Formation and development of middle-class urban culture and politics : Sheffield 1825-1880
This thesis examines the formation and development of the Sheffield middle-class through the focus of the Sheffield Club. In chapter two cultural institutions of the town prior to the formation of the Club are examined. The institutional formation and development of the Club is then traced from its foundation in 1843 through to 1880. The third chapter examines the membership of the Club in some detail in order to substantiate the claim that it represents the elite strata of Sheffield society. Investigation of the involvement of the Club membership in other key locations of power in the town is then presented. The fourth chapter examines the struggles concerning the gaining of a charter of incorporation for the town. The political and religious composition of the opposing groups are analysed. The intervention of the West Riding magistrates in the debate is also examined. Lastly, the role of the members of the Sheffield Club is assessed. The fifth and sixth chapters look in detail at the 1852 and 1857 Sheffield elections, and the 1865 West Riding election. The description of the elections is focused through the Sheffield Club in order to assess the strength of party support of its members. The claim that 1868 marks the beginning of the defection of the Sheffield middle class to the Tory party is then examined. It is argued that the defection of the elite of the Sheffield middle class began much earlier than this date. The conclusion draws together the main arguments of the thesis and examines the relationship between the elite and the middle class.