The Italian poor in nineteenth-century Britain.
This is a study of the immigration of Italian poor to Britain
from the early decades of the nineteenth century to the outbreak
of W.W.I. Only a passing reference is made to political refugees
and other personalities, as the dissertation is concerned with
the inarticulate people for whom emigration (seasonal, temporary
or permanent) was a traditional mode of life - the organ-grinders,
the plaster statuette makers, the ice-cream vendors, the small legion
of cooks and waiters.
The main theme of the thesis is the history of adaptation to,
and conflict with, the host society. For this purpose, after an
analysis of the emigrants' social and geographical origin, emphasis
is laid on the relationship between the changing attitudes
towards them (especially towards those who settled in the 'Italian
Quarter' of London) and the emigrants' response.
The study consists of two parts. Part One is concerned with statistical
evidence and the material aspects of the Italian poor's
life and occupations. Part Two deals with how these emigrants were
perceived; this is achieved through an analysis of the main challenges
they had to face.
The conclusion points, on the one hand, to the ability of the
Italian poor to maintain an external compactness through a remarkable
degree of flexibility and resilience; and, on the other hand,
to their Inability to emerge as a cohesive and socially-conscious