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Prisons, Pensions and the Post Office: historical geographies of ageing in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain

Strand Campus, London

7 Nov YTL-Yellow-780x450

This talk explores three very different kinds of topics but with one central theme: how to provide for old age in a period that pre-dated the welfare state. The three topics refer to (i) inheritance practices and ‘avuncularism’, or the generosity shown by uncles and aunts in bequesting property to their relatives; (ii) the construction of large scale public infrastructure using a financial instrument known as a ‘tontine’ – a form of annuity where subscribers bet on living longest; and (iii) the health outcomes of Post Office workers during the nineteenth century who were pensioned off because of ill health or other reasons. These three topics, though very different on the surface, all revolve around the need to make provision in and for old age: either through pensions or annuities in the case of provision for old age, or through inheritance arising as a result of old age and death. This talk explores each topic drawing on original archival evidence from wills and inheritance tax records, contemporary newspapers and subscription lists, and pensions records.

Human Geography Seminar Series

The Department of Geography at King’s College London is pleased to host its Human Geography Seminar Series for this academic year. The Series brings together the interests and expertise of the Contested Development, Risk and Society, and Urban Futures Research Domains and the King’s Climate and King’s Water Activity Hubs to explore new frontiers in research and policy on human-environment interactions.

Find out about other seminars in the series here.


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