Nineteenth-century Ireland saw the emergence of a campaign to have orphaned and abandoned children ‘boarded out’ from workhouses to live with families in return for payment. Despite growing anxiety about the unsuitability of workhouses for children, communities could show resistance to having these children, particularly those from urban workhouses, living in their own neighbourhood. Using the case of alleged abuse towards three children boarded out from Belfast workhouse to a family living in a remote rural townland, this paper explores the experience of, and attitudes towards, workhouse children boarded into rural communities. Using testimonies of neighbours and poor law officials at the resultant 1872 Poor Law inquiry, it examines the relationship between the children, their foster family, and the wider community and reveals the extent to which those families who took in workhouse children became subject to surveillance not just from welfare authorities but also from members of their community.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Family and Community History|
|Publication status||Published - 08 Oct 2020|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science