The term "Distressed Gentlefolk" appears in this album title by British band The Jazz Butcher. I was sorting out some titles and thoughts one night and this one revealed itself in two ways. First, no one had registered the "dot com" title. Second, it referred to an actual effort in Great Britain to care for the poor.
Taking these two ideas to create a website and blog about poverty has resulted in what you have right now.
Elizabeth FinnElizabeth Finn's life spanned nearly the same decades as Queen Victoria. When she founded the DGAA, Britain was the richest country on earth. The newly emerging middle classes increased in number and prospered distinguished by devotion to duty, education and success in the services, in business and the professions.However, the end of the 19th century saw a particularly severe economic recession. Victorian society, like generations before, was used to poverty and want. Charitable societies for abandoned children and for fallen women sprang up alongside movements for women's rights and for enlightened legislation on working conditions and education. No one, however, was prepared for 'distressed gentlefolk'. With no welfare state there was nowhere to turn for those (many from an educated or services background) who had fallen into dire poverty because they were too old or too ill to work.Elizabeth Finn, at the age of 72, decided that something had to be done for the silent suffering of people in this part of society. Elizabeth founded the Distressed Gentlefolk's Aid Association in 1897 with the help of friends and her daughter Constance, the Association's first and very able secretary.
The roots of her caring ethos started early in Elizabeth's life. She was born in Warsaw in 1825 where her father, the Reverend Alexander McCaul was a missionary. The young Elizabeth grew up with a clear vision of a world in which privilege and responsibility go hand-in-hand. Her parents chose to do what they could about the appalling social conditions they encountered in their missionary work. They taught their children to do the same. Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, helped raise her brothers and sisters, undertook schooling the younger ones and helped her parents in their charitable work.