Conceptualising the ‘Perfect’ Family in Late Nineteenth-Century Philanthropic Institutions
chapterposted on 24.05.2019, 15:09 by Steven J. Taylor
Steve Taylor turns to the Waifs and Strays Society to rethink the nature, shape, and meaning of the working-class Victorian family. In a period when significant numbers of children were fostered for a variety of reasons by relatives, friends and other individuals it is hardly surprising that there was considerable discussion around the fragility of family units, ‘nomadic’ husbands, alcoholic parents, wandering wives, and working parents. At the core of these observations was an underlying concern that children were being failed by family and kin alike. Taylor examines how concerns about the young and their status in working families were represented in philanthropic institutions by middle-aged white men. His chapter picks up one of the main themes of this volume which is the idea that the shape and meaning of family were essentially imagined.