Apprenticeship migration to three pre-industrial English towns

J. Stiff, P.
(1981) Apprenticeship migration to three pre-industrial English towns. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Tudor and Stuart England was a mobile society. The generally high levels of geographical mobility went hand in hand with various degrees of social and occupational mobility. Some of the most important movements were of people from the countryside to the town, as they were significant as a transfer of resources and an agency of social mobilitYJ their chronological and geographical flows provide an index of both changing urban fortunes and of the levels of spatial integration and economic development upon which these changing fortunes were based. Amongst the types of rural-urban migration, the movement of teenagers to a town to serve an apprenticeship is a particularly valuable topic for study. The training of labour is important in any society and in preindustrial England output could only be raised in many industries through a greater input of labour. The areas from which the apprentices were drawn represent the scale of organisation, economic social and spatial, current in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. This gives an indication of the level of development of the country as it underwent the transition from a society largely based on the discrete daily and weekly contacts around the provincial central places, through an increase in scale to a regional integration based upon county towns, to a~hesive national system. Three county towns were selected, Chester, Gloucester and Shrewsbury, as they each had a good series of apprenticeship records; they represented the foci characteristic of the regional scale of integration and they were associated one with another along the England-Wales border, thus forming a convenient spatial system. The results of the study confirm the findings on mobility in sixteenth and seventeenth century England. Most migrants moved over short distances and a few made long journeys. The propensity to move varied with the status of the apprentices' backgroundsJ generally the higher the status the longer the distance moved. Many apprentices trained in an occupation different to that of their fathers and some of these represented a significant degree of social mobility. Nevertheless, association within the s~me sub-group was common, either based upon the same raw material or upon the type of work undertaken. The three towns organised a regional scale of integration around themselves, reinforcing their roles as important suppliers of goods and services to their hinterlands, the extent of which remained constant throughout the period studied.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2023 09:57
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2023 10:03
DOI: 10.17638/03175880
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