[Magdalene Asylum.] Manuscript 'Report by William Lothian writer in Edinburgh, and Clerk to the Magdalene Assylum, [sic] To The Right Honourable Kincaid Mackenzie Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, and ex officio President of that Institution.

[William Lothian, Clerk to the Magdalene Asylum, Edinburgh charity for 'fallen women' [Alexander Kincaid Mackenzie (1768-1830), Lord Provost of Edinburgh, 1817-1819; Scotland; Scottish]
Publication details: 
Edinburgh. 28 January 1819.
SKU: 13961

3pp., 4to. Bifolium. In very good condition, on lightly-aged paper. Docketed on reverse of second leaf 'Memo[i]r for the Lord Provost as to the Magdalene Assylum [sic]'. Lothian begins by explaining that he was informed a year before by 'one of the female Managers of the Assylum' that the Lord Provost 'wished to have from him an Account of the then state of that House'. He would have 'cheerfully furnished' him with one had he not been under the misapprehension that the treasurer Mr Waugh was going to do so. He is doing so now, as it appears to have 'escaped Mr Waugh's recollection', and will now send a short account of the present state of 'this important Charity', 'as derived from the Minutes of the Managers, and his own Observation'. He begins: 'There are at present upwards of 40 Inmates in the House, who are usefully engaged in the several domestic Employments of Sewing, Washing, Calendering and Glazing'. He explains that the profits go towards the upkeep of the institution, and praises the 'prudence and oeconomy' of 'the worthy Housekeeper and Superintendant of the sewing department'. By these means the inmates are trained 'to habits of industry and sobriety'. He explains that a chaplain and 'two female Superintendants of the Work' give daily religious instruction. 'In consequence of these happy Circumstances, several of the Women have been restored to their Relatives, many have gone to Service, and obtained from their Master the most ample Testimonials of good Character and Conduct'. He is aware of of some who have been married from his own experience, and 'Letters have also come repeatedly from these Women, otherwise provided for, themselves, expressing the utmost gratitude for the benefits which they have derived while in the Assylum'. The building ('House') itself is 'neat, clean and commodious; without unnecessary Expense having been incurred in rendering it so - The Women are comfortably maintained, decently cloathed (out of part of their own earnings) and have good beds.' A 'Subcommittee' inspect the building every Monday; the whole committee meet every month; and the Managers every quarter. He concludes by explaining that although the institution is three hundred pounds in debt, this is 'a small Sum indeed', considering that 'the new House and bleaching Ground' have cost between £3000 and £4000, and that there is 'a considerable annual Shortcoming of the proceeds of the Work'. The Edinburgh Magdalene Asylum was set up in 1797, fifteen years before its Glasgow counterpart, to which more attention has been given. See Linda Mahood, 'The Magdalenes: Prostitution in the Nineteenth Century' (2013). No reference to Edinburgh Magdalene Asylum found on the Scottish Archive Network.