Revealing and concealing personal and social problems: family coping strategies and a new engagement with officials and welfare agencies c.1900-12
University of Exeter
Family and Community History
Researchers from many disciplines have identified new forms of health and welfare services emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Attention has focused on the growth of direct provision by the local and national state, and new relationships between the statutory and voluntary sectors. The literature describes an important transition from the general workhouse to more specialist institutions, and the rise of community care. It also suggests that the increasing number of women employed by statutory and voluntary sector organizations forged new relationships with clients, but to date this research has been limited by a lack of sources and an emphasis on controlling practices. This new research on the work of female sanitary inspectors parallels this interpretation in the sense it was often intrusive, and certainly created new routes into institutional care. However, it also supports the idea that the inspectors were welcomed by some sections of the community and thereby made a distinctive contribution to the evolution of health and welfare services.