The Bedford Asylum: building for the ‘industrious child’ in early-nineteenth century Dublin

Fennelly, Katherine (2018) The Bedford Asylum: building for the ‘industrious child’ in early-nineteenth century Dublin. In: Nineteenth century childhoods in interdisciplinary and international perspectives. Childhood in the Past . Oxbow Books. ISBN 9781785708435

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This chapter will examine the Bedford Asylum for Industrious Children, a government-run institution established in Dublin in 1808. This chapter will explore the changes in the building over time, the reasons behind the repurposing of the building, and the impact of this closure on provision for destitute children in Dublin. Two contributing factors will be explored in detail: the architecture of the building, and the role of the Napoleonic Wars. This paper will posit that the architectural and spatial fabric of the building, as well as the activities and organization therein, made the Bedford distinctive from its surrounding buildings, and other institutions for children in the city, in that its design was seemingly geared towards repurposing from the outset. The Bedford is therefore distinctive from the broader portfolio of its designer, Irish public works architect Francis Johnston, whose other public institutional buildings were specifically designed with the reception of their respective inmates in mind. The brief period of the Bedford’s operation in which children were the sole inmates coincided with a major European conflict, the Napoleonic Wars. Activities of children in the Bedford during the Napoleonic Wars will be explored, with focus on the extent to which children’s work mirrored the work of women in analogous institutions for the poor and destitute, specifically the making of clothes. This chapter will explore the extent to which the end of the war, mass demobilization, and a subsequent economic slump, acted as a catalyst in the repurposing of the Bedford.

Keywords:Archaeology, built heritage, history of poverty
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V400 Archaeology
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V320 Social History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:30690
Deposited On:09 Mar 2018 12:53

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