|About the Book|
George Orwell is a well loved English author, who is respected for his honesty, integrity, plain yet eloquent use of the English language and his dedication to exposing injustice and dishonesty. Yet there is one town in the North of England where the name George Orwell is less likely to receive such a warm response, that town is Wigan. 76 Years ago Orwell set off for the North of England to record his account of the dire problems of poverty, the hopelessness of unemployment and the horrors of slum life. The effect of the book was profound, contributing to a growing popular campaign to end the worst excesses of poverty and the clearance of slum housing. However it left a lasting legacy and stigma of poverty on the town of Wigan. Popular opinion among the residents of Wigan was that Orwell had chosen to dwell relentlessly on the negative, failing to record positive aspects of working class life, such as leisure pursuits. His brother-in-law, a Yorkshireman could not understand how Orwell spent three months in the North, reporting on the working classes, yet had not been to see a football match. The purpose of this study is to examine the first part of The Road to Wigan Pier and assess its accuracy as an account of working class life in the Distressed Areas during the 1930s. The second part of the book will not be considered, as it is a semi-autobiographical account of Orwells views on socialism, and their application to the problems of poverty.