Thank you!

This is a very long list, especially because of the sheer length of time I have taken to revise my PhD thesis into this book. It actually started as my MA thesis, ‘Children who belong to the state’ in 2008, where I began my fascinating journey into the history of children, and in particular the … More Thank you!

Introduction:‘Children who belong to the state’

In 1838 the London and Westminster Review informed its readers that the New Poor Law had proved to be a very popular theme for ‘grievance’ songs. The lyrics to several broadside ballads were printed including The English Poor Law in Force which railed against the refusal of relief to a destitute family, and the self-explanatory … More Introduction:‘Children who belong to the state’

Victorian education for the blind: ‘cheer them in their affliction’?

Originally posted on Workhouse Tales:
Were blind children the ‘preferred figures of disability in the Victorian imagination’ as Martha Holmes argues? Depictions in art such as The Blind Girl by John Millais, 1856 (below) suggests that representations of blindness did generate widespread Victorian sentimentality and pity, which in turn led to the establishment of specialist institutions…

‘Likely to conduce to the happiness and advantage of the inmates’? – Victorian Education for Deaf Children.

Originally posted on Workhouse Tales:
‘Disability is everywhere in history, once you begin looking for it, but conspicuously absent from the histories we write’ observed Douglas Baynton in 2001. Of course, since then historians have begun to fill this lacuna and disability history has burgeoned, especially here at Swansea University. Baynton’s argument that disability is everywhere…

An ‘orphaned mite of blue-eyed, wondering humanity’: Adoption, sentiment, suspicion and the poor laws

Originally posted on Workhouse Tales:
In 1878, The Cambrian newspaper departed from its usual dry reporting of the meetings of Swansea’s Guardians of the Poor to publish an account of a ‘child adoption’, in which a female child was taken from the workhouse to be ‘adopted’ by a local woman. The only comparable entry in the guardians’…

Women of the Workhouse, Part 2: Ladies to the Rescue?

Originally posted on Workhouse Tales:
Most middle-class women of the Victorian and Edwardian period were neither ‘Angels in the House’ nor, as described by Lawrence Stone, ‘idle drones’. Civic participation was a class and gender expectation and middle-class women were involved in charitable work from the organisation of charity bazaars to the rescue of ‘fallen’…

Sexual abuse, silences and sources: Did the Victorians better protect their vulnerable children?

Originally posted on Workhouse Tales:
A recent news item on the Nature web site discussed a ‘severe publication bias’ in the Social Sciences: ‘When an experiment fails to produce an interesting effect, researchers often shelve the data and move on to another problem. But withholding null results skews the literature in a field, and is a…