverty
  • PinUK book - Inequality, poverty and health
  • PinUK book - Concept of resources
  • PinUK book - Objective and subjective deprivation
  • PinUK book - Problems of poor areas
  • PinUK book - Characteristics of the poor
  • PinUK book - Unemployment and sub-employed
  • PinUK book - The low paid
  • PinUK book - Older workers
  • PinUK book - sickness and poverty
  • PinUK book - One parent families
  • PinUk book - 'Old people'
  • PinUK book - Supplementary benefits
  • PinUK book - Mean tested benefits

Disability documents

There are a large number of documents around disability which are more extensive than the materials used in the Townsend book chapters on disability and disabled children (chapters 20 and 21).  Peter Townsend took a particular interest in disability and contributed to numerous reports.

  • Disability - Correspondence
  • Disability - Calculations
  • Disability - Definitions and notes
  • Disability - statistics and numbers
  • Disability - unused calculations
  • Disability: press arctilces
  • Disability - other articles
  • Disabled children

The Large Families’ study 

You will also find documents produced for the Large Families study, which was a separate research project undertaken by Hilary Land.

  • Large families study - overview and sample
  • Large families study - interviewees
  • Large families study - reports and arctilce
  • Large families srudy - correspondence on report
  • Large families study - reaction
  • Large families study - follow up study of school children

The allocation of these documents to these folders has been made around 45 years after the documents were originally produced. Any organisation of the documents at the time had long since gone. Some of the documents could have been allocated to different folders, so it is worth checking folders relating to similar topics. And some of the documents may have been misallocated. 

There were some documents for which it was not clear what they referred to. They are in a filed named:

  • Unallocated

These materials are provided under Creative Commons License. Please credit the Townsend archive for any extracts used.

We would like to thank Hilary Land for the Large Families materials.


Attachment Size
Allocation-of-original-Townsend-documents-to-folders.pdf 55.78 Kb
Disability-calculations.zip 4.2M
Disability-correspondence.zip 3.7M
Disability-defintions-and-notes.zip 2.2M
Disability-other-articles.zip 3.3M
Disability-press-articles.zip 5.0M
Disability-statistics-and-numbers.zip 3.0M
Disabled-children.zip 3.5M
Disablilty-unused-calculations.zip 1.2M
Large-families-study-correspondence-on-report.zip 3.6M
Large-families-study-follow-up-study-of-school-children.zip 8.3M
Large-families-study-interviewees.zip 13M
Large-families-study-overview-and-sample.zip 5.1M
Large-families-study-reaction.zip 3.7M
Large-families-survey-reports-and-articles.zip 4.1M
PinUK-Survey-correspondence-on-sampling.zip 3.9M
PinUK-Survey-fieldwork-notes.zip 11M
PinUK-Survey-project-management.zip 5.7M
PinUK-Survey-questionnaire.zip 2.7M
PinUK-Survey-sampling-method.zip 26M
PinUK-book-Characteristics-of-the-poor.zip 8.3M
PinUK-book-Concept-of-resources.zip 13M
PinUK-book-Definitions.zip 901K
PinUK-book-Inequality-poverty-and-health.zip 16M
PinUK-book-Means-tested-benefits.zip 13M
PinUK-book-Objective-and-subjective-deprivation.zip 18M
PinUK-book-Older-workers.zip 4.6M
PinUK-book-One-parent-families.zip 11M
PinUK-book-Problems-of-poor-areas.zip 13M
PinUK-book-Sickness-and-poverty.zip 2.5M
PinUK-book-Supplementary-benefit.zip 6.0M
PinUK-book-The-low-paid.zip 16M
PinUK-book-Theories-of-poverty.zip 432K
PinUK-book-Unemployed-and-subemployed.zip 10M
PinUK-book-old-people.zip 4.6M
Unallocated-files.zip 504K


Publication date: 
Oct 5 2016