lIn December 2016, I will submit the manuscript of my first book to my publisher. It is not finished, I still have bits and bobs of research to complete; a trip to Liverpool to the Royal Liverpool School for the Blind and to the Nazareth House Archives in Hammersmith. I dare say some other ‘vital’… More Pauper Children: Poor Law Childhoods in England and Wales 1834-1910
Workhouse Tales is a series of funny, touching, sad and riotous vignettes based on workhouse and poor law life and lives in 19th and 20th century Britain. I am a historian of medicine and lecturer in the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University and my research interests include histories of disability, children, gender and sexualities,… More About Workhouse Tales and Lesley Hulonce
Chapter One: The Workhouse Early one morning in 1840s Staffordshire a family left their food-less home and walked a roundabout way, so as to avoid being seen, to Chell Workhouse in Stoke-on-Trent. Arriving at the ‘bastile’ they were assaulted by the sounds of doors banging, keys rattling, and the ‘metallic’ voices of workhouse staff who… More ‘That miserable hole’? The Workhouse
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about health recently. Looking at the wonderful People’s History of the NHS website http://peopleshistorynhs.org and researching for my undergraduate modules in the college of hub and health sciences. My second year module is called care cure and control so I thought I’d link that to this post about… More Workhouse Medicine: Care, Cure and Control
Christmas is a time when local, national and global charities boost their fundraising campaigns which are often targeted at helping the young, the elderly and the homeless during the festive season. Victorian women who were lucky enough to have leisure time very often filled it with what has been patronisingly referred to as ‘good works’.… More Come to the Rescue, Fair Ladies!
War generates change (both perceived and real) in sexual conduct, and at the beginning of the First World War, young women were accused of being carried away by ‘Khaki Fever’ which in turn drove campaigns to curb the behaviour of young, mainly working-class, women. Similarly, fears that soldiers and sailors would be in danger of… More A ‘Hotbed of Immorality’? World War One and Sexual Panic
Newspaper headlines moralising about binge-drinking ‘ladette’ culture and alcohol-fuelled crime are hardly a recent phenomenon. I was reminded recently of my own half-forgotten research about Victorian drunkenness by Nell Darby’s excellent blog post concerning the newspaper reporting of the 400 arrests of Annie Parker in mid nineteenth-century London. This empathetic account of a ‘notorious’ woman… More Drunk and Riotous: troubled and troublesome inebriate women
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 particular worry for clinical medicine… More Sexual abuse, silences and sources: Did the Victorians better protect their vulnerable children?
The spectacle of the Commonwealth Games has reminded me of how the Coronation of King Edward in 1902 was celebrated by the management and inmates of Swansea Workhouse. A Coronation Celebrations Committee had been established several week prior to the event to plan decorations, food and celebratory events. There was to be a special dinner for the inmates,… More The Workhouse Games – Sport and Celebration
As I wrote last Christmas, workhouse children were often treated to presents and outings over the festive period. This was not the only holiday celebrated by pauper children as the regular outings on Whit Monday (or spring bank holiday) show. Whitsun was traditionally a time for new clothes and trips and Whit Monday saw Swansea’s… More High days and holidays for the workhouse child