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Physical impairment in British coalmining, 1780–1880

This book sheds new light on the human cost of industrialisation by examining the lives and experiences of those disabled in an industry that was vital to Britain's economic growth. If disability has been largely absent from conventional histories of industrialisation, the Industrial Revolution has assumed great significance in disability studies. The book examines the economic and welfare responses to disease, injury and impairment among coal workers. It discusses experiences of disability within the context of social relations and the industrial politics of coalfield communities. The book provides the context for those that follow by providing an overview of the conditions of work in British coalmining between 1780 and 1880. It turns its attention to the principal causes of disablement in the nineteenth-century coal industry and the medical responses to them. The book then extends the discussion of responses to disability by examining the welfare provisions for miners with long-term restrictive health conditions. It also examines how miners and their families negotiated a 'mixed economy' of welfare, comprising family and community support, the Poor Law, and voluntary self-help as well as employer paternalism. The book shifts attention away from medicine and welfare towards the ways in which disability affected social relations within coalfield communities. Finally, it explores the place of disability in industrial politics and how fluctuating industrial relations affected the experiences of disabled people in the coalfields.

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Claire L. Jones

1 INTRODUCTION: MODERN PROSTHESES IN ANGLO-​A MERIC AN COMMODITY CULTURES Claire L. Jones Commodification in contemporary perspective The present-​day relationship between disability, technology and commerce in the developed world is hugely intricate. While the medical-​industrial complex develops ever more innovative forms of myoelectric limb prostheses, cochlear ear implants and other devices designed to alleviate physical impairment, market responses to these technologies and the views these responses embody are diverse. For some, prosthetic technologies

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
Prosthesis user-inventors and the market for assistive technologies in early nineteenth-century Britain
Laurel Daen

missteps, over the course of his lifetime Derenzy experienced the plight of many people with physical impairments during the period; unable to profitably labour, he and his family sustained a steady and continual descent into poverty. The publication of polite prostheses Derenzy devotes the majority of his Enchiridion to detailed descriptions and illustrations of twenty of his contraptions, which he collectively refers to as the ‘One-​Handed Apparatus’. Structured as if readers were embarking on a new day, Derenzy first introduces objects that facilitate what he terms

in Rethinking modern prostheses in Anglo-American commodity cultures, 1820–1939
A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.

Steven King

, which was half this number. Officials in Blockley were participating in a much wider early nineteenth-century upsurge in the importance of institutional sojourns for parochial responses to what Chapter 2 argues was a rising tide of ill-health. While the initial motivation for sending Lively to Liverpool is unclear, the reputation of the school would suggest that officials saw themselves as investing in the future of a child with a lifelong physical impairment as well as potentially controlling future welfare bills. The strategy ostensibly worked: Lively had returned

in Sickness, medical welfare and the English poor, 1750–1834
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Iain Hutchison
Martin Atherton
, and
Jaipreet Virdi

appliances created to aid recovery of hearing in the commercialisation of enabling accessories, this volume embraces hearing loss alongside essays that explore sight loss and mental and physical impairment. 34 The volume therefore concurs with the contemporary argument, advanced by Burch and Kafer, of ‘the need for deaf/disability alliances’. 35 To showcase these alliances, but also to demonstrate the diversity of experiences and approaches within a particular strand of

in Disability and the Victorians
Open Access (free)
The ‘pathology’ of childhood in late nineteenth-century London
Steven Taylor

the ‘unacceptable’, ‘unideal’ children, who lived with physical impairments and were understood to be incapable of ‘improving’ without charitable intervention. Later they were considered to be beyond help or, as Hendrick outlines, ‘threats’ to society. The failure of reformers to meet the needs of these youngsters meant they were subsequently constructed as ‘pathologically’ different from the norm. Two core issues sit at the heart of this chapter: firstly the nature of childhood in late nineteenth-century England, and, secondly, definitions and

in Progress and pathology
Victorian middle-class attitudes towards the healthcare of the working poor
Amy W. Farnbach Pearson

optimism. In Victorian Britain, members of the working classes were more vulnerable than those of the middle and upper classes to physical impairment through industrial accidents, and to diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza and typhus due to crowded living conditions and privation. 3 At the same time, their treatment in voluntary hospitals depended upon their adherence to middle-class standards of behaviour, including industriousness. As many individuals with long-term illness or

in Disability and the Victorians
David M. Turner
Daniel Blackie

antithesis of ideals of sober manliness.26 But at the same time, these stories show ways in which men whose livelihoods and status were threatened by impairment might fall back on the image of the tough, hard-drinking miner as a means of rejecting any associations between physical impairment and vulnerability or weakness. These were ‘disabled’ men determined to demonstrate their physical strength, whatever their impairment. They appear as not just getting into trouble, but positively inviting it, seeking opportunities to test their strength against able-bodied opponents

in Disability in the Industrial Revolution
Socio-cultural considerations of intellectual disability
Irina Metzler

. A prime example here is the (late) medieval practice in royal, noble or simply wealthy households, of keeping entertainers, commonly known as ‘fools’. People with all sorts of mental and physical impairments, not just the ‘natural’ fools, could sometimes – but neither always nor exclusively – find employment as entertainers in courtly circles. For example, during the years 1304–28 the accounts of countess Mahaut of Artois and Burgundy recorded the presence of a dwarf and a ‘fool’ of diminutive stature. 14 And according to the Marienburger Tresslerbuch , between

in Fools and idiots?