Mary Hannity

Mary Hannity, who is a clinical trainee at the Tavistock, works in a therapeutic community for survivors of torture and trafficking.

We might wonder to what extent the unbearable anxieties of adults in the aftermath of war were being projected onto the nation’s children. Implied in the 20th-century turn to the child is a wish on the part of adults to break with the traumatic recent past. At the same time, the destructive impulses of families and cultures are lodged in their children. Susan Isaacs, a Lancashire-born psychoanalyst and progressive educationalist, encouraged faith in psychoanalysis as a utopian educational tool, but she also acted as a container for parents’ anxieties about their own futures. Adults, too, have nightmares. In late 1929, one father wrote to Nursery World to ask how children could be taught to be ‘leaders rather than followers’: was it really, or only, children he was thinking of?

During​ the 1860s Rebecca Williams, née Tuggay, worked in Bath as a laundress. Six days a week, for twelve hours or more, she whitened the soiled linens of the city’s fashionable residents and visitors. Her work began at dawn on Mondays with the collecting, sorting, marking, soaking, cleaning and mangling of the wash. Heavy loads of sodden clothing were scrubbed or boiled or...

The original Holloway building was a flamboyant mock-up of Warwick Castle. What better place than a castle for all those women in need of rescue? ‘There is a story,’ Paul Rock writes in Reconstructing a Women’s Prison (1996), ‘that its façade [was intended] … to mollify suburban neighbours unhappy about the construction of a prison in the midst of their new-built homes.’ When an execution took place, crowds would gather outside the gates, as if the spectacle of the building itself substituted for the unseen scaffold within.

From The Blog
20 June 2017

On 27 May, Sisters Uncut occupied the site of what used to be the largest women’s prison in Western Europe. Eight women climbed into the old visitors’ centre through a window. Others unfurled banners on the roof: ‘This is Public Land: Our Land.’ Supporters rallied outside. The police came – eventually more than 70 of them, mostly white men – and formed a cordon around us.

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