By J. Keating
The heritage of adoption from 1918-1945, detailing the increase of adoption, the expansion of adoption societies and contemplating the expanding emphasis on secrecy in adoption. Analyses adoption legislations from legalization in 1926, to legislation and reform within the Thirties, with laws eventually being enforced in 1943 amid trouble approximately informal wartime adoptions.
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Extra resources for A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918–45
There was a tacit assumption that the mother would not be returning to reclaim the child and that the baby farmer would not overly strive to keep it alive. Probably some of those looking after the babies did their best to care for them but naturally the cases which hit the headlines were the scandals, such as the one in Brixton in 1870. Sixteen dead babies were found in a few weeks in streets and open spaces in Brixton and Peckham. Every year many babies were found dead in the London streets (276 in 1870, the majority less than a week old58) but so many in one area was unusual.
My arguments would then be enforced by his wife. If he required any further conviction, let him consider that a servant who has an illegitimate child loses her situation, that the Board of Education suspends the certificate of a schoolmistress, that no hospital nurse or typist would expect for a second to keep her position … And the social stigma [of the illegitimate child] is an indefensible but quite real consequence of the degradation of the unmarried mother. 100 Eighteen months later Rebecca West herself became the unmarried mother of a son by H.
In practice, wardship proceedings only involved a very small number of children and it seems unlikely that they were used by any but a small minority of the wealthier members of society. Marriage breakdown and custody Prior to 1857 under Common Law there were very few circumstances in which any court would interfere with a father’s custody of his infant children when a marriage ended. Courts did not even have the Setting the Scene 29 jurisdiction to grant a right of access to the mother. The first legislation amending the Common Law came with the 1839 Custody of Infants Act.