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TitleParenthood between Generations: Transforming Reproductive Cultures
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Page 150

The Inheritance of Parenthood in England, c. 1850–1914 141

that she had a reputation for drunkenness, her son defended her
character. When asked ‘Has your mother been in the habit of taking
drink?’, he replied, ‘No, but she likes her glass like anybody else.
We can’t get drink off £1 a week.’ It was a judgement based on the
moral character of the older woman, rather than her knowledge,
which the authorities believed determined whether or not she was
capable of providing childcare. In responding to this allegation and
seeking to defend his mother, Thomas similarly did not emphasize
her specific earlier experience in having raised her own family, but
sought to present his mother as just ‘like anybody else’ in her habits.
He resisted the gendering of moral virtues by instead speaking of the
prized companionship that ‘anybody’ enjoyed through alcohol and
the shared predicaments of chronic poverty that the ‘we’ of mother
and son experienced.

Interestingly, although reported more briefly in the Burnley Ga-
zette (24 April 1909: 8, 8 May 1909: 2), presumably because it was
thought to be less sensationally interesting to readers, it was also the
morality of providing care that was used to attack Thomas’s failures
in his paternal role. It was alleged that ‘if the father could afford
to go to Blackpool he should have taken reasonable care to pro-
vide something to protect children from fire’. As a relatively new
form of popular leisure activity, trips to seaside resorts by groups of
young bachelors were an accepted part of growing to working-class
manhood, but this sort of leisure activity was more morally dubi-
ous when enjoyed by poor lone fathers. Good childcare – whether
by men or women, parents or grandparents – was not about what
carers knew or even how they practised it, but about the lax moral
conscience that led them away from being attentive and selfless to-
wards the children in their care. Perhaps partly as a result of their
awareness of the dominance of this moral interpretation of the rais-
ing of children, both father and grandmother were reported as ar-
ticulating to the courts the impact that the tragedy had on them.
This was expressed by the father by his need to tell of his purchase
of a fireguard within a day of his daughter’s death and by the grand-
mother through her description of her ‘deep sorrow’. Although a
verdict of accidental death was recorded, the local authorities were
not persuaded by the argument that Florence’s death was an acci-
dent for which no one was culpable, so successfully prosecuted both
the father and grandmother for neglect under the 1908 Children
Act. Each pleaded guilty and was fined ten shillings – half of Thom-
as’s estimate of his weekly household income. Within four months
of this verdict, Thomas got married again to a younger woman and

Page 298

Index 289

postpartum practices, 27–29, 66,
77, 100, 106–7, 160–80, 188–98

poverty, 66, 80–85, 102, 118, 141,
146, 149–54, 170, 174, 177, 230,
239–43, 249, 265, 279

practice, 1–9, 21–31
habituation, 12–13, 21–22,

26–28, 161–62, 169–70, 177,
212, 225, 231–32, 248

sedimentation, 27–28, 182, 202
pregnancy, 25, 71, 114, 119–23,

149, 165, 167, 170, 190–91, 197,
222, 259

promiscuity, 72–73, 265
psychoanalytical thought, 13, 29,

207–9, 214, 216
psychologist, 68, 78–79, 92

Q
Quiggin, Pat, 65–66

R
Rapp, Rayna, 5
religion, 24–25, 65
Buddhism, 116
Christianity, 23, 66–70, 72–74,

77, 79, 84, 86–87, 122–23,
145, 254–56, 267

Hinduism, 232–33, 247–48
Islam, 161, 166, 172, 174,

232–33, 247–48
Sikhism, 232–33, 247–48
reproductive cultures, 4–16,

23–27, 31, 67, 69, 78, 80, 84–87,
92–94, 115, 137, 148, 154–55,
190, 277–81

Richards, Audrey, 76, 78–9
Roper, Lyndal, 14

S
same-sex parenthood. See under

gay parenthood
sexual intercourse, 58–59, 66,

82–87, 115, 119, 154, 161, 254,
265

abstinence, 66, 77, 82

knowledge, 22–23, 58–61, 70,
77, 79, 81

sexuality, 3, 16, 22, 43–64, 73,
115, 279

sexually transmitted infection, 68,
72, 77

Shen, Yifey, 93–94, 105, 108
Shircliffe, Barbara, 211
Short, Susan, 98, 103
sibling, 50, 55–57, 70, 74, 120,

152–53, 161, 170–71, 174, 196,
199–200, 212, 221, 225, 261–64,
271

silence, 1, 12, 22, 28, 57, 127,
192–93, 266, 271, 280. See also
communication

sleeping, 99, 167–68, 175, 193–96,
219, 271

Smart, Carol, 15, 45, 53, 58–59,
61, 117, 231

Smith, R.T., 259–60
social reproduction, 7
social survey, 18, 68, 78, 139,

154–55, 211, 226
socio-economic class, 1, 3, 18–19,

26, 28, 30–31, 62, 65, 81–85,
121, 123–24, 135–40, 145–46,
149, 154–55, 161–63, 170, 177,
208, 210, 212, 214, 223, 225,
229–30, 233, 243, 247, 249, 257,
279

Solomon, Andrew, 5, 16
Southall, Aidan, 78–79
state, 19–20, 23–24, 66–67, 69–70,

71, 73, 78–87, 92, 103, 116,
139–42, 155, 157, 198, 200, 231,
278–79

Staunæs, Dorthe, 107
Stephens, Rhiannon, 69
Strange, Julie-Marie, 10, 136, 142
Strathern, Marilyn, 4–7, 196, 260
Sullivan, Maureen, 45, 51, 54,

59–60, 63
Summers, Carol, 79, 85
syphilis. See under sexually trans-

mitted infection

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