Family Structure in the Staffordshire Potteries, 1840-1880

Family Structure in the Staffordshire Potteries, 1840-1880

Family Structure in the Staffordshire Potteries, 1840-1880

Family Structure in the Staffordshire Potteries, 1840-1880

Synopsis

This study breaks new ground in its analysis of how peole both create and adapt to the process of industrialization. It offers a substantial scholarly case-study of the Potteries, which both complements and in some respects challenges studies of family structure in other areas during the nineteenth century. Marguerite Dupree focuses on family relationships--between husbands and wives, parents and children, individuals and their wider kin network--not in isolation, but in the context of the workplace and of other institutions within the community. She reveals the flexibility of nuclear families with regard to both work and welfare, and highlights the key role of women in shaping the responses of families to their circumstances. Her approach effectively combines demography with social history to offer many valuable insights into industrialization and its impact on family life.

Excerpt

Given the potentially disruptive processes of industrialization and urbanization, what were the patterns of co-residence in the Potteries in 1861, i.e. who lived with whom? Did individuals related by blood or marriage live together? Furthermore, what patterns of relationships existed within nuclear families--between husbands and wives and parents and children, particularly with regard to marriage and family size?

1. Residence Patterns

Although it is important not to exaggerate their significance, patterns of co-residence are relatively easy to measure with census enumerators' books; hence, an examination of census enumerators' books provide a good starting-point for comparison of the patterns of family relationships in the Potteries with other areas, particularly another industrial area such as Preston.

The sample of the census enumerators' books for the Potteries contained 1,373 households, or co-residing groups as Anderson prefers to call them, and 6,707 individuals. By definition, a co-residing group includes all the names listed in an enumerators' book from one entry 'head' in the column headed 'relation to head of family' to the last name preceding the next entry of 'head'. the head is the 'occupier defined in the census as either the resident owner or the person who pays the rent whether for the whole house or for a part of one. the census enumerators' books also indicate separate houses (there were 1,322 in the Potteries sample); so it is possible to distinguish all people living in one house.

The residence patterns that emerge from the enumerators' books reveal that in the Potteries, as in Preston, there were some alternatives to the family as a residential group. But in both areas over 90 per cent of the residents lived in the same household or co-residing group as at least one other person related to them by blood or by marriage; 91 per cent of the 6,707 residents in the Potteries sample lived in the same co-residing group as at least one other person related to them (see Table 2.1). of the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.