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Title: The non-elite consumer and 'wearing apparel' in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, 1800-1850
Author: Toplis, Alison
ISNI:       0000 0003 8247 8405
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2008
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The routine consumption patterns of ordinary consumers in the first half of the nineteenth century, particularly those in the provinces, have been neglected. This thesis sheds light on this area by investigating one particular commodity, clothing. To undertake this, a range of archival sources, visual evidence and surviving dress relating to the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire have been examined. The data has enabled an analysis of the consumption of clothing in different locations within the two counties, including county towns, industrial regions and villages, to be carried out. The results have highlighted the many different methods of clothing supply available to the non-elite consumer, which included shop retailing, itinerant selling, illicit networks and clothing distributed via the Poor Law and charity. The thesis demonstrates firstly that the non-elite consumer could obtain clothing from a variety of outlets, using different acquisition methods. Secondly, it shows that this clothing varied in both style and the way it was manufactured, often depending on the supply network utilised. The thesis questions assumptions about the availability of ready-made clothing, the nature of retailing clothing in rural areas, the decline of hawking and peddling, the non-elite use of clothing shops and non-elite consumers’ relationship with fashion. It emphasizes that non-elite consumers had a complex relationship with their clothing, influenced in part by personal preference, gender, economic circumstances and stage in the life-cycle. This thesis shows the multifarious ways non-elite, provincial consumers acquired and wore their clothing.
Supervisor: Ugolini, Laura ; Wanklyn, Malcolm ; Ponsonby, Margaret Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Clothing ; Textiles ; Retail history ; Ready-made ; Non-elite ; Consumer ; Herefordshire ; Worcestershire ; Working classes ; Shops