A Victorian Woman's Place: Public Culture in the Nineteeth by Simon Morgan

By Simon Morgan

Whereas identical to bourgeois Victorian ladies as 'angels in the home' remoted from the area in inner most domesticity has lengthy been brushed off as an unrealistic excellent, ladies have remained marginalised in lots of contemporary money owed of the general public tradition of the center type. Simon Morgan goals to redress the stability, by way of drawing on various assets together with inner most records he argues that girls really performed a massive function within the formation of the general public identification of the Victorian center classification. via their help for cultural and philanthropic institutions and their engagement in political campaigns, ladies constructed a nascent civic identification, which for a few educated their later calls for for political rights. center classification girls and Victorian Public tradition bargains a number of insights for the reader into the general public lives of girls during this interesting interval.

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Her primary example was that of watchmaking, a trade from which women were largely excluded, while the Swiss employed women to make watches that undercut native equivalents in the British market. 37 Behind them lay a feminist concern with enabling women to achieve personal fulfilment. However, in order to sell their ideas to a sceptical world, they evolved theories of social and economic utility which gave firm direction and a radical edge to vague platitudes about ‘woman’s mission’ or ‘female influence’.

In Leeds, the work of two men stands out. Charles Turner Thackrah, inspired by the increase in factory employment in Leeds, produced an important work on occupational diseases and disorders. However, his work ranged far beyond the health of factory operatives, taking in women and the middle classes too. 70 The other defining features of the nineteenth-century industrial town, namely the effects of poor sanitation and urban overcrowding, were investigated by Robert Baker. Baker also had an interest in occupational health, having given up his medical practice to work as a factory surgeon after suffering from a dose of cholera in 1832.

Would-be reformers of women’s education, of whatever hue, tended to begin from the premise that the middle-classes were educating their daughters as decorative toys; in other words as ‘ladies’, possessed of fine accomplishments, such as drawing, dancing and singing, but very little else. 3 It was argued that such an education made women worse than useless; superficially charming in the flower of youth, perhaps, but incapable of fulfilling any serious role in society. Most reformers believed that girls’ education should enable them to cope better with what would be expected of them in life, so raising them from being idle parasites to a position of social utility.

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