In 1913, the Secretary of the Charity Organisation Society, Charles Stewart Loch, wrote that the social legislation enacted since the beginning of the century ‘indicates very clearly that the spirit of enterprise in social matters [has] passed from the people to the state’, and that the introduction of national health insurance, in particular, was the ‘death warrant’ of the friendly societies.1 However, as many historians have pointed out, this was not necessarily the case, and the history of the interwar period demonstrates that the growth of state welfare provision did not necessarily imply the eradication of the voluntary sector. The aim of this chapter is to explain some of the reasons for this, beginning with the history of charitable and philanthropic activity during the First World War.
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