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?

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

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?

Victorian Adventures and Terrible Tales: The Illustrated Police News

To celebrate my first Twitter anniversary on 18 December 2013, I thought I’d present a Christmas Compilation of some of the amazing drawings from the Illustrated Police News that I have tweeted over the past week or so. Since October, I have been teaching a third year history module at Swansea University called Digital Detectives. We have … More Victorian Adventures and Terrible Tales: The Illustrated Police News

‘Altogether a right merrie day’? Christmas in the Workhouse

While it’s true that Charles Dickens and Prince Albert did not invent the Victorian Christmas, they did influence the Victorian imagining of Christmas considerably. Were workhouse inmates and other recipients  of poor relief allowed to participate in Dickensian festivity over Christmas or was it more a case of Bah Humbug? In the years following the 1834 Poor … More ‘Altogether a right merrie day’? Christmas in the Workhouse

Rescued Lives? ‘Fallen women’ and their ‘rescuers’ in Victorian Society

Prostitution was identified as the ‘Great Social Evil’ in Victorian society and women defined as prostitutes were perceived with both revulsion and pity. The image of the prostitute as a powerless, and therefore forgivable character justified interventions of reform and encouraged the establishment in 1758 of the first rescue home for ‘fallen women’, the Magdalen … More Rescued Lives? ‘Fallen women’ and their ‘rescuers’ in Victorian Society