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Title: The transformation of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, 1680-1831
Author: Cox, Gregory Stevens
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1994
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The argument of this study is that during the eighteenth century the Guernsey merchants displayed considerable entrepreneurial energy and initiative. By improving the harbour facilities of St Peter Port and by establishing a network of factors throughout the Atlantic world, the merchants successfully developed St Peter Port as a major entrepot. Trade, not privateering, was the fundamental source of the town's prosperity. The entrepot attracted foreign merchants and migrants to St Peter Port. Port. New port industries replaced the old putting-out system of stocking knitting. The influx of migrants, combined with natural increase, created significant population growth. As the town became increasingly prosperous, the merchants rivalled one another in conspicuous consumption. By the second half of the 18th century the elite of St Peter Port were consciously imitating the metropolitan fashions of London. The town acquired many of the amenities characteristic of Dr Borsay's "English urban renaissance" - a promenade, theatre, assembly rooms, purpose-built markets and new civic buildings. However, the influx of English migrants created cultural pluralism. The traditional French system of status designation broke down; and the elite fashioned an alternative form of social segregation by moving to the outskirts of the town. Throughout the 18th century the urban morphology was shaped and reshaped by the merchants as they organised the town to suit their requirements. By the early 19th century the town boasted a wide range of retailers catering to the wealthy. Paradoxically, despite the emergence of this new "middling" class, the pattern of income distribution remained constant. This thesis is, in part, revisionist. Hitherto the history of St Peter Port in the 18th century has been described in terms of privateers and privateering success. The thesis also attempts (for the first time) to quantify the volume and value of the town's trade. Finally, the entrepot trade is seen as the engine of growth that led to the "Englishing" and modernising of this town.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available