Abstract

Drawing upon the admission records of Christ’s Hospital, an orphanage and school founded in London in 1552, thirteen tables of basic data were formulated to gain insight into the lives of non-elite children. As tabulated, the profile of the children shows that two-thirds of them were male; one-third died; and less than twenty percent were infants. Eight out of ten children’s parents were identified at least by having their names recorded, and more than half had fathers who belonged to guilds and therefore were respectable citizens. More than half of the children were placed two or more times, with more than one-third having their final placement with a foster parent or in an apprenticeship; only slightly more than one tenth were permanently reunited with their parents or relatives. The families of the 3,095 children served by Christ’s Hospital had collapsed to the point that the children’s basic needs were not met and family wealth was not inherited. With the assistance of caretakers and sponsors, Christ’s Hospital supplied food, clothing, and shelter to help disadvantaged children who were educated and trained as productive citizens, enabling them to be integrated into the increasingly complex economic structure of London and thereby prevented from sinking into the criminal underclass.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1941-3599
Print ISSN
1939-6724
Pages
pp. 428-455
Launched on MUSE
2013-11-22
Open Access
No
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