About Workhouse Tales and Lesley Hulonce

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

A ‘Hotbed of Immorality’? World War One and Sexual Panic

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

Drunk and Riotous: troubled and troublesome inebriate women

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

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

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 Workhouse Games – Sport and Celebration

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

High days and holidays for the workhouse child

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

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

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?

Women of the Workhouse, Part I – A suitable job for a woman?

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?