The Philanthropic Society in Britain with particular reference to the Reformatory Farm School, Redhill, 1849-1900

Mary Thompkins

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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This study of the Philanthropic Society (later the Royal Philanthropic Society) sets out to explain how it survived during many shifts in thinking about the treatment of juvenile offenders in nineteenth-century Britain. The study also pays particular attention to relationships between the Society and the state, showing how the Society was gradually drawn into dependence on the state. The thesis begins with an overview of the Society's work prior to its decision to move from London to Redhill in 1849. Next it proceeds to a close study of the Society's work until the end of the century. The decision to concentrate on the Redhill Farm School reflects not only changing views about the reformation of young offenders, but also the financial imperatives which forced the Society along paths shaped by the state. Close attention is paid to the way Parliamentary inquiries and commissions, which in the mid-Victorian period tended to laud the Society as a model, later criticized it for lagging behind advanced thinking. Interwoven within this narratives are descriptions of the specific measures the Society took for training and caring for boys at Redhill. It explores the nature of unpaid labour, training and discipline enforced at the farm school. It also examines the variety of subjects taught during the years a boy would spend working within a strict discipline, and the methods used to enforce such discipline. Another subject worthy of extended consideration is the Society's enthusiasm for emigration to British colonies following a boy's term of incarceration. The thesis closes with an examination of how and why the Society lost its reputation as a leader in the treatment of young offenders in the late-Victorian period, as government imposed new rules and regulations. The overall argument is that the Society born as the result of moral panics about children at risk became a long-term survivor as the result of partnerships with the state.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


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