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Female Emigration Fund

Date: 12 March 1853
Overall: 400 x 270 mm
Display Dimensions: 400 x 270 mm
Medium: Engraving on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00001084
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    An article from The Illustrated London News, 12 March 1853 relating to the 'Female Emigration Fund'. The two images are titled 'The female emigrants' home, at Hatton-Garden - the chief room' and the lower one is of the 'Cabin of THE MADAGASCAR, and female emigrants'.
    HistoryThe emigration of single women from Britain in the 19th century was seen as solution to the perceived problem of a populous London, in particular that of the 'lower class' females. It was also seen as a boost to the relatively low number of women in the British colonies, including Australia and New Zealand.
    In 1849 Sidney Herbert established a fund for Promoting Female immigration with his target group being the young, poverty stricken single females. These females were seen to be unprotected from the evils and hardness of the world they inhabitiated and one type in particular was promted, the plight of the needle woman.
    The idea of the "needle woman" was a popular image of the virtuous yet helpless female, one that was described as being "the most helpless of their sex - the working women of this country. This iconic figure was portrayed as industrious, hardworking and independent, but cruelly denied the just rewards of her labour and so particularly deserving of redemption from her awful fate" (Harris, Beth. 'Famine and Fashion', Ashgate Publishing, 2005.). The Fund was presented as an oppurtunity for these girls to make a new start with the oppurtunity of gainful employment and the chance to find a husband and future in a new land.
    "The earliest recorded special organization is the London Female Emigration Society formed in 1850, when 18 women were migrated to Toronto and their expenses borne by the Society. This original experiment was entirely successful, and in 1859 the British Ladies' Emigration Society was formed. Two years later the Female Middle Class Society was formed and began the transportation of gentlewomen to employment in the Colonies. Later on, the British Women's Emigration Association was formed and in time became the most important body assisting female emigration. This Association selected suitable women and girls to be sent out to chosen families in the various colonies, and arranged for all protection and assistance needed both during the journey and on arrival. In addition, it kept in touch with the emigrants after arrival. It had, throughout the United Kingdom, an organization of honorary workers who examined thoroughly the circumstances of every woman who wished to emigrate with the assistance of the Association. Suitable persons were trained in order to ensure their efficiency in the new country. Special arrangements were made for their reception at their destination, and no stone was left unturned in the effort to ensure the success of this project... It would be difficult to over-estimate the part played by those organizations aiming at female emigration. Practically no women would have left on their own initiative in the nineteenth century, and the associations helped to solve the double problem of the surplus of women in the home country on the one hand, and the shortage of women in the Dominions on the other." (Willcox, Walter. 'International Migtations, Volume 2.', 1931).

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Female Emigration Fund

    Secondary title: The female emigrants' home, at Hatton-Garden - the chief room; Cabin of THE MADAGASCAR, and female emigrants

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