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    Christ’s Hospital and the poor of London, 1552-1666

    Jenkins, Gary (2021) Christ’s Hospital and the poor of London, 1552-1666. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis examines a central element of the City of London’s response to the problem of poverty in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the foundation in 1552 of Christ’s Hospital for poor and orphaned children. The hospital admitted children from infancy and maintained them both in London and with nurses in the country. Analysis of the admission and discharge records of almost 9,000 children admitted between 1552 and 1666 reveals the background – age, origin, means of admission – of the children. Their day to day lives are investigated, looking at their general wellbeing and health, diet, daily routine, and education, in order to establish whether the institution simply warehoused children until they were old enough to be discharged back into the city, or whether it aimed at and achieved more. An examination of discharges and the way in which the hospital prepared children for life outside the hospital completes this part of the study. Fulfilling the hospital’s mission required considerable logistical and administrative capabilities, which are scrutinised through an analysis of the activities of the court of governors who were ultimately responsible for the running of the hospital. The work of the paid officials and staff responsible for the day to day care of the children is also discussed and commented on. Analysis of the treasurers’ account books shows that the hospital struggled to remain solvent throughout much of the period covered, a problem exacerbated by an increasing demand for places and subsequent increase in the hospital population, to a peak of 1,002 in 1658. The ways in which the hospital dealt with this are investigated, noting a shift away from parish and City support to reliance on income from legacies and donations, and an increasingly large property portfolio, as well as the use of borrowed money.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 12:49
    Last Modified: 21 Nov 2021 22:35


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