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FOREIGN SAILORS IN NELSON’S NAVY: A forgotten story

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars against France (1793-1815), the Royal Navy recruited thousands of foreign sailors. New research by Sara Caputo of the University of Cambridge reconstructs these men’s experiences for the first time, as well as giving an indication of the size of the phenomenon.

Her quantitative study conducted on a sample of crews – chosen among those serving the furthest away from Britain and thus most likely to include foreigners – reveals that around one in seven of the seamen (616 out of 4,392) were born outside Britain or Ireland. Aboard one of the ships stationed in Jamaica in 1813, the proportion rose from 14% to 23%.

DECIMALISING THE POUND: A victory for informed opinion not ‘creeping Europeanisation’

Date:
04 Apr 2018

Summary:

Some media commentators have identified the decimalisation of the UK’s currency in 1971 as the start of a submerging of British identity. For example, writing in the Daily Mail, Dominic Sandbrook characterises it as ‘marking the end of a proud history of defiant insularity and the beginning of the creeping ­Europeanisation of ­Britain’s institutions.’ 

New research by Andy Cook of the University of Huddersfield draws on Cabinet papers, Bank of England archives, Parliamentary records and other sources to reveal that this interpretation is spurious. It reflects more modern preoccupations with the arguments that dominated much of the Brexit debate, rather than the actual motivation of key players at the time.

FINANCIAL NEOLIBERALISM: How a revolution in the British insurance industry paved the way for Mrs Thatcher’s popular capitalism

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

Many of the Thatcher government’s reforms geared towards promoting popular capitalism and property ownership were simply pushing at an open door, according to research by Thomas Gould of the University of Bristol, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference.

His study shows how unitised insurance policies and mathematical finance re-engineered the landscape of British capitalism by undermining the scientific foundations and appeal of traditional forms of protective insurance, such as industrial life insurance policies, annuities and defined benefit pension schemes.

WORLD WAR II PROMOTED RACIAL INTEGRATION IN AMERICA’S SOUTH

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

During the Second World War, the share of black workers in semi-skilled occupations in the American South increased as they filled vacancies created by wartime casualties among semi-skilled whites. Working together in factories improved social relations between black and white communities outside the workplace. 

These are the key findings of research by Andreas Ferrara of the University of Warwick, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference. The study addresses the historic experience of segregation in the United States, and applies the findings to the question of how to promote integration of minority groups, a topic of current international concern.

BRITAIN’S CITY CENTRES SINCE WWII: New study of people’s everyday experiences

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

New research sheds light on the experiences of people in British city centres since the end of the Second World War. The study, produced by urban historians Dr Lucy Faire and Dr Denise McHugh, examines how changes to town and city centres affected the lives of ordinary people. 

Their study, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference, is unique in using social media as a key source for researching urban history, along with film, photographs and newspapers. Dr McHugh says: ‘The history of post-war city centres has been written from the perspectives of planners rather than focusing on the lived experience of ordinary people and how they adapted to the quite dramatic changes the period brought’.

ECONOMIC CHALLENGES FOR EUROPE’S SOUTHERN PERIPHERY: Lessons from the classical gold standard era

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

New research explores why Italy, Portugal and Spain were unable to remain inside the gold standard in its classical period, 1872-1913. The study by Alba Roldan, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference, analyses the common structural problems affecting these three southern European peripheral economies at that time, as well as potential lessons for today. 

The classical gold standard was the monetary system for most western countries. It was based on fixed exchange rates between 1872 and 1913, during which time Italy, Portugal and Spain suffered devaluations and could not keep their exchange rates stable.

THE IMPACT OF HOUSING QUALITY IN CHILDHOOD ON ADULT HEALTH: Historical evidence, 1870-1965

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

The quality of housing during a child’s growth phase is a significant influence on adult health and life expectancy, according to research by Carolin Schmidt, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference. The results of this study are particularly relevant for slums in today’s developing countries. 

The international study analyses the long-run relationship between housing quality and adult height between 1870 and 1965. Adult height is commonly used to approximate health, since detailed health indicators as we know them today were not recorded for many countries before the 1950s. 

MASS UNEMPLOYMENT IN INTERWAR BRITAIN: Lessons for underemployment and low mobility today

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

Underemployment can lead to a catastrophic situation that prevents workers from making long-term plans, developing new skills or moving to occupations or locations with better prospects. That is the conclusion of research by Ivan Luzardo, to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference. 

His study shows that the key reason for high and persistent unemployment in 1920s Britain was low rates of internal migration between parts of the country where jobs were often in short supply – the North of England, Scotland and Wales – to job opportunities in the South.

PAUPERS BEHAVING BADLY: Punishment in the Victorian workhouse

Date:
03 Apr 2018

Summary:

New research to be presented at the Economic History Society's 2018 annual conference reports on the avenues for paupers in six Victorian workhouses to express their discontent and how the authorities responded. The study by Samantha Williams of the University of Cambridge reveals that a certain amount of bad behaviour was punished only lightly, but that serious infractions were dealt with more severely. 

The Victorian workhouse has had a fearsome and enduring reputation for cruelty to the poor. Buildings were designed to be imposing and husbands, wives and children were separated. Strict rules were employed for the good behaviour of inmates and any deviation from these rules could result in punishment, from the withholding of meals, to solitary confinement in the refractory ward, to whipping, to a spell in prison with hard labour. 

DEMOCRACY AND TAXATION IN GREECE: A long history of rural favouritism

Date:
30 Mar 2017

Summary:

Greece established universal male suffrage in 1864, while it was still a developing pure agrarian economy, stimulating a shift in the implemented fiscal policy in favour of the rural population. In contrast, in more industrialised European economies, democratisation revealed the political preferences of a more urbanised electorate – mostly consisting of workers and middle class capitalists – leading to changes in fiscal policy that deviate significantly to those observed in an agrarian economy. 

These are the conclusions of new research by Pantelis Kammas and Vassilis Sarantides, to be presented at the Economic History Society’s 2017 annual conference. Their study highlights the importance of economic development in the relationship between democracy and taxation, focusing mainly on the case of Greece during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

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