Irish and Scots poverty in the far north of England 1790-1870

  • Allan Sharman

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The thesis examines poverty at the extreme end of the scale amongst the Irish and Scots migrants who settled or travelled within the far north of England. The problems they encountered stemmed in part from the fears by the host population of the encroachment on established cultural norms and the threat they presented to employment prospects. The main emphasis of the thesis is on the reasons for and results of migration into the area when England was at one of the most critical stages in its history. The thesis challenges the notion that the Irish lived in conditions separated from and widely different to their English and Scots neighbours, which leads to the idea that the concept of ghetoisation does not work in tested areas of this region. It argues instead that there were similarities in their circumstances, differences in their survival strategies, and contrasts in the treatment they were afforded by the authorities. The authorities made strenuous efforts in their attempts to deal with the flow of migrants into and beyond the west of the region as they traversed the country from Whitehaven to Tynemouth, particularly during the period of the famine in Ireland. Their use of the Poor Law, and other legislation to control vagrancy, settlement and removal, were also tested to establish the effectiveness of its implementation. The timeframe was selected because it embraces a political and socio-economic period that witnessed the transition from the old to the new poor law, rapid urban and industrial growth and the dislocating effects of poverty and famine in traditional societies, not least in Ireland. While there is one general account of the Lake Counties, the wider far-northern region has received only scanty attention from historians in specific parts. Moreover, the historiography has relied on a range of arguments which, whilst interconnecting was not always in agreement. Diversity within the region was significant in terms of reception, law enforcement and the approach to containing the perceived problems, but the prevalence of negative attitudes towards migrants remained consistent throughout the period.
    Date of Award12 Dec 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorDonald MacRaild (Supervisor), Lewis Darwen (Supervisor) & Andrew Wareham (Supervisor)

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