Sectarian violence in nineteenth century Liverpool : a study of the origins, nature and scale of the Catholic-Protestant conflict in working class Liverpool, 1819-1914
The central concern of this study is the nature, origin and scale of the physical conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Liverpool throughout the period 1819 to 1914. This topic is examined within the framework of the endemic anti-Catholicism of Victorian England and the reactions to the dismantling of the privileges of the established Church. In addition, the scale of Irish immigration into Liverpool during the nineteenth century and its consequences for local government and the maintenance of public order are discussed and related to the phenomenon of sectarian violence. From this framework, certain themes are selected for detailed study and related to the core issue of physical sectarian conflict. Using both official sources and newspaper material, an account is given of the appearance and growth of the English Orange Order, its mexrüership, objectives and its role in formenting sectarian conflict. In particular, the relationship between Liverpool Conservatism and Orangeism before 1850 is examined in detail. The strength of the middle class adherence to Church and Constitution politics is an important theme within this study and the mechanism whereby such concerns were transferred to working class Protestants by evangelical Anglican clergy is examined in the context of Liverpool. Particular attention is also paid to the tensions within the Chruch of England arising from the activities of ritualist clergy and the consequences of this controversy in working-class Liverpool. The roles played by two individuals, Hugh McNeile and George Wise, in formenting sectarian violence are examined closely. Lastly, and most important from the viewpoint of the study's objective, the nature of the physical conflict, its extent and its enduring quality, together with its divisive effects on Liverpool's working class community is demonstrated.