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The Inspiration for 'Oliver Twist' Discovered

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Rowan
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The Inspiration for 'Oliver Twist' Discovered

Post by Rowan » Mon March 28th, 2011, 2:58 pm

Amazing that something made such an indellible mark on Dickens' childhood memories that he could come back to such a horrific subject later in life and shed light on the plight of the poor.
The young woman at the workhouse gate was desperate. Clutching her belly, she begged to be allowed inside. She had nowhere else to go.
The workhouse — for all the stories of cruelty that went on within its walls — was her only hope. She desperately needed shelter, for she was about to give birth. But the gatekeeper was inexorable: he had his orders.

Babies were expensive. They required feeding, clothing and supervising and it would be at least six years before they could earn their keep, either in the workhouse or in factories, mills or up chimneys.
The workhouse authorities had a duty to care for mothers in such a desperate plight. They were paid by the parish to house and clothe the wretched men, women and children who came to their doors as a last resort. For few would reside in the workhouse by choice. The conditions made prison seem comfortable in comparison.
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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon March 28th, 2011, 3:38 pm

Disturbing, what went on in those places.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Tue March 29th, 2011, 12:20 am

There is a show on Fridays where celebs trace their heritage n' stuff. Rosie O' Donnell went to a workhouse in Ireland. Grim stuff, but the historian in me was fascinated.
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Rowan
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Post by Rowan » Tue March 29th, 2011, 1:52 pm

Yes, I've seen 'Who Do You Think You Are?', but I missed the episode about Rosie O'Donnell. Unbelievable what people went through at that time.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Wed March 30th, 2011, 12:52 am

[quote=""Rowan""]Yes, I've seen 'Who Do You Think You Are?', but I missed the episode about Rosie O'Donnell. Unbelievable what people went through at that time.[/quote]

I forgot the name of it. :D I was looking at the computer screen for 5 min...thinking...ok...what is the name of that show again. Thanks! :)
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annis
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Post by annis » Fri April 1st, 2011, 1:15 am

I've always liked this 1874 painting by Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, which shows a queue of people hoping for an overnight bed at the Whitechapel Casual Ward.

Image

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