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    Faith, philanthropy and the aged poor in nineteenth-century England and Wales

    Mangion, Carmen M. (2012) Faith, philanthropy and the aged poor in nineteenth-century England and Wales. European Review of History 19 (4), pp. 515-530. ISSN 1350-7486.

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    In the last half of the nineteenth century, Victorians grappled with welfare issues regarding the aged poor as social investigators sought to explain their dependency and poverty. Elderly men and women who were unable to care for themselves, and without a family or community to attend to their needs, had few alternatives outside the workhouse in nineteenth-century England and Wales. Catholic homes for the elderly managed by communities of women religious such as the Sisters of Nazareth provided an important option to the aged poor who often needed both accommodation and medical care. These homes provided a unique form of social welfare which attracted the attention of Protestants as well as Catholics as benefactors. Protestant reformers, looking for different approaches to maintaining the aged poor, inspected these Catholic homes in order to develop their own institutional solutions. Perhaps more pointedly, this interaction between Protestants and Catholics offers a counter narrative to the usual histories that emphasise anti-Catholicism, sectarianism and conflict. Despite the anti-Catholic tenor of the times, the homes for the aged of the Sisters of Nazareth were recognized and funded by both Catholics and Protestants as they were seen as providing a much needed form of charitable aid for the aged poor. As an alternative to poor law workhouses, the institutions created and managed by Catholic women religious formed an integral part of the mixed economy of welfare in the nineteenth century.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): elderly, aged poor, poor law, medical care, philanthropy, Catholic, women religious, nuns, Victorian Britain
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 22 May 2013 07:33
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:04


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