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The evacuation of children in wartime Scotland : culture, behaviour, and poverty.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date03/2006
JournalJournal of Scottish Historical Studies
Journal number1-2
Volume26
Number of pages21
Pages100-120
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article examines the experience of, outcomes of, and lessons drawn from the evacuation of Scottish schoolchildren during the early part of the Second World War. We begin by discussing the historiography of evacuation in Great Britain. The focus then shifts to the particular circumstances of Scotland. Here the mechanisms of evacuation were different from elsewhere in Britain in that children were evacuated in family rather than school class groups. This difference was attributed by contemporaries to the particularity of Scottish education and educational structures. We then examine three influential responses to evacuation in Scotland. As we show the tendency here, in contrast to England, was to blame the purportedly poor state of the evacuees on structural rather than behavioural or individual factors. In other words, the socio-economic environment rather than personal failings was fore-grounded, although this is not to say that Scottish analyses entirely eschewed what were seen as individual shortcomings. We conclude by assessing what the Scottish experience adds to our knowledge of evacuation and the extent to which it confirms or refutes ‘revisionist’ interpretations; and what implications this experience had for the subsequent development of Scottish welfare provision.