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Title: An examination of the changing experience of Irish female migrants in Liverpool, from the Great Famine to post-World War Two re-development
Author: Taylor, Pamela
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2014
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Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Liverpool's world-wide transport links, and its close proximity to Ireland, rendered it a most convenient - if not always the most welcoming - destination for large numbers of female migrants. Therefore, the initial purpose of this study is to compare the migration experience of Irish women who settled in Liverpool between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, to examine whether that experience changed over time and, if it did, to establish the nature of that change. Beginning with an examination of the perception of the Irish by their British neighbours, and how extremely high levels of settlement in Liverpool shaped attitudes there, exploration is made of the way these attitudes were reflected in that city's treatment of Irish migrants. Secondly, consideration is given to expressions of prevailing ideology surrounding women's role within the home and in the wider society, that the influences and pressures that were brought to bear upon Iirsh women - in Ireland and in Britain - might be examined. Thirdly, examination is made of the economic climate in Liverpool, particularly in connection with female work opportunities, which set the scene for examination of employment trends amongst female migrants. The scale of the Irish presence in Liverpool, and its impact, coloured local perceptions for many years, the sense of and alien 'other' in their midst frequently errupting in expressions of resentment and hostility. Meanwhile, attitudes towards women - in Ireland and in Britain - saw society seek to control them through the imposition of social, moral and economic restrictions, and penalize those who stepped beyond these perameters. Moreover, Liverpool's over-reliance upon maritime commerce, rather than manufacturing, presented women with few opportunities for gainful employment. Those available were very often low status, poorly paid, and confined to a narrow range, yet underemployment amongst men in Liverpool rendered women's earnings an essential part of family incomes. In response, Irish women moved into occupations less popular with locally-born women, and made them their own, becoming particularly noted as street vendors and domestic servants. Indeed, the steady stream of female migrants willing to work in domestic service ensured that it remained a major field of female employment in Liverpool far longer than in other parts of Britain, even during the Second World War. In the process they created a tradition of working mothers which drew criticism from those in authority, and the attention of social reformers. Migration changed the lives of these women, it changed the country they left, and it changed the city that became their new home.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: DA Great Britain