Sociology Index

Peter Townsend

Among distinguished sociologists, Peter Townsend, currently Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bristol, and author of possibly one of the most extensive surveys in the twentieth-century, Poverty in the United Kingdom.

Born in Middlesbrough in 1928, Townsend has spent his career promoting social reform through the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Peter Townsend began his studies of poverty with Brian Abel-Smith in order to demonstrate the persistence of poverty in affluent, post-war Britain.

Townsend's Poverty in the United Kingdom has been described as a 'bible' for the poverty lobby (Donnison, 1979) but it has nonetheless had little effect in terms of reform, which would not greatly surprise Townsend but merely disappoint him.