To step back into the squalid ghettos of Dickens’ London is to enter a world unimaginably violent, stinking and hopeless. The vast wealth that poured into Victorian England from an ever-expanding empire added nothing to the utter poverty of a society where thousands were born, existed and died in the sprawling, lice-ridden slums. Tens of thousands of orphaned children lived on the streets by their wits. At the bottom of this tragic mass of humanity were the elderly and infirm. Shivering in the cold of an unheated attic room, with few possessions, little food, inadequate covering, and no one to care for them, thousands of elderly and infirm were the forgotten of society.
Three decades before Queen Victoria became Empress of a vast empire, and against the background of the morass of human poverty and misery in her London, one of the earliest evangelical charitable societies was born. More than two hundred years later, it still brings support and comfort to thousands of elderly Christian Pilgrims.
This is the story of the Pilgrims’ Friend Society.