New Historical Perspectives

Stephen Mullen
October 28, 2022

This important book assesses the size and nature of Caribbean slavery’s economic impact in British society. The Glasgow Sugar Aristocracy, a grouping of West India merchants and planters, became active before the emancipation of chattel slavery in the British West Indies in 1834. Many acquired nationally significant fortunes, and their investments percolated into the Scottish economy and wider society. At its core, the book traces the development of merchant capital and poses several interrelated questions during an era of rapid transformation, namely, what impact the private investments of West India merchants and colonial adventurers had on metropolitan society and the economy, as well as the wider effects of such commerce on...

Leo Shipp
August 31, 2022

The office of the poet laureate of Britain was a highly prominent, relevant and respectable institution throughout the long eighteenth century. First instituted for John Dryden in 1668, the laureateship developed from an honorific into a functionary office with a settled position in court (c.1689–1715), and was bestowed upon Robert Southey in 1813, whose tenure eventually transformed the office. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this book examines the office’s institutional changes and public reception, the mechanics of each laureate’s appointment, and the works produced by the laureates before and after their appointments. It argues that the laureateship played a key part in some of the most vital trends in eighteenth-...

Edited by Peter Collinge and Louise Falcini
August 29, 2022

The Old Poor Law in England and Wales, administered by the local parish, dispensed benefits to paupers providing a uniquely comprehensive, pre-modern system of relief. Remaining in force until 1834, the law provided goods and services to keep the poor alive.

Combining short- and long-form articles and essays, Providing for the Poor brings together academics and practitioners from across disciplines to re-examine the micro-politics of poverty in the long eighteenth century through the eyes of the poor, their providers and enablers. From the providence of the parochial sixpence given in order to move a beggar on, to coercive marriages, plebeian clothing and the much broader implications of vagrancy towards the end of the...

Sarah Fox
April 13, 2022

This fascinating new book radically rewrites all that we know about eighteenth-century childbirth by placing women’s voices at the centre of the story. From quickening through to confinement, giving caudle, delivery and lying-in, birth was once a complex ritual that involved entire communities. Drawing on an extensive and under-researched body of materials, such as letters, diaries and recipe books, this book offers critical new perspectives on the history of the family and community. It explores the rituals of childbirth, from birthing clothing to the foods traditionally eaten before and after birth, and also how a woman’s relationship with her family, husband, friends and neighbours changed...

Charlotte Berry
February 15, 2022

The Margins of Late Medieval London is a powerful study of medieval London’s urban fringe. Seeking to unpack the complexity of urban life in the medieval age, this volume offers a detailed and novel approach to understanding London beyond its institutional structures. Using a combination of experimental digital, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, the volume casts new light on urban life at the level of the neighbourhood and considers the differences in economy, society and sociability which existed in different areas of a vibrant premodern city. It focuses on the dynamism and mobility that shaped city life, integrating the experiences of London’s poor and migrant communities and how they found...

Edited by Alexandra Hughes-Johnson and Lyndsey Jenkins
November 1, 2021

From 1832 to the present day, from the countryside in Wales to the Comintern in Moscow, from America to Finland and Ireland to Australia, from the girls’ school to the stage, women’s suffrage was the most significant challenge to the constitution since 1832, seeking not only to settle demands for inclusion and justice but to expand and redefine definitions of citizenship. This collection advances ongoing debates within suffrage history whilst also drawing on a range of new sources, different intellectual techniques and methodological approaches, which challenge established interpretations. 

With its focus on politics and political activism in its broadest sense, this collection makes a timely and substantial...

Edited by Heidi Egginton and Zoë Thomas
October 15, 2021

Precarious Professionals uncovers the inequalities and insecurities which lay at the heart of professional life in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. The book challenges conventional categories in the history of work, exploring instead the everyday labour of maintaining a professional identity on the margins of the traditional professions. Situating new historical perspectives on gender at the forefront of their research, the contributors explore how professional cultures could not only define themselves against, but often flourished outside of, the confines of patriarchal codes and structures.

Putting the lives of precarious professionals in dialogue with master narratives in modern British...

Edited by Fiona McCall
June 23, 2021

In 1645, as the First Civil War approached its end, a second Reformation took place which created profound dislocations in religion and in British society. The Church was disestablished, and godly puritan practices promoted in parish churches and everyday life. Some clergy and parishioners embraced change; others were horrified, experiencing these as times of madness and trouble. Historians continue to debate the extent of the social disruption that resulted, and the impact of godly ideals. 

With an introduction from Professor Bernard Capp, pre-eminent social historian of the period, this collection of essays assesses interregnum religious practice at ground level, based on a sophisticated understanding of the complex and...

Ewan Gibbs
February 15, 2021

The flooding and subsequent closure of Scotland’s last deep coal mine in 2002 brought a centuries long saga to an end. Villages and towns across the densely populated Central Belt owe their existence to coal mining’s expansion during the nineteenth century and its maturation in the twentieth. Colliery closures and job losses were not just experienced in economic terms: they had profound implications for what it meant to be a worker, a Scot and a resident of an industrial settlement. Coal Country presents the first book-length account of deindustrialization in the Scottish coalfields. It draws on archival research using records from UK government, the nationalized coal industry and trade unions, as well as the words and...

Sarah Goldsmith
November 30, 2020

The Grand Tour was a journey to continental Europe undertaken by British nobility and wealthy landed gentry during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As a rite of passage, the Tour also played an important role in the formation of contemporary notions of elite masculinity.

Examining letters, diaries and other records left by Grand Tourists, tutors and their families, this book demonstrates how the Tour was used to educate elite young men in a wide variety of skills, virtues and masculine behaviours that extended well beyond polite society. Sarah Goldsmith argues that dangerous experiences, in particular, were far more central to the Tour as a means of constructing Britain’s next generation of leaders than has...

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