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Title: Women workers in Sheffield's metal trades, c.1742-1867
Author: Bracey, Laura Róisín
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 4834
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis will consider the economic and social lives of women who were engaged in Sheffield's metal trades. The timeframe for this research - c.1742-1867 - is significant as 1742 saw the introduction of the crucible method of producing steel and the invention of Old Sheffield Plate. The introduction of the Bessemer converter and large-scale production of steel took place in the 1860s. Sheffield's metal trades constituted a distinctive working context due to the continuation of the workshop-based production, subdivision of labour and the organisation of the industry through the Cutlers' Company. Women's contribution to the labour force during the Industrial Revolution has been the focus of studies since Ivy Pinchbeck's book Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution 1750-1850 was published in 1930, yet still, historians acknowledge the unresolved issues of the scale and nature of women's participation. This study contributes to these debates by considering an industry in which women were a minority in the workforce, and will include analysis of businesswomen and of women employed in the metal trades. These women faced restrictions through a lack of training, discourse against them, and a lack of organisational change by the Cutlers' Company. Despite these restrictions, the metal trades offered some women relatively high wages compared with other industries, although not always a stable form of employment. Women worked in a variety of roles often, but not exclusively, associated with the finishing processes of metal goods. Family was important in this working context, and could bring opportunities to women's working lives. This working environment could enable women's domestic and working roles to be combined. Although women were a minority within the metal trades, their experiences reflected diversity within this group.
Supervisor: Harvey, Karen ; Heath, Andrew ; Duce, Alison Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available