chapter  4
Refuge or Prison? Girls’ Experiences of a Home for the ‘Mentally Defective’ in Scotland, 1906–1948
ByMary Clare Martin
Pages 14

This chapter analyses the experiences of inmates in Waverley Park Home, the third institution for the mentally deficient in Scotland to be established as a voluntary charity. It was founded in 1906 by the Glasgow Association for the Care of Defective and Feeble-Minded Children, with the aim of providing for the welfare, elementary education and training of 'higher-grade, educable, feeble-minded girls'. It examines the ordering of space within Waverley Park, showing how the environment might be used for illicit purposes and the way that 'resistance' affected other inmates. Such actions might be interpreted as demonstrating inmates' agency and their resistance to the institution. This chapter has attempted to reconstruct the social world of an enclosed institution, the interaction of inmates with their environment and the relationship of the organization with an urban setting and civic community nearby. It also demonstrates the problems with defining behaviour which might be injurious to other inmates, as 'resistance'.