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
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
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’ women. Ladies’ committees were standard… More Women of the Workhouse, Part 2: Ladies to the Rescue?
The lives of women have always been one of my primary research interests, so when my friends at Archif Menywod Cymru/Women’s Archive of Wales were asked to devise a Women’s History Walk in Swansea, I started thinking about who should be included. Mrs Corney wooed by Mr Bumble, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist There is no… More Women of the Workhouse, Part I – A suitable job for a woman?
The First World War was never far from my mind while researching pauper children in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century. Boys who were 8 or 9 years old in 1905 would be old enough to ‘join the colours’ when war broke out in 1914. My PhD research focussed on the period between 1834 and 1910. One of… More Local Heroes: Tears of a Historian