The Erosion of Childhood: Child Oppression in Britain, 1860-1918

By Lionel Rose | Go to book overview

7

THEATRICAL, CIRCUS AND FAIRGROUND CHILDREN

When Dickens introduced his readers to the child actress Ninetta Crummies as the bogus ‘Infant Phenomenon’ in Nicholas Nickleby,1 he was caricaturing the use that would have been well known to him as a keen amateur actor, of the drawing power of precocious child performers. Edmund Kean and Sarah Siddons had started as child actors. William Betty (1791-1874) was starring in adult roles as a child prodigy in the early 1800s; at 13 he was playing Hamlet, Romeo and Richard III! 2 Around fifty years later Ellen Terry played the Duke of York in Richard III when only 6, and her sister Kate played Arthur in King John before she was 10. 3

The 1861 census records as actors, acrobats, dancers and so on about 30 5-9-year-olds and 100 10-14-year-olds in England and Wales, but this is certainly a gross understatement; there was a very high seasonal demand for children in pantomime; perhaps the migratory nature of theatrical companies caused them to slip through the enumeration net. In the 1880s it was reckoned that there were ‘as many as' 1,000 theatrical children in London alone. 4 Lord Shaftesbury was to raise the specific issue of cruelty and physical danger to child acrobats from the early 1870s, and the moral dangers to and alleged exploitation of children in theatrical work were to be canvassed in the 1880s by the emerging child protection movement.

There was then no restriction at all on the employment of children at any age for any hours in theatrical work, except for the requirements of school attendance under the 1870 and 1880 Education Acts. However, parents and theatrical managers found a loophole in the law: children who were sent to fee-paying ‘private adventure’ schools could be trained and rehearsed under the veil of a sham education. 5 Ellen Barlee’s Pantomime Waifs (1884) was an

-59-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Erosion of Childhood: Child Oppression in Britain, 1860-1918
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 294

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.