'The Royal Albert’: childhood idiocy and the institutionalisation of children’s care in Victorian and Edwardian Britain

Year of award: 2018


  • Samir Hamdoud

    University of Warwick

Project summary

This project will tell the social history of the Royal Albert Institution, which helped care for and treat children who were unable to live with their families. It will consider how it emerged within a network of state and voluntary aided institutions which operated in Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

I will recapture some of the stories of the children who lived at the Royal Albert, the professionals who lived and worked there, and the place of the institution in the local community and national life more generally. I will consider how views of children's bodies and minds changed and how these changes affected the way children were perceived and treated. I will also look at the role of the family, medical professionals and civil servants in placing children at the Royal Albert and draw connections between this and more contemporary developments in children's social care.