Friday, February 17, 2006

"Are there no workhouses?"

What exactly what Scrooge referring to? Nothing pleasant, that's for sure: Georgian England exposed.

Frank Campbell writes:
Historian John Waller takes our powdered illusions and strips away the make-up. We see Georgian England through the experience of a "workhouse orphan bastard", Robert Blincoe (pictured). Four-year-old Blincoe was dumped in St Pancras Workhouse in 1796. Blincoe wasn't his real name. He never knew what that was. And DNA testing of his descendants shows that he wasn't related to any Blincoes.


  1. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Ah the good ol' days!
    Something to remind the kids about when they need a new pair of Air Jordans at $230.
    Eight more hours of work and you'll get another bowl of gruel.
    Seriously you wonder how any of them survived. Life span 17yrs!
    Modern horror stories have nothing on the workhouses.

  2. I saw a wonderful play earlier this year at the National Theatre in London, called Coram Boy, adapted from her novel by Jamilla Gavin. I highly recommend it, if it tours to a city near you, not only for its take on Georgian poorhouses but also for its wonderful music.

  3. The real difference between America and Britain: Britain still has great theater. Here it's hard to find classic dramas staged and the new stuff tends to be editorials mouthed by caricatures.

  4. The National Theatre (and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) are heavily subsidised, though. One area taxpayers should be pleased to see their money spent on.

    A lot of West End theatre is rubbish. At the moment there is a penchant for revivial musicals (eg Chicago) or musicals based on movies (Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Lion (sorry Loin;-) ) King etc). They charge 60 pounds a ticket for some of these but I would not go and see them if you paid me 60 pounds.

  5. Well, libertarian though I am, I would support government funding of a theatre devoted to the classics (preferably without goofy updatings -- i.e., Mozart in Spanish Harlem -- not because of snobbery, but because they signal a lack of faith in the material).