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Social classes

The Editor's Choice below is free to read, but any article marked with the lock symbol requires access to our online archive

EDITOR'S CHOICE

R.J. Morris begins the second part of our special feature on the Industrial Revolution, asking what were the effects of the Industrial Revolution on class and class consciousness in Britain?

The desire to distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor is nothing new, says David Filtness. The founder of the Thames Police, Patrick Colquhoun, was both radical and draconian in his approach to crime and Poor Law reform.

Volume: 64 Issue: 2 2014

In challenging times Britons seek comfort in a past that never existed. Tim Stanley shatters their illusions.

Volume: 63 Issue: 1 2013

Syrie Maugham was a businesswoman and beauty whose interior designs became a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. However her relationships with a series of prominent men left her personal life in tatters. Frances Larson tells her story.

Volume: 63 Issue: 1 2013

Established partly in response to the long-feared French invasion and partly to quell unrest at home, the yeomanry were increasingly used by the authorities to intervene on the side of employers in disputes and riots. The ensuing armed clashes present the clearest example of class warfare in early 19th-century Britain, says Nick Mansfield.  

Volume: 63 Issue: 8 2013

Mike Thomas looks back to a period of economic buoyancy in the Basque region, when a special relationship flourished between the people of Biscay and Britain.

Volume: 62 Issue: 8 2012

The successful Broadway run of The Pitmen Painters, Lee Hall’s drama set in a north-east mining community, has introduced US audiences to a remarkable chapter in British working-class life, writes  Robert Colls.

Volume: 61 Issue: 2 2011

Gated communities may be growing in number but they are nothing new, as Michael Nelson knows from personal experience.

Volume: 61 Issue: 11 2011

R.C. Richardson describes the fortunes of young women driven by poverty into domestic service. A number fell victim to predatory masters and ended up with illegitimate children, only to be ejected from households.

Volume: 60 Issue: 2 2010

Helen Castor visits the History Today archive to find Maurice Keen's 1959 analysis of an important collection of family letters that offer an unparalleled insight into gentry life in 15th-century England.

Volume: 60 Issue: 7 2010

In 1817, during a period of economic hardship following the war with France, a motley crew of stocking-makers, stonemasons, ironworkers and labourers from a Derbyshire village attempted an uprising against the government. It was swiftly and brutally suppressed. Susan Hibbins tells the story of England’s last attempted revolution.

Volume: 60 Issue: 11 2010

As bankers gain pariah status, William D. Rubinstein discusses Britain’s changing attitudes towards the wealthy.

Volume: 59 Issue: 12 2009

In 1381 England witnessed a ‘summer of blood’ as the lower orders, emboldened by the labour shortages that followed the Black Death, flexed their muscle. Dan Jones tells the story of one of medieval England’s most dramatic yet curiously neglected events.

Volume: 59 Issue: 6 2009

Paula Bartley takes issue with those historians who depict the suffragettes of the Pankhursts' Women's Social and Political Union as elitists concerned only with upper- and middle-class women.

Issue: 35 1999

Edward Royle explains how labels were used in early industrial Britain for propaganda rather than description.  

Issue: 29 1997

Bryan Palmer looks at the dialogue between Marxism, class struggle and working-class identity in the changing fortunes of working-class history in North America and beyond.

Volume: 42 Issue: 3 1992

Despite the aspirations of Disraeli and others for 'one nation', the dynamics and disparities of Victorian society inexorably sharpened the sense of class identity and its verbal expression.

Volume: 37 Issue: 3 1987

'Take but degree away... and hark what discord follows' was a Tudor and Stuart commonplace but the neatness and fixity of what we think of as their social order is a creation of historians.

Volume: 37 Issue: 1 1987

Penelope Corfield finds that economic progress and new self-awareness in language and gesture disturbed the tranquility of the ‘Age of Elegance'.

Volume: 37 Issue: 2 1987

'Manners makyth man...' but as the 19th century dawned; English intellectuals became increasingly concerned with expanding education and 'useful knowledge' down to the lower orders.

Volume: 36 Issue: 4 1986

R.J. Morris begins the second part of our special feature on the Industrial Revolution, asking what were the effects of the Industrial Revolution on class and class consciousness in Britain?

Volume: 33 Issue: 5 1983

In this article Rosalind O'Hanlon describes the effects of Hindu religious hierarchies upon the daily life of Untouchables in traditional Indian society and discusses some of the forces associated with British rule that worked to change both the social position of Untouchables and their perception of their position.

Volume: 32 Issue: 5 1982

The purchase system, writes Robert Woodall, was regarded by its opponents as the main obstacle to the creation of professional officer corps.

Volume: 29 Issue: 10 1979

Stella Musulin describes how, in 1848, even the Austrian capital was stirred by the turmoils of reform.

Volume: 28 Issue: 7 1978

Henry Marsh describes how England and Scotland became the first European countries to begin freeing their serfs, towards the close of the twelfth century.

Volume: 24 Issue: 2 1974

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, writes Arthur Calder-Marshall, London became a centre of reforming agitation against poverty and political mismanagement.

Volume: 21 Issue: 6 1971

Michael Jenkins describes how the use to which the nobles put their power and wealth was responsible for the violence of the Revolution in 1917.

Volume: 20 Issue: 2 1970

For about four months, writes Bela Menczer, a Communist government attempted to deal with the problems of the former partner in the Habsburg empire.

Volume: 19 Issue: 5 1969

Richard Wilson describes how, at Ossington, within a period of fifty years, a wealthy Yorkshire merchant family joined the ranks of the Georgian upper classes.

Volume: 18 Issue: 3 1968

R.J. White describes how all sorts and conditions of men, at every stage of transition of a rapidly changing society, crowded the early-nineteenth-century scene.

Volume: 13 Issue: 9 1963

George Woodcock introduces the great rival of Marx and the founder of organized anarchism.

Volume: 11 Issue: 7 1961

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