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Death of an Infant: Coroners' Inquests and the Study of Victorian Domestic Practice

Holmes, Vicky (2014) 'Death of an Infant: Coroners' Inquests and the Study of Victorian Domestic Practice.' Home cultures., 11 (3). pp. 305-331. ISSN 1740-6315

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Abstract

The homes of the urban working class and rural laborers were the most hazardous dwellings of the Victorian period, resulting in numerous domestic deaths warranting a coroner's inquest. This article demonstrates how, through coroners' meticulous investigations into fatal household accidents and the provincial press' eagerness in the reporting of such inquests, we are able to open up these homes and explore the domestic practices within. This article reveals how this frequently overlooked source provides unprecedented access to domestic practice in the homes of the Victorian urban working class and the often forgotten homes of the rural laboring class. It will show how these inquests can be used quantitatively to explore trends, patterns, and changes in the spatial organization and domestic practice of these homes, providing minute and detailed descriptions of rooms, in addition to domestic objects, and domestic practices. In summary, this article aims to highlight the potential of coroners' inquests (either the actual documents or accounts of them in the provincial press) to a wider audience and encourage their further use in the study of past domestic practice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: CORONERS' INQUESTS; DOMESTIC METHODOLOGY; DOMESTIC PRACTICE; PROVINCIAL PRESS; RURAL LABORING CLASS; URBAN WORKING CLASS; VICTORIAN SUFFOLK
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2015 14:29
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2015 14:29
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14126

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