1st Edition

The Unmarried Mother and Her Child

By Virginia Wimperis Copyright 1960
    400 Pages
    by Routledge

    Originally published in 1960, when every twentieth child in this country was born illegitimate, every eighth was conceived outside marriage; every fourth mother conceived her first-born before her wedding day; and among the children below school-leaving age over half a million were illegitimate – figures that were paralleled in many countries of Europe and the Commonwealth at the time.

    Who are the parents of these children? Why do they not marry? How many of the fathers are known and how many of them know or help to maintain their children? What legal pressure can be brought upon the parents and how easily can payment be evaded? What assistance does the State or do the voluntary agencies give to these young families, here or in other countries? As the children grow up, what happens to them? How many are adopted, how many pass into public care – and why? How many appear before the courts? What special personal difficulties do they have? These and a host of other questions are fully explored for the first time in this book, which at the time would be greeted with equal interest by social workers here and abroad and be the general reader. The English problems are viewed in relation to the various solutions adopted by other countries, and some of these – the Russian, German, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish – are discussed at length.

    The book contains two full-length stories told by unmarried mothers – one a nurse and the other a teacher – in their own words.

    From a very different world today this reissue can be read and understood in its historical context.

    This book is a re-issue originally published in 1960. The language used and views portrayed are a reflection of its era and no offence is meant by the Publishers to any reader by this re-publication.

    Preface.  Part I: The Scope of the Problem  1. The Incidence of Illegitimacy  2. Who Have Illegitimate Children?  3. The Pregnant Bride  4. The Human Background  Part II: Help for the Mother and Child  5. The Mother’s Struggle  6. The Father’s Contribution  7. The State’s Contribution  8. The Local Authorities’ and Voluntary Societies’ Contribution  9. Two Mothers Tell Their Stories  Part III: Citizens of the Future  10. The Influence of Social Policies on the Children’s Fate  11. What Happens to the Children as They Grow Up?  12. Children in Public Care  13. The Children’s Development  Part IV: The Development of a New Approach  14. Legislative Reforms in Other Countries  15. The State as Guardian  Part V: Summing Up  16. Some Questions and Conclusions.  Bibliography.  Principal Tables in Text.  Tables in Appendix.


    Virginia d'Avray Wimperis (1915–1991) 

    Clifford Witting (1907–1968)