Tag Archives: Charles Dickens

The lunatics are in charge

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Workhouses and the Poor from 1834

…..the able-bodied recipient of poor relief “on the whole shall not be made really or apparently as eligible as the independent labourer of the lowest class.”1 Introduction There’s nothing worse than paying tax and being taken for a ride. The … Continue reading

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Traditional forms of punishment: Britain* 1700-1900

Traditionally, British judges sentencing criminals had five principal options: capital punishment, corporal punishment, exile, imprisonment and torture. Judges sentencing criminals to ‘savage’ sentences were using proportionate and appropriate punishments according to the expectations of the time. The sentences were anticipated … Continue reading

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Gradgrind and the problem of legless horses

Gradgrind came to epitomise Victorian school teachers. Victorian school teachers were sharply focused on facts. Facts appeared to offer certainty and, even better, they could be tested. A pupil repeating the facts that they’d learned was a good pupil. There’s … Continue reading

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The Old Curiosity Shop

On attending a seminar at the L.S.E. (London School of Economics) at Lincoln’s Inn Fields (12th February 2015), Jan (my wife) and I got to the venue 30 minutes before we were due to register, so, as you do, we set … Continue reading

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