Poverty, Children and the Poor Law in Industrial Belfast, 1880-1918 - Olwen Purdue; Georgina Laragy; | Foyles Bookstore
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Poverty, Children and the Poor Law in Industrial Belfast, 1880-1918
Foyalty 285

Poverty, Children and the Poor Law in Industrial Belfast, 1880-1918 (Hardback)

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The late nineteenth-century city acted as a magnet for the poor of rural

Ireland, attracting them with the promise of employment and economic

independence. For many, however, urban life meant economic precarity,

marginalisation and destitution, with the workhouse as an all-too-present

reality. Young families were particularly vulnerable, with the result that thousands

of children found themselves confined within the workhouse walls.

This book explores the changing role of the Irish poor law in child

welfare in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century city. Taking as its

focus Belfast, a burgeoning industrial and port city at the heart of a global

trade network and a city deeply divided along political and confessional lines,

it examines the ways in which that city's poorest children and their families engaged

with the poor law and used the workhouse as part of their economy of

makeshifts. It examines the various spaces of the poor law - whether the

workhouse, the foster home, or the far reaches of empire - as sites of encounter

and engagement between welfare authorities and the city's poorest families, and

explores the development of child welfare practice at a time of increasing

state encroachment into the daily lives of poor children.

Olwen Purdue is Professor of Irish Social History at Queen's University Belfast. Georgina Laragy is Glasnevin Trust Assistant Professor in Public History and Cultural Heritage at Trinity College Dublin.

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