The treatment and education of children in the poor law institutions of Worcestershire 1834-1871

Crompton, Francis Graham (1988). The treatment and education of children in the poor law institutions of Worcestershire 1834-1871. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This study related to the way the New Poor Law was administered with regard to inmate children in the County of Worcester between 1834 and 1871. It dealt with the influence of Old Poor Law practices on the New Poor Law and examined the treatment, training and education offered in workhouses, together with the employment obtained by "long stay" workhouse children on leaving such institutions. It demonstrated the effectiveness of the treatment obtained in attaining the prime objective of avoiding lifelong pauperism. However, an attempt was made to equate this advantage with the obvious disadvantages of institutionalisation and the associated losses of freedom implied. The impact of the workhouse, a "total institution"(as defined by Goffman (1968)) on the child inmates and those employed to care for them was considered. Treatment was tightly controlled by a set of Rules and Regulations based on the utilitarian principles of "National Uniformity and "Less Eligibility", although these constraining principles was not adhered to after about 1836 in the case of child inmates. Boards of Guardians' Minute Books were rigorously used to establish local practices, which were then related to national policy, so that differences between rural and urban unions became apparent. The earlier studies by Ross (1955) and others had examined national Poor Law policy by using Central Poor Law Authority papers as their starting point. The findings for Worcestershire proved most congruent with those of Digby (1976 and 1978) who significantly had used similar sources in her study of Norfolk. The findings for Worcestershire Unions supported Himmelfarb's ideas (1984) by illustrating the changed attitude towards poverty and hence its changing definition between 1834 and 1871.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Education
School or Department: Faculty of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare


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