Special Event: Dickens, The Workhouse, and the Fallen Woman


Ella Dzelzainis, Lecturer in 19th Century literature at Newcastle University is talking on ‘Dickens, the Workhouse and the Fallen Woman’. 

Discover how Charles Dickens, in works such as Oliver Twist (1838) exposed how the Poor Law, in particular the Bastardy Clause of 1834, condemned so many poor women and their illegitimate children to lives of shame and misery, stigmatising single mothers. Lines such as ‘Please, sir, I want some more’ reveal deprived conditions in English Workhouses, denying poor people a right to a family life: separating husbands from wives, parents from children, and mothers from their small babies. 

Find out more about historic cases, such as the death sentence given to a mother who chose to drown her child in the Thames rather than go back to Bethnal Green workhouse, which caused a public outcry at the time and take a closer look at the powerful messages contained within emotive Victorian images.

Refreshments will be available. Tickets £5 per person. The talk is at the Workhouse Museum, Ripon on Sat 22 April 2-3pm.

Eventbrite - Dickens, The Workhouse & The Fallen Woman

Dr. Ella Dzelzainis
Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Newcastle University

Background Notes: Studied for an MA in Victorian Studies and a PhD at Birkbeck, University of London and was then awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship. After a spell at King's College, London, she joined the School of English at Newcastle where she is the Postgraduate Research Director.

Workhouse Museum

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