The Ragged Trousered Philathropists

Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Jan 2002

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a classic novel of humour and sharply observed characterisation,. It is also the first truly imaginative portrayal of life written from a working-class perspective, and is an important early-twentieth-century a passionate defence of socialist ideals.


The story of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists follows a year in the life of a group of painters and decorators, and is set in the town of Mugsborough at the turn of the century. Haunted by fears of unemployment, the men struggle to keep their jobs at any cost. But, in the course of events, and faced with the cruelty and corruption of the establishment, some of the men begin to realise that their condition of miserable poverty is neither ‘natural’ nor ‘just’.

Recently voted ‘most influential book’ in a survey of Labour MPs in the New Statesman

‘One of the most extraordinary revelations that has been made in the guise of fiction’

Daily Telegraph