At Home in the Institution: Our Research on the Web
Inhabiting Institutions Podcast
In September 2010 Jane Hamlett, Lesley Hoskins, Rebecca Preston and Marie Sandell organised a two-day workshop 'Inhabiting Institutions in Britain 1700-1950,' at Royal Holloway's central London buildings in Bloomsbury. Space, material culture, the environment, rules and regulations as well as inhabitant experiences were explored. The institutions covered included workhouses, lunatic asylums, schools, children's homes, and military accommodation as well as educational spaces such as libraries, universities and schools. We also looked at spaces that might be considered on the margins of 'institutionalisation' such as factories and lodging houses. The Holloway Sanatorium, an asylum for fee-paying patients, founded by Thomas Holloway, was discussed by Dr. Anne Shepherd and Dr. Katherine Rawling, and is shown in the illustration here. All the papers and the summary discussion were recorded as a Podcast by the Backdoor Broadcasting Company and can be heard online here.
Lodgers and Lodging in Victorian and Edwardian London
In autumn 2010 Jane and Rebecca led a public lecture and workshop at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) on lodgers and lodging in Victorian and Edwardian London. The streets of Victorian London were crowded with lodgers and lodging houses. From well-to-do bachelors residing in the smarter part of town to less-well-off spinsters and poor families making do in London's shabbier districts, a range of classes catered for weekly as well as nightly lodgers. Jane's talk gave an overview of lodging in the capital, while Rebecca spoke on LMA's many sources on this theme - including the enormous lodging houses established by the London County Council at the end of the nineteenth century. A summary of the talk is available on the LMA website here.
To find out more about our findings on lodging in London and to take a tour ofLondon's forgotten model lodging houses, see our post on the Journal of Victorian Culture website.
Inside the Nineteenth-Century Asylum
In 2011 Jane and Lesley gave a talk on 'The Material World of the Asylum' as part of the 'Time Out of Mind' Conference at London Metropolitan Archives. In an accompanying piece for the LMA newsletter, they ask what was it like to live in a 19th century 'lunatic asylum', and explore the material world of two institutions documented at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), Hanwell, near Ealing in Middlesex, and Long Grove, one of the five asylums in the Epsom cluster in Surrey.
Jane and Lesley's research on the clothing patients wore in the asylum has been recently published in the Journal of Victorian Culture and a taster is given in their blog post,'Standard Cuts and Lace Collars: What Patients Wore in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Asylums'.
Some of Jane's work on the Bethlem archive, looking at why playing billiards was important to patients in Bethlem Hospital in the nineteenth century, is posted on the Bethlem blog: Billiards at Bethlem.
BBC History Podcast on Victorian Schools
In June 2011 Jane was interviewed by BBC History Magazine about the At Home in the Institution Project and some of her early research findings on schools for middle-class girls and boys in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Boys and girls, it seems, lived under very different regimes. In boys' schools, the desire to build up boys' characters, and to teach them how follow authority and to wield it, influenced the way boarding houses were planned. Sharp divisions between spaces for housemasters and rooms for pupils created a culture in which, it was hoped, boys would become self-governing. Girls schools, meanwhile, supervised pupils far more rigorously - building dormitories and classrooms that could be surveyed by teachers at all times. Click here for a link to the Podcast.