Category Archives: Working 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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Posted in Books, Class, Leisure and Recreation, Middle Class, Nineteenth century society, Nineteenth century women, Religion, Women and Legal Rights, Working Class | Tagged , , , ,

Richard Oastler and factory reform

John A. Hargreaves and E. A. Hilary Haigh, (eds.) Slavery in Yorkshire: Richard Oastler and the campaign against child labour in the Industrial Revolution (University of Huddersfield), 2012 238pp., rrp £24 paper , ISBN 978-1-86218-107-6. The book is also available … Continue reading

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Posted in Books, Chartism, Class, Government and reform, Nineteenth century society, Working, Working Class | Tagged , , ,

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 , , ,

Developing urban popular culture

Urban popular culture in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries developed three important dimensions. First, it was a mass culture that permeated across communities. There were activities that people paid to attend as spectators, audience or readers. This included theatres, circuses … Continue reading

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Posted in Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society, Urbanisation, Working Class | Tagged , , ,

Artisan leisure culture

Artisan leisure culture was based on a particular type of work and its rise and decline paralleled that of the artisans. In the first half of the nineteenth century it flourished, but as the artisans themselves became more absorbed into … Continue reading

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Popular culture: Case Study 3: The ‘opium eaters’

The importance and impact of drug taking across social boundaries in the nineteenth century has only recently become a subject of serious historical study. [1] Opium or opiate compounds were used widely in the first half of the nineteenth century … Continue reading

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Posted in Leisure and Recreation, Nineteenth century society, Poverty, Working Class | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

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 was the state of working-class religion a problem in the mid-nineteenth century?

In his report on the 1851 Religious Census, Horace Mann noted: …a sadly formidable proportion of the English people are habitual neglecters of the public ordinances of religion. [1] There is significant disagreement among historians about the role and importance … Continue reading

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What was the aristocracy of labour?

In 1870 George Potter, a prominent unionist and radical journalist wrote, The working man belonging to the upper-class of his order is a member of the aristocracy of the working-classes. He is a man of some culture, is well read … Continue reading

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What was unemployment in the nineteenth century?

It is difficult to superimpose twenty-first century notions of unemployment on the mid-nineteenth century labour market. There are no statistics, national or otherwise. Patterns of work were very diverse, varying between different industries and trades but also within the same … Continue reading

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Working in the countryside

By the early 1830s, many rural areas were beginning to emerge from the worst rural distress of the agricultural depression and direct rural protest, such as the Captain Swing riots in 1830 in southern England, were not repeated, rural wages … Continue reading

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Posted in Class, Nineteenth century society, Working, Working Class | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How did working-class standards of living rise after 1875?

Despite the persistence of skill differentials, the working-class became more homogeneous in late-Victorian England. The proportion of the occupied population engaged in farming fell from 15% in 1871 to 7.5% in 1901 as rural migrants entered the most rapidly expanding … Continue reading

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Skilled workers and changing production 1875-1914

Culture and community in the factory became the concern of ‘scientific management’, a comprehensive strategy significantly in advance of the paternalism of the 1850s and 1860s. The working environment improved as employers implemented new factory legislation and extended the range … Continue reading

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How far did standards of living improve in the mid-Victorian period?

Improved standards of living during the mid-Victorian period owed more to greater stability in employment than a marked increase in wages.[1] The economy was characterised by high, relatively stable prices and high levels of consumption. This was, however, punctuated by … Continue reading

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