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Evacuation, Hygiene, and Social Policy: The Our Towns Report of 1943.

Welshman, John (1999) Evacuation, Hygiene, and Social Policy: The Our Towns Report of 1943. The Historical Journal, 42 (3). pp. 781-807. ISSN 0018-246X

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    Abstract

    There has recently been much debate about social policy in Britain during the Second World War. This article takes up Jose Harris's suggestion that historians should look not at large-scale forces, but at ‘those minuscule roots of idiosyncratic private culture’. As a way into the complex amalgam that comprised ideas on social policy in the 1940s, we look in particular at the report on the evacuation of schoolchildren entitled Our towns: a close up, published by the Women's Group on Public Welfare in March 1943. Of course it is undeniable that one report is unrepresentative of all the many surveys that were produced on the evacuation experience. However, the initial wave of evacuation in September 1939 was the most significant, and the Our towns survey, along with a famous leader article in The Economist, has already received some selective attention from historians. Here we subject the survey to a more intensive examination, looking at the backgrounds of its authors, its content, and its reception by various professional groups. The article argues that it was the apparently contradictory nature of the report that explains its powerful appeal – it echoed interwar debates about behaviour and citizenship, but also reflected the ideas that would shape the welfare state in the post-war years.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: The Historical Journal
    Additional Information: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=HIS The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, The Historical Journal, 42 (3), pp 781-807 1999, © 1999 Cambridge University Press.
    Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
    Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine > Health Research
    Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > History
    ID Code: 19958
    Deposited By: Dr John Welshman
    Deposited On: 21 Nov 2008 09:43
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 15:36
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/19958

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