This chapter begins with a brief examination of Edwardian thought about young and poor people, who were seen as a threat to national competitiveness and prestige. For decades up to the turn of the twentieth century, there had been growing disquiet about Britain’s industrial decline relative to the other Great Powers. George Orwell seems to have maintained two very different, even contradictory versions of his own childhood. On one hand, he idealised the world he grew up in and maintained an inviolable link between it and his later, politically radical self. On the other, he thought his outlook as a child was completely different from his outlook as an adult. At least from the beginning of the Second World War, Orwell was obsessed with the idea of personal authenticity – of staying true to one’s beliefs in a falsified world.