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Abstract

How did mothers’ waged work work impact on the northern IMR?

What do they do with the infants of the mothers who work in the mills? ‘Oh’, the Rector replied ‘they bring them to me, and I take care of them in the churchyard!’1

The previous chapters introduced the topic of high rates of infant mortality in the northern districts. They also explained the need for northern women to work; the range and expanse of the occupations they undertook, and the inherent child care models these hard-working and hard-pressed women used whilst labouring in the industrial sectors. This chapter will move beyond this context and explore the extent to which the model identified by the Rector and Dickens in the quotation above reflected the reality of nineteenth-century child care for northern working-class women.

Keywords

Nineteenth Century Child Care Infant Mortality Married Woman Breast Feeding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    Quoted by Charles Dickens to Rev. J Elder Canning, (1874) ‘On the Neglect of Infants in Large Towns’, National Association of the Promotion of Social Science, (NAPSS) (London), p. 723. Quoted in M. Hewitt, (1958) Wives and Mother’s in Victorian Industry (London: Rockliff), p. 99. Dickens however was not the only contemporary to think that mothers’ factory work had a negative impact on infant health. See also W. Dodd, (1842, 1968) The Factory System Illustrated; In A Series Of Letters To The Right Hon. Lord Ashley (London: John Murray; reprint London: Cass), p. 29; W.S. Jevons, W.T. Charley, Mr. Ernest Hart, Mr. George Hastings and Mr Hereford, were also severe critics of mothers’ factory work, see W.S. Jevons, (1882) ‘Married Women in Factories’, Contemporary Review, January, pp. 37–53 This argument persisted through to the Twentieth Century; see G. Newman, quoted in R. Woods, (2006) ‘Newman’s Infant Mortality as an Agenda for Research’, in E. Garrett, C. Galley, N. Shelton and R. Woods, (2006) (eds.) Infant Mortality: A Continuing Social Problem (Aldershot: Ashgate), pp. 18–33. See also E. Garrett, (2006) (eds.) et al Infant Mortality, pp. 4, 10, 27, 33–49, (esp. p. 38) 186 and 191–212.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Melanie Reynolds 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie Reynolds
    • 1
  1. 1.Oxford Brookes UniversityUK

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