Irish, Catholic and Scouse: The History of the Liverpool-Irish, 1800-1939

By John Belchem | Go to book overview

4
Faith and Fatherland:
Ethno-Sectarian Collective Mutuality

ALTHOUGH privileged in historical studies, 'top-down' institutional and charitable provision needs to be assessed in wider context, taking account of the various networks, formal and otherwise, by which migrants themselves adjusted to new surroundings. Working through family links, social connections and regional solidarities, many arrived in Liverpool through chain migration, with those already at destination helping newcomers (in classic 'moving European' fashion) to find jobs and housing, thereby protecting them from disorientation, dislocation and anomic behaviour.1 Unknown arrivals who lacked such support mechanisms had to integrate themselves into street or court networks of mutual aid. Invariably run by women, those who gave expected to become recipients themselves when the wheel of fortune, or the family cycle, took a turn for the worse. Newcomers to the north end courts were quickly welcomed and enlisted, as an interviewee reported to Hugh Shimmin:

Why, before my wife had got her furniture put into any sort of order, she
had been visited by half the women in the court—in a friendly way, of
course. One and all wished her good luck; some wanted to borrow pans and
mugs, some wished her to join them in a subscription to bury a child that
was dead in the top house; others that had joined for a little sup of drink,
wished her to taste with them; some wanted her to subscribe to a rafe for
a fat pig, which had been fed in the cellar where it now was.2

1 For a useful comparative and 'systemic' perspective on migration, see Leslie Page
Moch, Moving Europeans: Migration in Western Europe since 1650, Bloomington, IN, 1992, in
particular pp.16–18 and 103–60.

2 Quoted in H. Shimmin, 'The courts at Christmas time', in J. Walton and A. Wilcox,

-95-

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Irish, Catholic and Scouse: The History of the Liverpool-Irish, 1800-1939
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables vi
  • List of Abbreviations vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction: 'A Piece Cut of from the Old Sod Itself' 1
  • Part One - 1800–1914 25
  • 1: Poor Paddy 27
  • 2: 'the Lowest Depth' 56
  • 3: The Holy Sanctity of Poverty 70
  • 4: Faith and Fatherland 95
  • 5: Electoral Politics 121
  • 6: Extra-Parliamentary Politics 157
  • 7: 'Pat-Riot-Ism' 186
  • 8: Cultural Politics 198
  • 9: Leisure: Irish Recreation 216
  • Part Two - 1914–39 247
  • 10: The First World War 249
  • 11: The Liverpool-Irish and the Irish Revolution 263
  • 12: Depression, Decline and Heritage Recovery 297
  • Bibliography 324
  • Index 351
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