When General Charles Gordon lived at Gravesend in the 1860s, he turned himself into a child rescuer. This book contributes to understandings of both contemporary child welfare practices and the complex dynamics of empire. It analyses the construction and transmission of nineteenth-century British child rescue ideology. The book aims to explain the mentality which allowed the child removal policy to flourish. The disseminated publications by four influential English child rescue organisations: Dr. Barnardo's (DBH), the National Children's Homes (NCH), the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society (WSS) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), are discussed. The gospel of child rescue was a discursive creation, the impact of which would be felt for generations to come. The body of the child was placed within a familiar environment, rendered threatening by the new social, religious and moral meanings ascribed to it. Ontario's 1888 Children's Protection Act required local authorities to assume maintenance costs of wards and facilitated the use of foster care. Changing trends in publishing have created an opportunity for the survivors of out-of-home care to tell their stories. The book shows how the vulnerable body of the child at risk came to be reconstituted as central to the survival of nation, race and empire. The shocking testimony that official enquiries into the treatment of children in out-of-home 'care' held in Britain, Ireland, Australia and Canada imply that there was no guarantee that the rescued child would be protected from further harm.
child rescue organisations, founded in the
second half of the nineteenth century: Dr Barnardo’s ( DBH ), the National Children’s Homes ( NCH ), the Church of England Waifs and Strays
Society ( WSS ) and the NationalSocietyforthePreventionofCrueltytoChildren ( NSPCC ).
Rather than entering into the long-running debate as to whether they
were primarily humanitarian agencies or agents of social control, or
Children’, CA , VI: 65 (1885), 89–90.
Anne Allen and Arthur Morton, This is Your Child:
The Story of the NationalSocietyforthePreventionofCrueltytoChildren (London: Routledge and Kegan
Paul, 1961 ), p.
/neglect could be brought before the juvenile courts by
three separate bodies: the police; local authorities; and the NationalSocietyforthePreventionofCrueltytoChildren (NSPCC) or Royal
Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.9 The precise
relationship between these three bodies with regard to investigation,
prosecution and the initiation of civil proceedings was worked out locally.
In the early part of the century it is likely that the police were more than
happy to hand cases over to the NSPCC, particularly those that involved
the sexual assault of
A lack of concern about child-life, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) warned, could be the first indication of an empire sinking into decline. Child rescue, as an imperial endeavour, involved the transportation of ideas as well as children, establishing new norms for both the definition and the solution of the problems of child abuse and neglect across Britain and the colonies. Rescued children, in this discourse, were transformed from a liability to a resource. Race was deployed by advocates of emigration in both the sending and receiving countries. Maria Rye's shock points to the justification offered for child migration programmes: the contribution they made to the salvation of the race. The magazines of the child rescue organisations circulated across the empire, and subscription lists show a readiness of British settlers abroad to support the work at 'home'.
The Cruelty Man represents the first comprehensive account of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in Ireland, from its foundations in 1889, to the passing of responsibilities to the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) in 1956. In both Britain and Ireland, the NSPCC was at the forefront of the child protection movement, yet the history of the Society in Ireland has not been fully addressed. This book aims to fill this vacuum. It provides a study of the Society, while also utilising it as a vehicle to examine the treatment of poverty-stricken children and families by the State. More broadly, it contains a comprehensive history of child welfare from the introduction of the Poor Law in 1838 to the publication of the Kennedy Report in 1970. It addresses issues surrounding institutionalisation, welfare, family violence, compulsory education, child abuse and the role of charity in the provision of welfare. Based on research of the available records of the NSPCC archive, and court records, the text also explores changing concepts of childhood. It will appeal to both an academic and general audience, as it uses case studies of families investigated by the Society and the State. It will be essential to students of Irish social history, gender studies, social work and social policy. More generally it will interest those observing recent reports into child abuse in State institutions and in particular the history of Ireland’s industrial school system. The foreword by Vincent Browne also demonstrates its contemporary relevance.
were informed by
concerns about cruelty and suffering, the ideals of philanthropy, the assumptions of class
and the goal of improvement. Endeavours to prevent cruelty to animals, in personnel and
values, were linked to the campaigns against slavery and child labour. Yet, the Dogs’
Home was founded nearly a decade before the first Doctor Barnardo’s Home, and the
RSPCA was founded over half a century before the NationalSocietyforthePreventionofCrueltytoChildren.
appalled at the ill-treatment of dogs (and cats) on the streets of London and, in
the spirit of Victorian philanthropy, created a charitable institution to remedy the wrongs.
It is revealing of Victorian society that a dogs’ home was founded before the first
Barnardo’s home for children (1870) and the NationalSocietyforthePreventionofCrueltytoChildren (1884).
The Old Shepherd’s Chief Mourner , by Edwin
provision than their own home less necessary.1
This statement is taken from the first report of the first branch of the NationalSocietyforthePreventionofCrueltytoChildren (NSPCC) in Ireland. It is
apparent from the quote that the Society was primarily concerned with the
welfare of children in poverty, as were other SPCCs internationally. This
was, however, a difficult task as the effects of poverty cannot always be
addressed through punitive measures. How successful the Society was in
helping children and punishing parents will be addressed in