Category Archives: Middle Class

Vicars and Tarts!! Well almost

Tom Hughes Clerical Errors: A Victorian Series, Volume 1, (Kindle edition), £3.86 The behaviour of public figures has always been subject to scrutiny from an often prurient public. This has been particularly the case with clergymen especially those who pronounce … Continue reading

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Sex, Work and Politics: Women in Britain, 1830-1918

JUST PUBLISHED   In 1830, women of all classes were repressed in a male-dominated society. By 1918, largely through their own struggles, they had seized control over most areas of their lives. Some of these sought access to the public … Continue reading

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Posted in Books, Class, Education, Government and reform, Middle Class, Nineteenth century politics, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, Upper Class, Working, Working Class | Tagged , , ,

Middle-class urban culture?

By contrast, urban middle-class culture, in its origins, was distinctively provincial. Until 1800, it was a culture that was more obviously urban than middle-class, expressing many of the values of the urban gentry, who themselves, may be considered as part … Continue reading

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Popular culture: Case Study 1: Cruelty to animals

The emergence of ‘respectability’ as the defining characteristic of acceptable forms of behaviour was a major feature of the changed attitudes to traditional forms of social behaviour. This can be seen in the cases of cruelty to animals, temperance and … Continue reading

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Was faith a matter of class?

The Victorian crisis of faith has dominated discussions of religion and the Victorians. One problem with the ‘crisis of faith’ narrative is that it has had the effect of excluding much of the religious life of the period and has, … Continue reading

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Why did the professions expand after 1800?

The development of a substantial and powerful professional group within the middle-classes gathered considerable pace in the later Victorian period.[1] The growth and maturation of the world’s first modern capitalist economy played an important role in this process and the … Continue reading

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How far were entrepreneurs agents of change in the nineteenth century?

During the economic transformation between 1780 and 1830, entrepreneurs were regarded as the main instruments of change because of their enterprise and innovation, organisational skill and their ability to exploit commercial opportunities.[1] Many industrial pioneers operated in a uniquely favourable … Continue reading

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Was there a middle-class political revolution?

The Reform Act 1832, traditionally regarded as the beginnings of middle-class political power, does not provide an index of the rise to power of the industrial bourgeoisie.[1] The new franchise increased the representation of the urban middle-class but it was … Continue reading

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Respectability and the middle classes

The middle-class  search was for security, comfort and peace of mind and above all for that social acceptance and approval denoted by respectability.[1] These were, as J.F.C. Harrison says ….not perhaps very noble strivings, especially when pursued in a competitive … Continue reading

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Who were the middle classes?

Who were the ‘middle-classes’? [1] George Kitson Clark rightly counselled caution when he pointed out that Of course, the general expression ‘middle-class’ remains useful, as a name for a large section of society …. (but) it is necessary to remember … Continue reading

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The middle-classes: The professions

  The emergence of a substantial and powerful professional group within the middle-classes was a phenomenon that gathered considerable pace in the later Victorian period.[1] The emergence of a larger group of professional occupations was a function of more global … Continue reading

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The middle-classes: Entrepreneurs

  The quality of British entrepreneurship in the nineteenth century is continually being reassessed. Historians suggested until the mid 1960s that from being the organisers of change in the first half of the nineteenth century, British entrepreneurs had, by its … Continue reading

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How far were the middle-classes the ruling class?

  The rise of the bourgeoisie or middle-classes has often been used in ways that imply a reference to the country’s dominant group.[1] Before examining the development of the middle-classes in the nineteenth century it is important to consider the … Continue reading

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The middle-classes: who were they?

  Though there are important differences in their approach, historians generally agree that the central features of modern British society were crystallised during the nineteenth century. Defining the beginning and the end of this process of change has proved difficult, … Continue reading

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