Poverty, Welfare and the Family in C18th and 19th Britain

A special issue of Genealogy (ISSN 2313-5778).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2019) | Viewed by 9533

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of History, Philosophy and Culture, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
Interests: history of illegitimacy, child health and childhood

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Guest Editor
Department of History, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Interests: courtship and marriage 1700-present; infant mortality; disease patterns; disability; welfare state (any aspect); history of medicine; old age; death

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue brings together current work on poverty, welfare and the family in C18th and 19th Britain. More than this, it aims to draw together several disparate themes which have the potential to shape the historiography in new directions. In particular, we are interested in commonalities and differences across the British Isles, in personalities and places in relation to welfare regimes, and in new sources and methods which can offer new insights for historian and genealogists alike.

Dr. Alysa Levene
Prof. Dr. Steven King
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 215 KiB  
Article
Household Living Arrangements and Old Age Pauperism in Late-Victorian England
by Tom Heritage, Andrew Hinde and David Clifford
Genealogy 2020, 4(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4020055 - 5 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2497
Abstract
The fortunes of older people in late nineteenth-century England varied considerably. At the two extremes were a comfortable retirement and complete reliance on the New Poor Law, but most older people got by on some combination of part-time work, familial support, and transfer [...] Read more.
The fortunes of older people in late nineteenth-century England varied considerably. At the two extremes were a comfortable retirement and complete reliance on the New Poor Law, but most older people got by on some combination of part-time work, familial support, and transfer payments from the New Poor Law. This paper considers the extent to which access to resources during working age affected the risk of becoming pauperised (that is, dependent on transfer payments from the New Poor Law) in old age. We hypothesised that access to resources was an important determinant of old age pauperisation and that such access was associated with household living arrangements in earlier life. The analysis was conducted at both aggregate and individual levels and was based on a sample of small areas in England. We linked census data to New Poor Law records to assess the extent to which individuals relied on payments from the New Poor Law in their old age. We distinguished between those who, in their old age, received transfer payments while living in their own homes and those who were institutionalised through admission to the workhouse. The main finding is that people who, in earlier adult life, lived in households containing extended family members were less likely to have recourse to the New Poor Law in their old age than those who, in earlier adult life, lived with only their spouse and offspring. The results also support previous work that has found that females were more likely than males to be supported by the New Poor Law, but that males were more likely than females to enter workhouses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poverty, Welfare and the Family in C18th and 19th Britain)
21 pages, 1819 KiB  
Article
Bastardy in Butleigh: Illegitimacy, Genealogies and the Old Poor Law in Somerset, 1762–1834
by Henry French
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010013 - 22 Jan 2020
Viewed by 4145
Abstract
Early academic histories of non-marital motherhood often focused on the minority of mothers who had several illegitimate children. Peter Laslett coined the phrase ‘the bastardy prone sub-society’ to describe them. More recent qualitative research has questioned the gendered perspectives underlying this label, and [...] Read more.
Early academic histories of non-marital motherhood often focused on the minority of mothers who had several illegitimate children. Peter Laslett coined the phrase ‘the bastardy prone sub-society’ to describe them. More recent qualitative research has questioned the gendered perspectives underlying this label, and emphasised the complex, highly personal processes behind illegitimacy. By locating the social experience of illegitimacy, particularly multiple illegitimacy, within a broader genealogical and parochial context, this study tries to set the behaviour of particular individuals within a ‘community’ context in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It places illegitimacy alongside pre-nuptial pregnancy within the sample parish, but also focuses on the majority of illegitimate births that fell under the administration of the parish and became ‘bastardy’ cases. It examines the parish’s administrative responses, particularly its vigour in identifying and recovering money from putative fathers, and discusses the social circumstances of these fathers and mothers. It then goes on to reconstruct the inter-generational genealogy of a dense family network that linked several mothers and fathers of multiple illegitimate children. It highlights some significant and recurrent disparities of age and status within these family concentrations which lay beyond the limits of the courtship-centred model of illegitimacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poverty, Welfare and the Family in C18th and 19th Britain)
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11 pages, 219 KiB  
Article
The Power of Personality in the Operation of the New Poor Law
by Karen Rothery
Genealogy 2020, 4(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy4010011 - 20 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2465
Abstract
For many years, historians focused on the institutional aspects of the poor laws and the power vested in the central authorities; more recently, the experience of the poor themselves has been at the heart of academic study. This article looks at a third [...] Read more.
For many years, historians focused on the institutional aspects of the poor laws and the power vested in the central authorities; more recently, the experience of the poor themselves has been at the heart of academic study. This article looks at a third group: those who exercised power and influence in delivering poor law policy at a local level and specifically how certain individuals with strong personalities administered or disrupted what was heralded as a uniform and centrally controlled system. Based on an in-depth local history study on the development of the poor law unions in the county of Hertfordshire, England, this paper will look in detail at the contribution made by specific individuals during the early years of the new poor law and consider how they influenced poor law policy and practice. It will argue that personal contributions made a difference to the operation of the poor laws and that the personality of certain poor law officials had the potential to influence the central authorities, which has not been fully recognised. This research supports the argument that the new poor law was regionally diverse and provides new evidence to suggest that the power of local personnel to influence poor law policy contributed to that diversity and should not be overlooked. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poverty, Welfare and the Family in C18th and 19th Britain)
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