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Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives$
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Jon Lawrence and Pat Starkey

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780853236764

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846312816

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From Barrack Schools to Family Cottages: Creating Domestic Space for Late Victorian Poor Children1

From Barrack Schools to Family Cottages: Creating Domestic Space for Late Victorian Poor Children1

Chapter:
(p.147) 7 From Barrack Schools to Family Cottages: Creating Domestic Space for Late Victorian Poor Children1
Source:
Child Welfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: International Perspectives
Author(s):

Lydia D. Murdoch

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853236764.003.0008

This chapter analyses the movement to reform orphanages in later nineteenth-century Britain, demonstrating how discourses on class and gender worked together to help construct the idealised view of the reformed orphanage as ‘cottage home’. It argues that the movement for ‘family cottages’ combined an assault on the power and expertise of male officials, and on the lifestyle and culture of the working-class families whose children it purported to ‘save’. Reformers who supported model villages and family cottages for children affirmed that poor children could develop individualism. They blamed the girls' hardness, violence, and lack of mothering on the male-dominated, masculine model of the barrack schools, which worked to undermine the link between subjectivity and domesticity. The critics of barrack schools displayed a heightened fear of class disorder. The children's model villages and institutional homes constituted an ideal for all of society.

Keywords:   orphanages, Britain, class, gender, cottage home, family cottages, reformers, model villages, barrack schools

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