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Title: Nineteenth-century craftsmen and tradesmen in Hertfordshire : a spatial, economic and social study of self-sufficiency
Author: Crompton, Catherine Alicia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3397 1573
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 1995
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This is an exploration of the validity of the generally accepted belief that rural self-sufficiency declined in Victorian England. Three phases of rural self-sufficiency are identified which follow a chronological sequence. The first is household independence, many basic goods and services are produced within the household: there are a small number of specialised craftsmen and tradesmen within the village, but few, if any, shops. This is followed by decline in household independence, but maintenance of village self-sufficiency with the presence of at least basic specialised crafts and trades and some shops. The final stage is erosion of village self-sufficiency: loss of essential services, leading to hierarchical dependence on services provided by towns. The main data sources used are the unpublished census enumerators' books and the trade directories. Their validity as primary sources is assessed in the context of their suitability for macro- and micro-level studies of rural crafts and trades. Rural service provision over time is explored, initially, at the county level, then focusing on two agricultural areas containing 31 parishes. The status of craftsmen and tradesmen within their local communities is examined in two self-sufficient villages, St. Paul's Walden and Much Hadham. The county-wide study showed that a significant proportion of Hertfordshire villages retained their self sufficiency in basic crafts and trades at least until the beginning of the twentieth century. Self-sufficiency was the predominant system of rural service provision in villages in the Buntingford area from the mid-nineteenth century until at least the 1890s. In contrast, the predominant system of rural service provision in villages in the Stevenage area changed from self sufficiency at mid-century to hierarchical dependence on central villages and neighbouring towns by the 1890s. The study of individual craftsmen and tradesmen revealed evidence of declining economic status and downward social mobility among craftsmen and tradesmen in both the parishes examined in detail.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: History