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Urban Innkeepers, their Inns and their Role in the Economic and Cultural Life of Leeds and York, 1720 – 1860

Green, Karen (2015) Urban Innkeepers, their Inns and their Role in the Economic and Cultural Life of Leeds and York, 1720 – 1860. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Examining the businesses of a number of inns in Leeds and York, this study explores the role played by innkeepers and their inns in the economic and cultural life of two very different cities. Using evidence from the local press and directories this study argues that innkeepers played an important role in the urban economies of both cities, developing credit and transport networks and providing venues for a variety of meetings, auctions and sales. These networks, and the provision of hospitality and stabling for large numbers of visitors, placed the inns at the centre of the developing service sector that was vital to the economies of Leeds and York. Using advertisements in the local press, this study maintains that the adoption of the language and manners of polite society by innkeepers, not only promoted themselves and their inns but also encouraged the adoption of those ideals by the middling sort, thus encouraging the development of urban society. Unlike previous studies, this study provides a rare insight into the day-to-day business of innkeepers. The innkeepers’ account and daybooks used for this study show the range of food and drink and services provided by innkeepers, and the staff employed. Drawing on probate and insurance records this study argues that many innkeepers had substantial business interests and were often owners of significant amounts of property. Diversifying into other areas of the economy, including agriculture, carrying and coaching, innkeepers not only amassed considerable wealth, they also provided significant employment opportunities for men and women in both Leeds and York. Through the identification of significant numbers of female innkeepers and large numbers of female servants and traders this study maintains that far from being an innkeeping ‘fraternity’, inns were more feminised spaces than had previously been suggested.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Keywords: Leeds York Innkeepers
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Depositing User: Mrs Karen Green
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 10:41
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2015 10:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9627

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