Surviving the industrial city: the female poor and the workhouse in late nineteenth-century Belfast

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Abstract

In common with many British cities, but unlike the rest of Ireland, late nineteenth-century Belfast experienced rapid industrialization and physical expansion. Women formed a significant proportion of the city’s workforce, attracted by the employment opportunities represented in the burgeoning textile industry. Many of them were economically vulnerable, however, and could find themselves destitute for a number of reasons. This article sets Belfast’s Poor Law workhouse in the landscape of welfare in the city, exploring how its use reflected the development of the city and the ways in which the female poor engaged with it in order to survive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-90
Number of pages22
JournalUrban History
Volume44
Issue number1
Early online date17 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Urban History
  • Poverty
  • welfare
  • Belfast
  • ireland
  • British history
  • industrialisation
  • Women
  • poor law
  • workhouse

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