Donnacha Seán Lucey

5 From workhouses to hospitals This chapter examines the role of the poor law in the delivery of healthcare and particularly hospital provision. It outlines how medical relief had become one of the primary functions of Irish workhouses by 1920. Furthermore, it explores attempts made during the early years of the Irish Free State to fully separate medical assistance from poor relief through case studies of Cork city and county Kerry. The relationship between local authority healthcare and the more prestigious voluntary sector is also examined. This chapter also

in The end of the Irish Poor Law?
Maternal crimes and illegitimacy
Ginger S. Frost

2 ‘The workhouse or death’: maternal crimes and illegitimacy In the 1920s, Dorothy Thain wrote to Lady Astor about her frustration with the position of a poor unwed mother, complaining, ‘for the working woman there is only the workhouse or death, and when her trouble is over there is always the awful shame to endure’.1 Thain represented the feelings of many women who became pregnant out of wedlock. Victorians expected women to uphold sexual purity; a woman’s character depended on chastity. A  baby born out of wedlock advertised sexual incontinence to the world

in Illegitimacy in English law and society,1860–1930
Catherine Cox

6 Workhouses and the mentally ill In July 1868, Terence B., a thirty-one-year-old married labourer from the Courtown estate in Gorey, county Wexford was discharged from Enniscorthy asylum. He had been admitted as a dangerous lunatic to Carlow asylum in December 1849 and when a new institution was opened in Enniscorthy town in 1868, Terence was transferred. He did not remain there long. In August 1868, the Enniscorthy governors decided that Terence was no longer dangerous and tried to discharge him. They discovered he had no surviving relatives living in the

in Negotiating insanity in the southeast of Ireland, 1820–1900
Or, the making of the poor as biological subjects
Carl J. Griffin

bodily calculation in Davies’ and Eden’s budgets. They, of course, were humanely motivated by their personal experience of administering poverty to improve the condition of the poor rather than attempting to work out what the minimum labouring families need to get by. Likewise there is a suggestion of calculation in Knatchbull’s Act. The ‘workhouse test’ of less eligibility – that

in The politics of hunger
Protest, poverty and policy in England, c. 1750–c. 1850
Author: Carl J. Griffin

In the age of Malthus and the workhouse when the threat of famine and absolute biological want had supposedly been lifted from the peoples of England, hunger remained a potent political force – and problem. Yet hunger has been marginalised as an object of study by scholars of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century England: studies are either framed through famine or left to historians of early modern England. The politics of hunger represents the first systematic attempt to think through the ways in which hunger persisted as something both feared and felt, as vital to public policy innovations, and as central to the emergence of new techniques of governing and disciplining populations. Beyond analysing the languages of hunger that informed food riots, other popular protests and popular politics, the study goes on to consider how hunger was made and measured in Speenhamland-style ‘hunger’ payments and workhouse dietaries, and used in the making and disciplining of the poor as racial subjects. Conceptually rich yet empirically grounded, the study draws together work on popular protest, popular politics, the old and new poor laws, Malthus and theories of population, race, biopolitics and the colonial making of famine, as well as reframing debates in social and economic history, historical geography and famine studies more generally. Complex and yet written in an accessible style, The politics of hunger will be relevant to anyone with an interest in the histories of protest, poverty and policy: specialists, students and general readers alike.

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Poor law practice in England, 1780– 1850

Pauper Policies examines how policies under both old and New Poor Laws were conceived, adopted, implemented, developed or abandoned. The author engages with recent literature on the experience and agency of poor relief recipients, and offers a fresh perspective on poor law administration. Through a ‘policy process’ approach, the author exposes several significant topics in poor law history which are currently unknown or poorly understood, each of which are explored in a series of thematic chapters. It contains important new research on the adoption and implementation of enabling acts at the end of the old poor laws, Gilbert’s Act of 1782 and Sturges Bourne’s Acts of 1818 and 1819; the exchange of knowledge about how best to provide poor relief in the final decades of the old poor law and formative decades of the New; and the impact of national scandals on policy-making in the new Victorian system. The volume points towards a new direction in the study of poor law administration, one which examines how people, both those in positions of power and the poor, could shape pauper policies. It is essential reading for anyone with an interest in welfare, poverty and society in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England, as well as those who want to understand the early workings of the welfare system.

Steven King

individuals out of their domestic context.8 For some this meant residence in the workhouse or long-term boarding arrangements. Others, like Harris, ended up rather further removed from their communities, committed to private madhouses (often around London) or sent to public or charitable lunatic asylums from the 1820s.9 Indeed, it has been argued that over time more parishes accepted that institutions were ‘the best, if expensive, solution to the problem of lunatics’.10 Asylums were just one element of a patchwork of institutional provision that parochial officials

in Sickness, medical welfare and the English poor, 1750–1834
Welfare and healthcare reform in revolutionary and independent Ireland

This book explores welfare provision in Ireland from the revolutionary period to the 1940s, This work is a significant addition to the growing historiography of twentieth-century Ireland which moves beyond political history. It demonstrates that concepts of respectability, deservingness, and social class where central dynamics in Irish society and welfare practices. This book provides the first major study of local welfare practices, policies, and attitudes towards poverty and the poor in this era.

This book’s exploration of the poor law during revolutionary and independent Ireland provides fresh and original insights into this critical juncture in Irish history. It charts the transformation of the former workhouse system into a network of local authority welfare and healthcare institutions including county homes, county and hospital hospitals, and mother and baby homes. This book provides historical context to current day debates and controversies relating to the institutionalisation of unwed mothers and child welfare policies.

This book undertakes two cases studies on county Kerry and Cork city; also, Irish experiences are placed against the backdrop of wider transnational trends.

This work has multiple audiences and will appeal to those interested in Irish social, culture, economic and political history. This book will also appeal to historians of welfare, the poor law, and the social history of medicine. It also informs modern-day social affairs.

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Workhouses for the vulnerable
Samantha A. Shave

 56 2 Gilbert’s Act: workhouses for the vulnerable Who shall separate us Goodwill towards men1 The inscriptions from the two Sussex workhouse seals above clearly illustrate the central purpose of Gilbert’s Act –​to allow a group of parishes to band together to create a kinder, more humanitarian workhouse compared to their forerunners. The creation and passage of the Act, however, was not a clear-​cut exercise and the results were not as far-​reaching as Gilbert himself might have wanted. Thomas Gilbert was first elected as a Member of Parliament for Newcastle

in Pauper policies
Popular entitlement and the New Poor Law
Peter Gurney

impact the New Poor Law workhouse had on the lives of the poor, and it is now widely accepted that not all institutions were as bad as contemporary critics such as Charles Dickens frequently imagined. Thus, many historians have cautioned against writing the early history of the New Poor Law in terms of the many scandals that blew up, as such an approach sidelines majority practice.2 While much of this revisionism has been valuable, it has tended to underplay the overall significance of the Act, particularly for poor consumers. Notwithstanding local particularities

in Wanting and having