Family Life in Britain, 1650-1910

Family Life in Britain, 1650-1910

Hardcover(1st ed. 2019)

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This book explores the ways that families were formed and re-formed, and held together and fractured, in Britain from the sixteenth to twentieth century. The chapters build upon the argument, developed in the 1990s and 2000s, that the nuclear family form, the bedrock of understandings of the structure and function of family and kinship units, provides a wholly inadequate lens through which to view the British family. Instead the volume's contributors point to families and households with porous boundaries, an endless capacity to reconstitute themselves, and an essential fluidity to both the form of families, and the family and kinship relationships that stood in the background. This book offers a re-reading, and reconsideration of the existing pillars of family history in Britain. It examines areas such as: Scottish kinship patterns, work patterns of kin in Post Office families, stepfamily relations, the role of family in managing lunatic patients, and the fluidity associated with a range of professional families in the nineteenth century.

Chapter 8 of this book is available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at

    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9783030048549
    Publisher: Springer International Publishing
    Publication date: 04/04/2019
    Edition description: 1st ed. 2019
    Pages: 292
    Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x (d)

    About the Author

    Carol Beardmore holds a Part-Time Lectureship at De Montfort University, an Associate Lectureship with the Open University, and a Research Fellowship at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research interests include the role of the land agent in rural communities and the history of the family as it relates to working relationships within general practice.

    Cara Dobbing is based at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research examines the patients who circulated in and out of the Garlands Lunatic Asylum from its establishment in 1862 until the beginning of the First World War. Central to her work is recounting the pauper experience of insanity.

    Steven King is Professor of Social and Economic History at the University of Leicester, UK. He has wide ranging interests in historical demography and the history of the family, particularly in relation to the English and Welsh poor in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His most recent work in this area is Writing the Lives of the English Poor, 1750s to 1830s (2018).

    Table of Contents

    Chapter One: Introduction; Carol Beardmore, Cara Dobbing, Steven King.- Part One: Economies of the Family.- Chapter Two: Family Fortunes: Marriage, Inheritance and Economic Challenges in Scotland, c.1660-1800; Regina Poertner.- Chapter Three: Victorian Professions: the Galvanising (and Shaping) Force of Death on Families; Kim Price.- Chapter Four: “The Widows and Orphans of Servants are Dying”: The Conflict of Family in the Design and Application of nineteenth-Century Civil Servant Pensions; Kathleen McIlvenna.- Part Two: Family Processes.- Chapter Five: Step Motherhood in the Nineteenth Century: Elinor Packe and Continuing Family Cohesiveness, 1900-1911; Geoff Monks.- Chapter Six: Balancing the Family: Edward Wrench, Baslow G.P. c.1862–1890; Carol Beardmore.- Chapter Seven: The Family and Insanity: The Experience of the Garlands Asylum, 1862-1910; Cara Dobbing.- Chapter Eight: Conceptualising the ‘Perfect’ Family in Late-Nineteenth-Century Philanthropic Institutions; Steven Taylor.- Part Three: Reconstituting the Family.- Chapter Nine: Negotiating the Blending of Families: Tension and Affection between Step-Parents and Children in Early Modern England, 1470-1640; Maria Cannon.- Chapter Ten: Family Beyond the Household: Constituting and Reconstituting as Kin; Iain Riddell.- Chapter Eleven: Configuring and Re-Configuring Families in Nineteenth-Century England; Steven King.

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