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Unmarried Motherhood in the Metropolis, 1700–1850

Pregnancy, the Poor Law and Provision

Authors: Williams, Samantha

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  • Assesses the economic and emotional experience of unmarried mothers in London from 1700 to 1850 
  • Considers the delivery of poor relief and the system of affiliation which held parents responsible for the maintenance of their illegitimate children
  • Examines the extent to which unmarried parents were shamed by their situation and how this changed over time
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eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-73320-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-73319-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-10355-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

In this book Samantha Williams examines illegitimacy, unmarried parenthood and the old and new poor laws in a period of rising illegitimacy and poor relief expenditure. In doing so, she explores the experience of being an unmarried mother from courtship and conception, through the discovery of pregnancy, and the birth of the child in lodgings or one of the new parish workhouses. Although fathers were generally held to be financially responsible for their illegitimate children, the recovery of these costs was particularly low in London, leaving the parish ratepayers to meet the cost. Unmarried parenthood was associated with shame and men and women could also be subject to punishment, although this was generally infrequent in the capital. Illegitimacy and the poor law were interdependent and this book charts the experience of unmarried motherhood and the making of metropolitan bastardy.

About the authors

Samantha Williams is Senior Lecturer in Local and Regional History at the University of Cambridge, UK. She has published widely on the history of poverty and the poor law, including Poverty, Gender and Life-Cycle under the English Poor Law, 1760-1834 (2011) and Illegitimacy in Britain, 1700-1920 (2005) which she co-edited with Alysa Levene and Thomas Nutt. 

Reviews

“Samantha Williams presents a clearly written, well-structured insight into unmarried mothers’ experience of poor relief in eighteenth and early-nineteenth century London. … Williams has produced useful and detailed data on the mechanisms of filiation and provision for illegitimate children and provided compelling evidence of the multiple demands that faced parishes in this period.” (Kate Gibson, Family & Community History, Vol. 21 (3), 2018)​

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-73320-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-73319-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-10355-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Unmarried Motherhood in the Metropolis, 1700–1850
Book Subtitle
Pregnancy, the Poor Law and Provision
Authors
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-73320-3
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-73320-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-73319-7
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-10355-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 270
Number of Illustrations
7 b/w illustrations
Topics