The Workhouse. Peter Higginbotham.
Reviewed by Kathy Saunders
Published on H-Disability (March, 2001)
I have begun to research worker education in English workhouses during the nineteenth century, and have found some interesting material concerning attitudes towards the welfare of disabled people on a site called, <i>The Warehouse</i>, which is maintained by Peter Higginbotham of Oxford University. <p> The site traces the history and origins of current English welfare laws, beginning back in the 1300s, and details the legal framework under which nineteenth century workhouses, and their predecessor and descendant institutions were maintained. It includes reference to the first use of the term "handicap" as a category on the 1881 census of workhouse residents. To give an example, in Aylsham, Norfolk, a list of 134 inmates included ten "handicapped": Thegroup was comprised of one "blind," one "deaf and dumb," and eight "imbeciles." Information on a large number of local workhouses, including some in Ireland, is posted and appears to be regularly updated, as new information becomes available. <p> The site is clearly explained and easy to navigate--although, it does contain a persistent side menu, which I'm not sure whether screen readers will be able to interpret. <p> For me, the most surprising information given on this site is that there were not greater numbers of disabled people documented, and that physical disabilities did not feature more highly (separate asylums existed for "lunatics").
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Kathy Saunders. Review of , The Workhouse.
H-Disability, H-Net Reviews.
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