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Nursing Under the Old Poor Law in Midland and Eastern England 1780-1834

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posted on 2015-09-22, 09:45 authored by Steven A. King
This article uses data drawn from the overseers' accounts and supporting documentation in thirty-six parishes spread over four English counties, to answer three basic questions. First, what was the character, extent, structure, range of activities, and remuneration of the nursing labor force under the Old Poor Law between the late eighteenth century and the implementation of the New Poor Law in the 1830s? Second, were there regional and intra-regional differences in the scale and nature of spending on nursing care for the sick poor? Third, how might one explain such differences? The article suggests that nursing became an increasingly important category of spending for the poor law from the later eighteenth century, but that there were significant variations within and (particularly) between English counties in parochial attitudes toward the provision of nursing for the sick poor. These variations can be explained by applying a matrix of explanatory variables ranging from the minor (differences in how parishes defined "nursing") through to the major (long-standing cultural attitudes toward the responsibility of parishioners to their sick compatriots and the ingrained expectations of the sick poor). The article also throws new light on the hidden aspects of female labor force participation, pointing to the development of professional nursing networks long before the later nineteenth century.

History

Citation

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2014 (Advance Access)

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)

issn

0022-5045

eissn

1468-4373

Copyright date

2014

Available date

2016-08-26

Publisher version

http://jhmas.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/08/26/jhmas.jru025

Notes

The file associated with this record is embargoed for 24 months in accordance with the Publisher's policy, available at http://www.oxfordjournals.org/en/access-purchase/rights-and-permissions/self-archiving-policyf.html

Language

en

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