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European City in Comparative Perspective: Seventh International Conference on Urban History  

Τίτλος:Residential patterns of the Liverpool elite c.1660-1800
Κύρια Υπευθυνότητα:Longmore, Jane
Θέματα:Elite (Social sciences) -- Great Britain -- Liverpool -- History
Housing -- Great Britain -- Liverpool -- History
Cities and towns -- Great Britain -- Growth -- History
Liverpool (England) -- Social conditions
Ελίτ (Κοινωνικές επιστήμες) -- Μεγάλη Βρετανία -- Λίβερπουλ -- Ιστορία
Στέγαση -- Μεγάλη Βρετανία -- Λίβερπουλ -- Ιστορία
Πόλεις και κωμοπόλεις -- Μεγάλη Βρετανία -- Ανάπτυξη -- Ιστορία
Λίβερπουλ (Αγγλία) -- Κοινωνικές συνθήκες
Ημερομηνία Έκδοσης:2008-01-29
Abstract:The recent Cambridge Urban History of Britain has emphasized the spectacular expansion of Liverpool between 1680 and 1801. During this period Liverpool emerged from almost total obscurity to become one of the largest provincial cities and the second port in Britain, experiencing a phenomenal average growth rate of 138.69% per annum. Although this growth started from a low point of approximately 1200 inhabitants in the 1660s, by the last quarter of the eighteenth century Liverpool had outstripped Bristol, its main competitor in the lucrative slave trade. This paper will explore whether this rapid rate of growth was a contributory factor in Liverpool’s apparent lack of interdependence with its hinterland. Unlike the leading citizens of expanding ports and manufacturing centres, such as Bristol and Manchester, Liverpool’s mercantile elite appear to have remained socially and politically distinct from the gentry of its Lancashire hinterland, preferring to develop the international links which were to underpin the town’s cosmopolitan identity. The leading merchants and townsmen who shaped Liverpool’s identity in this period seem to have concentrated on building the town and its trade rather than seeking to integrate with the local gentry.Liverpool therefore offers us an interesting perspective on the aristocratisation/ embourgeoisement debate. Although the local gentry had previously possessed considerable influence in the town, epitomised by the medieval buildings of the tower and the castle, by the last quarter of the seventeenth century the Corporation of Liverpool had won its battle for the lordship of the adjoining common. The influence of the leading local Molyneux and Stanley families began to wane. Liverpool society now became exceptionally fluid, both in terms of the constant influx of newcomers and the possibility of acquiring (or losing) considerable wealth in a relatively short time. This fluidity renders it difficult to identify a static urban elite and to analyse its relationship with the older, traditional elites of the surrounding area.However, a notable elite did exist throughout this period, although its membership was subject to constant change and renewal. Many of the leading merchants of late- seventeenth and eighteenth-century Liverpool were closely identified with the Corporation of Liverpool. This self-elected and powerful oligarchy of 41 members, controlled the development of the port and the town throughout this period, managing considerable revenue from town duties and from the rental of its 1000-acre landed estate. Prosopographical analysis offers an opportunity to examine the nature of this municipal elite and to draw further conclusions about the relationship between an expanding provincial port and its hinterland in eighteenth–century England. Late seventeenth-century hearth tax returns and early street directories provide an outline of the residential patterns of this leading group of citizens; a more detailed picture can be drawn from title deeds, wills and marriage settlements. By the end of the century the first urban guides were beginning to appear; these, and the later town histories offer useful insights into the increasingly distinctive identity of Liverpool’s elite. The paper will analyse the nature of these residential patterns and test the extent to which Liverpool’s elite remained distinct from the surrounding gentry.
Βιβλιογραφική Παραπομπή:Paper presented at Seventh International Conference on Urban History: European City in Comparative Perspective, Panteion University, Athens - Piraeus, Greece, 27-30 October 2004, Session: Living in the city: Urban Elites and their residences
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