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Title: The Irish middle-class in nineteenth-century Manchester
Author: Smith, Neil
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis examines the presence of a middle class within the Irish migrant community in nineteenth-century Manchester with particular focus on the censuses between 1841 and 1901. The existing story of Irish migration in Manchester implies that there existed a common socio-economic structure across all the Irish migrant community. Whilst this theme dominates the majority of the historiography this thesis examines the middle-class Irish story, which has not been substantially investigated and uncovers a far more nuanced picture than previously acknowledged. The story of Irish poverty and degradation within the poorest of Manchester's working-class districts has been seen as the dominant factor in shaping and sustaining the image of the Irish migrant as a homogeneous lumpen proletariat. This thesis analyses the key role played by contemporary writers and observers who focused exclusively on the direst aspects of the Irish migrant experience. The study shows that the subsequent historiography of the Irish in Manchester and indeed, Britain as a whole, has until recently been dominated by this paradigm. The thesis shows that this 'poor Paddy' interpretation of the Irish in Manchester was not appropriate for a substantial and recognisable minority of the Irishcommunity. The nature of the Irish middle-class is placed within the wider context of both the host and migrant communities, and the social stratification therein. The influence of an Irish diasporic elite on the political, commercial and cultural life of the city has previously been neglected and this thesis seeks to rectify this. This research is unique and original and will offer a significant contribution to the historiography by identifying levels of social stratification within the Irish migrant community in nineteenth- century Manchester. Therefore, this thesis adds to the Irish-migrant story in Manchester, an aspect of their experience which until now has not received the academic focus it warrants, and thus the nature of the Irish middle-class is placed within the wider literature on the Irish in Manchester.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral