Book Club

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Please note :  In September the Book Club timings will change  to be in line with other events in the shop – this is so that we don’t keep the staff too late after a long day.

So, as from Sept timings will be as follows:

  • Doors open 6.30 for 7PM start.
  • Finish time including allowing time for sales is 8.30. 
  • Staff will be clearing up from  8.30 and no more sales will be taken from 8.30 pm. (This allows 30 mins to close and tidy.)


To make this work it would be helpful if you could buy the next month’s book before the meeting rather than after.

The next meeting of the Book Club will be on Thurs Sept 13th when we will be talking about The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists  by Robert Tressell.

Doors open for refreshment at 6.30 pm and discussion starts at 7.00pm.

For introduction and discussion questions see below:


Introduction to The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists 

The book tells the story of a group of working men who are joined one day by Owen, a journeyman-prophet with a vision of a just society. Owen's spirited attacks on the greed and dishonesty of the capitalist system rouse his fellow men from their political quietism. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is both a masterpiece of wit and political passion and one of the most authentic novels of English working class life ever written.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas was he trying to get across?
  2. Which characters in the book did you find the most convincing? Do they have modern day counterparts?
  3. Were there any quotes in the book which stood out for you? Which?
  4. Did you find Tressell’s style too didactic? Or were you persuaded by the strength of his narrative?
  5. What did you think about the way poverty was portrayed? How far have things changed in our present day?
  6. What other aspects of the story might still hold true today? Eg attitudes to women, social awareness?
  7. Did the book’s pace seem too fast/too slow/just right?
  8. What did you already know about the book’s subject before you read this book? What new things did you learn?
  9. Why do you think the book was so long? What could have been left out? Or was its length necessary?
  10. What did you like best about the book? And least? Why do you think this book has become a classic?

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