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The London Lock Hospital in the Nineteenth Century

Gender, Sexuality and Social Reform

Maria Isabel Romero Ruiz

Based on archival research, this volume is concerned with the treatment of «fallen women» and prostitutes at the London Lock Hospital and Asylum throughout the nineteenth century. As venereally-diseased women, they were treated in the hospital for their physical ailments; those considered ripe for reform were secluded in the asylum for a moral cure. The author analyses the social and cultural implications arising from the situation of these female inmates at a time when women’s sexuality was widely debated, using a gender-informed and postmodernist approach.
The volume covers notions of purity and deviancy, issues of gender and sexual identity, the social and cultural issues connected with so-called fallen women and prostitutes, and descriptions of venereal disease and treatments for women patients at the time. The Contagious Diseases Acts and their impact are examined, as are the social and cultural implications of the creation of specialised hospitals and places of moral confinement. The book provides a complete picture of the Lock Hospital and Asylum and is an important contribution to the history of hospitals in the Victorian period.
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← x | xi → Acknowledgements


This monograph is the result of many years of hard work on the issue of fallen women and prostitution in the nineteenth century in England and on the archives of the London Lock Hospital and Asylum which are kept in the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.

My deepest gratitude goes first to my dear friend and colleague, Professor Logie Barrow from Bremen University, Germany, who is an academic with a solid career and academic prestige in the history of the working classes and the history of medicine in the United Kingdom. Without his support and advice this monograph would have never seen the light. I also want to express my gratitude to the librarians and archivists at the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons of England because they have always been helpful and supportive in the difficult process of taking notes from archival materials and locating manuscripts for my research. My special thanks go as well to my research leader and friend, Professor Pilar Cuder, and my colleague and friend, Dr. Beatriz Domínguez, both from the University of Huelva in Spain, for their constant encouragement and for believing in me as an academic; also, I wish to show my gratitude to my dear colleague, Dr. Blanca Krauel, from the University of Málaga, for being my friend and counselor through hard times of professional and personal challenges. I am also indebted to Professor Cora Kaplan from Queen...

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