The NSPCC in Ireland, 1889–1921
in The cruelty man
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As with many historical examinations of Ireland from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, the study of the NSPCC as an organisation is a tale of two parts. In Chapter Two, the period 1889-1921 is addressed, focusing on the NSPCC’s foundation, expansion and increasing influences, and the Irish branches connections with the British Society. 1921 marked the transition to independence, which coincided with changes internationally in child protection work due to the effects of the First World War and shifting attitudes to childhood. The chapter begins by looking at the international emergence of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (SPCCs) from 1874. As will be shown, the expansion of the Society in Ireland was rapid, as was the support for the Society in parliament and in the press. By placing the foundation of the NSPCC in the context of earlier philanthropic and charitable work directed at children in Ireland, the Society’s interventionist and punitive approach is demonstrated. This chapter not only sets the scene for the establishment of the Society in Ireland and internationally, it provides a comparative dimension to the third chapter which looks at the Society in the Irish Free State after independence.

The cruelty man

Child welfare, the NSPCC and the State in Ireland, 1889–1956


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