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Industrialising Communities: A Case Study of Elsecar Circa 1750-1870

Cavanagh, Nigel (2016) Industrialising Communities: A Case Study of Elsecar Circa 1750-1870. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis takes as its subject the village of Elsecar in Yorkshire. In the period circa 1750-1870 this small rural hamlet was developed by the local landowners, the Earls Fitzwilliam, into a thriving industrial village, with an economy based on the twin industries of coal-mining and iron-smelting. As a well-documented example of a rural/industrial complex, Elsecar offers the historian the opportunity to view in microcosm the processes of social and economic change as a consequence of industrialisation, issues of national significance in the context of late eighteenth and nineteenth century social history. Using the records of the Earls Fitzwilliam as its main research material, this thesis examines the social and economic aspects of industrialisation as they affected the village and, in particular, the ways in which they influenced the development of a specific village community during this period. In so doing, the thesis engages with ideas of social cohesion, identity, class, gender and their relationships to structures of power, authority and the environment. These issues illuminate the central themes of the thesis, which are the relationship between structures of authority, the agency of the villagers and the physical environment in creating the idea of community. In examining these issues, this thesis argues that community is a form of site-specific social identity, and that the development of the industrial community of Elsecar in the period 1750-1870 is the story of the emergence of a powerful sense of place and identity, rooted in the particular collective histories and experiences of the villagers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Industrial, community, class, identity, place, landscape
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.714306
Depositing User: Mr Nigel Cavanagh
Date Deposited: 19 May 2017 12:55
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16996

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