The Queen Margaret Settlement 1897-1914: Glasgow Women Pioneers in Social Work

Kendall, Catherine Mary (1993) The Queen Margaret Settlement 1897-1914: Glasgow Women Pioneers in Social Work. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study concerns the origins and early years of the Queen Margaret Settlement (hereafter QMS) in Glasgow, from its foundation in 1897 until the outbreak of war in 1914. The QMS merits study because of its pivotal role in several related fields, all of which underwent crucial change in this period. The QMS was part of the wider Settlement movement which arose in the 1880s as part of the contemporary 'rediscovery of poverty'. In the new thinking about the 'organic' nature of society, Settlements were a response to the alienation from each other of the urban social classes. The initial aim of the Settlements was to restore the social balance within poor areas by enabling University students to live in Residences as neighbours to the poor; in time many Settlements developed a strong interest in educating workers to understand the conditions they encountered. This concern led the QMS to promote professional training for social workers and hence to work for the foundation of a School of Social Study affiliated to Glasgow University. The QMS owed much to its Glasgow origins. Amid the great wealth arising from vast industrial and commercial enterprises, the city experienced its own 'rediscovery of poverty'. This was influenced by the teaching of Moral Philosophy by Professors Caird and Jones at the University, and reinforced by a new mood of social concern from the major Scottish denominations, and further by the publication of reports detailing Glasgow's huge problems of housing and public health. Glasgow's social and economic elite had a tradition of active involvement in the public and philanthropic life of the city, and many of the women who worked in the QMS came from this motivated, wealthy class. Furthermore, the QMS owed its foundation to Queen Margaret College, the first institution for women's higher education in the west of Scotland. Most of the women noted above attended the College to gain 'higher culture' and (later) degrees, making them a remarkable group by the standards of the time. The experience of College education combined with the self-confidence of their middle-class backgrounds, prompted these women to take whatever opportunities became available for service in professional and public life. These women also conferred a unique character upon the QMS. They were intellectually and practically capable, and were pragmatic in their approach to the problems of the area. Their initial work centred on the encouragement of thrift and financial independence. However, their expressed concern for the welfare of women and children led them to pioneer several ventures (including the first Invalid Children's School in Scotland) which were later taken over by the State as part of the Liberal Welfare reforms in the Edwardian period. In order to remain relevant, the QMS had to keep abreast of the rapidly-changing circumstances of the times; the fact that it did so was due entirely to the ability of its remarkable women.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: John McCaffrey
Keywords: European history, Social structure, Social work
Date of Award: 1993
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1993-74860
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 15:48
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 15:48

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