Ms Susan Woodall

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My PhD project grew out of my Master's dissertation (Open University, 2012) on the origin and purpose of the Cambridge Female Refuge, and extends my interest in trying to recover the lived experience of moral reform for 'fallen' women confined in similar institutions. The project examines the material culture of two lay and two sisterhood penitentiary 'Homes', broadly in the East of England, over the period from 1840 to 1910. It argues that by using material culture as a framewok for analysis, we can arrive at a more nuanced reading of everyday life in these institutions. Whilst their unmediated voices are rarely heard, inmates' actions in response to the constraints and opportunities of the material setting of reform are eloquent.

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