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Title: Navvy communities and families in the construction of the Great Central Railway London extension, 1894-1900
Author: Ayres, Bryan John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 2390
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines navvy communities and families at the very end of the nineteenth century against the backdrop of the construction of a specific railway line running through the centre of England: the Great Central Railway London Extension. Although navvies have been subjected to a number of previous studies, this thesis seeks to situate their experiences within the context of late nineteenth century working-class society. It analyses the concept of community in relation to the mainly itinerant workers and their dependents, and explores the role of difference in terms of lifestyle and culture, together with shared experiences, and how these may have helped to define identity. Navvies were still considered by many contemporaries to be somewhat disreputable, isolated and neglected, and thus, at the margins of society. This notion is assessed by reference to their encounters with the various agencies of the Victorian state and voluntary and religious sectors including the police and judiciary, the poor law, the education system, health services and Christian home missionary endeavour. A central theme of the thesis is the importance attached to perceptions of the navvy community. Attention is devoted to the manner in which such perceptions were created, and in particular on the role of literary representations of the navvy. These perceptions often shaped the initial response of local residents to the influx of the workforce, but they were challenged and frequently amended as a result of direct contact. An argument is also advanced that a crucial pointer to the way in which the incomers were regarded and treated was the degree to which they conformed to accepted social norms, not least being that related to respectability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain