Society & Culture






The purpose of this chapter is threefold: first to outline the concerns of this research; second to introduce the primary sources relevant to the study of the economy, society, politics and culture of late eighteenth century Manchester; third to review briefly the historiography which has a bearing on the themes and issues to be dealt with in the body of the study.


The Purpose of the Study


There is an abundant literature both on textile history and on the history of Manchester in the eighteenth century. Only one substantial work, that of Wadsworth and Mann relates the two to any significant degree. [1] Published in 1931, this neglects many of the insights which arise from the direction taken by British historiography since the War. Writing in 1966, one economic historian bemoans the paucity of research after Wadsworth and Mann "When the cardinal importance of the cotton industry in the British economy of the early nineteenth century is considered, it is remarkable that no general study of its history exists for the years after 1780." [2] Another historian criticises Wadsworth and Mann, because of the abrupt termination of their study: their "story ends in 1780, just before the story really becomes exciting..." [3]


The literature concerning the textile industry touches on Manchester, but limits its consideration of the town to that of textile producer, and, far less frequently, textile consumer. The literature on Manchester focuses on narrow aspects of its history, from single incidents, such as the Shude Hill Fight of 1757, to single individuals, such as the publican John Shaw, or on narrow themes, such as the early theatre or press in the town. There is no syncretic history which includes these disparate themes and para-histories in a single analysis.


This study does not attempt anything quite so ambitious. Its purpose is to focus on the last half of the eighteenth century, reaching forwards and backwards in time when necessary, in order to relate a theme, that of textile production and consumption, to a place, Manchester, the step-mother of the industrial revolution. [4] It is primarily a local study, although a great deal of the work relates exclusively to the textile industry. Part of the study illustrates the changing importance of the textile industry to the economy and society of the town. Previous studies have attempted to quantify the national and even international significance of the textile industries, and much work has focused on cotton, but the significance of cotton textiles to Manchester itself has not been assessed, at least during the period before 1800. Two authors, who have attempted to correct this problem, claim that "in the existing literature Manchester, its business structure and its role in the Industrial Revolution, remains at the level of novelty." [5]

The choice of chronology requires explanation. In 1750, Manchester was similar in many ways to the Manchester of 100 years previously: wool had declined in importance within the regional economy, but continued to be produced, Manchester was fairly introspective, both socially and politically, and this introspection was particularly marked in 1750, Manchester having been bloodied during the Jacobite rising of 1745. The limitations of Wadsworth and Mann's chronology, abruptly terminating in 1780 has already been discussed. By 1800, Manchester was utterly transformed: its population had expanded fourfold, and the town continued to grow at an unprecedented rate. The physical environment of the town had changed, with its smoky factories, combined with the grey and white fabrics drying in bleach crofts around the town. And completely new technologies were at work to produce cotton and other goods.


The year 1800 takes the story to the point where the factory had become commonplace in Manchester, war had interfered with European trade, but had forced merchants to seek out new markets, the control of the conduct of trade was in dispute, new technologies had become common-place, vast fortunes had been sunk into these new technologies (as well as into the old ones), and the town had grown physically and demographically, such that an inhabitant of the 1750s would barely have recognised it.


The method of the work is to take the decades commencing in 1750 and 1790 and to compare them in a number of different ways, whilst not neglecting significant events and data sets slightly outside these time frames. Obviously, the different decades give rise to different types of data, and different sources are of different significance in each of the decades. [6] The purpose of this method is to throw the differences between these two decades into a starker contrast than would be apparent from a straightforward "evolutionary" analysis of events. This approach is not wholly appropriate to the chapter Innovations..., and here the more evolutionary method has largely been used, especially when dealing with the chronology of innovation.


The study focuses in particular on the 1790s, because this helps illuminate the historiographical darkness left by Wadsworth and Mann, and fills in some of the gaps in our understanding of a crucial period in Manchester's history. The stury also shows the extent to which the 1790s was a contested decade. It is of considerable significance that the changes which most visibly characterise the industrial revolution took place when so many other aspects of life were unresolved and uncertain. Within the economy itself, there was the ongoing contest between masters and men, the former eroding working traditions and introducing some factory discipline, and the latter holding out to maintain their traditional rights and invent new ones. There was a contest between two forms of technology: the power-loom and the hand loom. At the time, educated men were split on which technology would emerge from the contest, and the mechanical inadequacy of the new technology left plenty of room for doubt of its eventual "victory". There was also a contest between two loci of production, most marked in the spinning of yarn, although the outcome of this contest was far easier to predict than that of hand-loom production. The factory had almost won the contest by the end of the decade, yet domestic spinning lingered on in some areas. There was additionally a contest of sorts between the sexes: it is unclear, in the Manchester case, of the extent to which this contest was confrontational, but women of all social classes had greater occupational opportunities than they had previously, and were to have again in the later nineteenth century. Economically, there was a contest between free-traders and protectionists in the Manchester cotton industry, the former were yarn-spinners, seeking international markets for their produce, and the latter were weavers, seeking to maintain the domestic industry which they had built up.


All these contests are integral to the study of the town and its economy during the period in question.


The Primary Sources


There are a number of manuscript sources available for the historian of late eighteenth century Manchester. The most obvious one, which allows quantitative comparison to be made with the same source from other towns and parishes, is the Anglican parish register. The register for the Collegiate Church, Manchester's only Anglican church, until the construction of the low-church St Ann's, which began in 1709, is complete for the period 1750-1800. [7] However, the baptismal register does not contain the occupations of fathers of children, rendering it of little value for occupational reconstruction. By contrast, the post-Hardwicke's marriage register contains crucial items of information: details of the parish of origin of both marriage partners, the occupation of the groom, and either the signature or mark of the partners. [8] This source can provide an indication of occupational structures, geographical mobility, and literacy.


Rate Books survive intermittently for Manchester throughout the period, with a particularly good run from 1797 onwards. [9] These give the name of the owner and occupier of each assessable property, an indication of what the property is ( shop, warehouse, factory, etc.), the rateable value of the property, and the rate levied on it. The information is presented by street, and is divided into rating districts. These provide evidence of social and economic zoning in the town, and help determine the amount (or at least the proportion) of fixed building capital used by the different industries and sectors in the town.


There are also a variety of incidental survivals from the period, these include a variety of letters and some business records. [10] The only business records which relate to an enterprise conducted primarily within Manchester are those of the firm of Entwistle and Sturtevant. [11] Whilst the scale of the firm's enterprise is unrepresentative of the sector as a whole, its records are nevertheless useful because they illustrate a number of features which were common to similar business enterprises during the period. [12] The surviving records are patchy, and the main survivals are a debtors' ledger for the last decade of the eighteenth century, showing the scale of debt offered to individual customers, and the partners' capital ledger, for the same period, which shows the investment made in the partnership and its remarkable growth during the period.


There are a number of printed primary sources. Manchester had two newspapers during the period: Harrop's Manchester Mercury, and Whitworth's Advertiser. At first sight the newspapers are an unpromising source for local historical study, their news items being almost entirely devoted to accounts of foreign wars, London bankruptcies, trials of murderers, and accounts of happenings on the plantations in the West Indies. Local references primarily relate either to the births, marriages or deaths of leading citizens of the town and its environs or to imminent or past entertainments, especially those designed for an elite audience. However, their value lies primarily in incidental items such as commercial advertisements and letters. There were advertisements from men seeking or offering work, companies offering to undertake sales or manufacturing by commission, people seeking lost or stolen items, people trying to sell or buy buildings or machinery. They also include occasional letters from readers on such topics as the grain riots, Sunday schools or local subscriptions: these were, of course, largely elite preoccupations, but the occasional letter purportedly from one of the poor is also included, and even the letters of the elite sometimes show the ideological and economic divisions within the that group. In the 1790s, as factional strife increased, they increasingly contain political material and become useful in determining how the political controversies of the period were played out in Manchester's urban polity. Their chief value in the earlier part of the period is in revealing fragmentary evidence of the town's social and commercial life.


Manchester did not generate a rich polemical literature during the period, at least not in comparison to that of London. Local printers did, however, print a number of polemical and other works of considerable local interest during the period, which are of great interest to the historian and have proved useful for this study.


In 1755, The Reverend John Clayton, who had been somewhat disgraced by his support for the Jacobites during the previous decade, wrote Friendly Advice to the Poor of the Town of Manchester. This was, he asserted, "Written and Publish'd at the Request of the late and present Officers of the Town of Manchester". The book asked why so much poverty should be evident in the town, when so much money, both voluntary and statutory, was spent on its alleviation. His conclusion was that "The Poor refuse or neglect to help themselves, and thereby disable their Betters from effectually helping them." [13] He described the culture of the town's poor, stressing those negative aspects, as he saw them, and condemned the poor's idleness, extravagance and household management. Clayton set out an agenda for reform, and his work anticipates the polemics of the Reformation of Manners of the nineteenth century. Throughout, he made occasional reference to scriptural authority in support of his arguments, but his concern is far more with cleanliness than with godliness.


Joseph Stot, who purported to be a cobbler, wrote a satirical and very humorous reply to Clayton's work, in which he settled scores against the officers and inhabitants of the town. It is written from an undisguisedly anti-Jacobite and-Tory perspective. Stot's ostensible purpose is to "endeavour to rectify some small mistakes, which I humbly conceive Mr Clayton has made; - illustrate some of his Observations - mention some Things which he has either forgot, or suppress'd; and conclude with some advice..." [14] His book implicitly criticised the culture of the rich, which he said embodied those vices despised by Clayton, laying special blame on their tendencies to idleness and love of luxury, which he said the poor are trying to imitate. In several pages of rank insubordination to his social superior, he contested many of the Biblical quotations used by Clayton in support of his arguments, compounding this by claiming that his elderly mother-in-law was the author of the refutation- implying her scriptural knowledge was better than that of Clayton. This is one of the relatively few apparent survivals of an artisan representing the "poor" articulating their case in print, although Stot's line was that of a contemporary Whig in confrontation to that of the Tory Clayton, and evidence of this factional political rivalry pervades Stot's work.


Timothy Shuttle's The Smallware Weavers' Apology, published in 1756 is another such example. The book accounts for the existence of the smallware weavers' trade society, establishing its main concern as the decline in the standards in the trade arising from some masters employing too many apprentices, and for too short an apprenticeship. It also incidentally details some trade practices, including how the trade was organised, and gives the rules of the trade society, together with Shuttle's comments thereon. Shuttle states "We apprehend that our Meeting once a Month hath given Offence to some of our Masters, they imagining that we meet to their Detriment". Part of the reason for the book having been written was to allay those fears on the part of the masters and to seek legitimacy, although the quest may have been a vain one as industrial and social unrest became widespread during the following year.


Thomas Percival published his Letter to a Friend: Occasioned by the late disputes betwixt the Check-Makers of Manchester and their Weavers, &c in 1758. He was unable to find any printers in Manchester to print the book, which is highly critical of the town's mercantile elite. Percival was a magistrate and a gentleman, with an estate in Royton, to the north and east of the town. He wrote the book because he believed that the check makers of the town had been spreading lies about his role in their recent dispute with the weavers, they having gone so far to lay information before the Lancaster Assizes in an effort to procure Percival's prosecution and removal from the Bench. The book contains a detailed account of Percival's version of his involvement in the dispute, and what he knew about that of the check masters. The tone is one of intense disdain for the check manufacturers, who, as a group, Percival sees as arriviste. The author's strong feeling of having been seriously slighted by these men pervades the whole work, making it an interesting text for the study of the relationship between the rural gentry and the urban manufacturing elite.


In 1783, James Ogden  published A Description of Manchester by a Native of the Town. The book is substantially given over to topographical and antiquarian matters, providing a comprehensive summary of those aspects of the physical appearance of the town likely to be of interest to "learned readers" at the time. It also provides some detail of the nature and conduct of trade in the town, together with an extremely scanty historical account of the development of the textile industries. Ogden's work was severely circumscribed because of the fear of international industrial espionage: he was loathe to provide too much detail of the textile industry and especially its machinery. This fear of industrial espionage was to increase over the course of the next twodecades.


Thomas Walker was a Manchester fustian, muslin and calico merchant, and during the 1780s was active in the anti-slave trade movement in Manchester, and a number of other, broadly progressive causes. He was a leading merchant and was boroughreeve in 1790.  In 1793 he was tried for sedition and treason and fought for his life in court. In 1794, he published a book detailing the "party violence in Manchester", which he claims commenced in 1789 during the debate on the Test and Corporation Acts. [15] He described the creation of a number of opposing political societies, and the way in which the Manchester elite used and abused the law enforcement machinery of the town and county to support their politics and to destroy opposition .(the apparent severity of political strife and the partiality of the law is also dealt with by Bamford). [16] Walker's concern was to show that his activities had been "respectable" and that those of his opponents had been reprehensible. The account provides much detail of Manchester's political life during the most turbulent period since the Jacobites had occupied the town in 1745.


On the coat tails of the political dispute arose one surrounding the taxation of the town. A body calling itself "The Associated Ley-payers of the Township of Manchester" published a highly critical account of the town's officers accusing them of partiality and gross incompetence in their failure to collect the town's rates, resulting in a considerable increase being made in the rates for those inhabitants who actually paid. Whilst the original intention of the Ley-payers was to determine the cause of a sudden increase in the Poor Rate, their interest extended to more general areas of the civic government of Manchester. They criticised the incumbents for having too many offices, treating themselves out of the rates, being something of a self-perpetuating oligarchy, and failing to manage the Workhouse efficiently. The debate was continued by a number of pamphlets by Thomas Battye, who was concerned to reveal all the civic abuses he could find. [17]


John Aikin's A Description of the Country... was published in 1794. Whilst in many ways this was similar in style to the county histories which came into vogue from the middle of the century, it is distinctive in its recognition of the importance of industry and commerce in the Manchester region. Although references are made to the seats of the local gentry, and to antiquarian curiosities, the emphasis given to them is far less than in similar works from the period, and in this respect, the work is in marked contrast to that of Ogden, which begins with an extensive description of the topographical and architectural features of the town. In Aikin, there is an explicit understanding that Manchester is at the centre of an industrial and commercial region, and parts of this work detail the relationships between different towns in that region, and chronicle the changing infrastructural developments (especially the construction of the canals) which accompanied industrial growth. The title of Aikin's work reveals that he saw Manchester as being at the centre of the regional economic system, and he devotes a considerable amount of space to the town, making almost no reference to the subordinate townships in the parish of Manchester. The work is valuable in highlighting the primacy of textile production throughout the Manchester region in the very early factory period.


William Radcliffe's Origin of the New System of Manufacture... was published in 1828, but a substantial portion of the book contains early biographical material, and gives accounts of industrial developments and disputes which took place before the turn of the century. The biographical information includes details of Radcliffe's experiences of the domestic system, and his setting up to trade on his own account as a putter-out, going on to become a substantial manufacturer in his own right. The book is a polemical work which describes how, and, crucially, why, power-loom weaving was introduced, and endeavours to provide the author with his page of history, and to prove that he had been right in the economic and commercial views which had guided his life during the previous forty years. The polemic is that it was a folly to export spun cotton to industrial competitors in the German states and elsewhere on the continent, and that British cotton should be woven by British weavers. Radcliffe's account of the disputes around this issue provide extensive evidence of intra-elite conflict at the latter end of the century. [18] Much incidental information is also provided of the nature and scale of the cotton industry during this period.


Samuel Bamford's "Passages in the Life of a Radical" was first published in 1848.  It is an autobiographical account of life in and around Manchester, the first volume of which concentrates on the years immediately before and immediately after the turn of the century. Bamford was variously involved in a number of different aspects of the cotton industry, (although, unlike his father, always in the capacity of employee) and provides accounts of these. He also furnishes extensive evidence of popular cultural practices and beliefs during the period, some of them relating to the workplace. In his later life, Bamford was involved in radical politics, and parts of the first volume of his autobiography detail the early political experiences which led up to this involvement.


The Secondary Literature


The secondary literature with a bearing on this study can be divided into four types, of which this section discusses the first three. The first is the early literature on the cotton industry, which is primarily descriptive, and similar in type to that of Ogden and Aikin, but which falls outside the chronological time-frame sufficiently to be a secondary, rather than a primary source. The second is the later literature on the cotton industry which is more than descriptive and has some more substantial analytical content. The third is the literature on the history of Manchester. The fourth is the literature which describes and interprets the broader social and economic themes which are demonstrated or challenged by the Manchester experience during the period.


The primary value of the early literature on the cotton industry is in outlining the chronology of the "externals" of the industry, the inventions and the very visible changes which took place, the careers of the inventors and major merchants, and matters of that sort. A later historian says of this literature "The studies by Baines and Ellison in the last century, and the analysis by Professor Chapman, present many useful facts, but fail to raise many important questions." [19] The value of the later, more analytical literature on the cotton industry is in facilitating the interpretation of the former, and enabling the significance of the externals to be put into a broader context. The Manchester histories are primarily useful for providing background information relating to the history of the town during the period, although one work, Lloyd-Jones and Lewis, falls between the second and third groups of literature, in that it is an important analytical contribution to the history of the textile industry, but it is also a local historical study of Manchester, albeit of a slightly later period. The value of the fourth is in assisting with the interpretation of the social and economic phenomenon evident in the town during the period, and reference to this literature is made in the body of the text when relevant.


The first major secondary source relating to the cotton industry is Edward Baines' History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain, published in 1835. [20] Baines' account is primarily descriptive, and he states his purpose as "It is the object of this volume to record the rise, progress, and present state of this great manufacture". [21] He discusses a speculative early history of cotton manufacture, using biblical references, and obviously not confining his work to Great Britain. He goes on to describe the inventions and inventors of the mid and late eighteenth century, and takes his study up to the developments which took place in the 1830s, at the time of writing. Baines' account was written at a time of growth, and as his quoted purpose shows, a time of optimism for the industry's future. Its main value is in outlining the eighteenth and nineteenth century chronology of the cotton industry, and in references to primary sources.


S.J. Chapman's The Lancashire Cotton Industry, of 1904, is far more modern in tone than that of Baines, although his stated purpose in writing the work is not really dis-similar "This essay is intended chiefly as a description and explanation of the typical forms that have appeared from time to time in the production of commodities, the marketing of commodities and the distribution of income, in the Lancashire Cotton industry." [22] The descriptive element is uppermost in the work, and Chapman, following Baines, takes his story up to the present day. Chapman is more concerned with labour relations and the conditions of work than is Baines, whose work makes very little reference to those employed in a manual capacity in the industry. Chapman also devotes more of his work to the marketing of cotton than did his predecessors.


The first significant secondary work to take Manchester as its focus was Wadsworth and Mann's The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire 1600-1780, published in 1931. This is a remarkably enduring work and is often cited in modern works of scholarship.Many of the, sometimes tentative, conclusions made by the authors have been borne out by subsequent historical research. The two authors sought to examine the organisation and social background of the Lancashire textile industry, and the growth of the cotton trade. [23] They wrote at time when "the economic history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is still largely a trackless territory, across which each must drive his own paths." [24] The book has a more sophisticated approach than the accumulation of facts presented by previous authors such as Baines, and is far more comprehensive in its coverage of the textile industry. Its focus, however, is very much on production and sale of textiles, and it gives little attention to the broader question of the locus of this activity, although consideration is given to the social dimension of labour, and relations between the manufacturers and their employees. No consideration is given to the relationship between trade and the politics of Manchester, or to the local cultures within which social and economic activity were conducted, these historical concerns being a product of post-war historiography.


Edwards' The Growth of the British Cotton Trade 1780-1815, published in 1967, did not really answer the demands of economic historians for an extension to the researches of Wadsworth and Mann, even though its chronology commences where theirs concluded. The focus of Edwards' study is very much on the trade of cotton, and as such it fills in the many of the gaps in historians knowledge of the marketing of cotton goods.


Lloyd-Jones and Lewis' "Manchester and the Age of the Factory", is based on an extensive analysis of the town's rate books for the years 1815 and 1825, in order to effect a reconstruction of "the total business structure", by which is meant the number of firms involved in the different urban industries, and the apparent value of the fixed capital invested in the buildings which housed the firms involved in those industries. It is the first work to focus exclusively on Manchester, and whilst it takes a later period than that of this study, its methods and conclusions are of considerable importance in the broader field of Manchester studies. Lloyd-Jones and Lewis' work is valuable in stressing "an understanding of Manchester's business system during a vital stage of the Industrial revolution requires a detailed analysis of the business relationship between factory and warehouse." [25] Their concern is, however, not solely with a quantitative analysis of the rate books or even the commercial dynamics of its parts: they look at some aspects of the broader cultural environment within which business operates. They "explore the proposition that the business relationship between factory and warehouse was not only economic in content but was mediated by a distinctive political economy which had profound implications for the structural coherence of Manchester's business community." [26] However, the authors neglect the social side of the business structure, and have succeeded in producing a business history that has entrepreneurs, but lacks workers, and their work, whilst innovative, original and a major contribution to our knowledge of Manchester during the period, is also partial and slanted.


Rose's The Lancashire Cotton Industry, is a compilation of essays, largely based on secondary literature, which takes a number of themes in Lancashire's textile history from the early eighteenth century through to the demise of the industry after the second world war. [27] Rose contributes an essay on the early industry, summarising the extant secondary literature on the subject. Timmins writes on technological change in the industry, using similar secondary sources to those of Rose, and discussing both invention and innovation, with the focus being very much on the former. Levitt writes about clothing and fashion, and has very few Lancashire references in the part of her essay which covers the period up to 1800, but provides a useful introduction to a subject which has inexplicably received little attention from historians until the last few years. As Levitt notes "Every yard of cotton ever woven was created for a specific purpose, yet surprisingly little has been written about the end products of this vast industry, which ranged from bandages and belting for machinery, to sheets and pillowslips, to exquisite ballgowns." [28] Schoeser writes on the subject of design, another under-researched theme in textile history, and after outlining the methodological problems, proceeds with an account which draws on many Lancashire examples. The remainder of the book focuses on the period after the turn of the century.


Redford's monumental The History of Local Government in Manchester was published in 1939, and endeavours "to trace the course of local administration through several centuries." [29] Redford's work is of a narrative rather than an analytical nature, and is akin to that of constitutional theory. Individuals are, therefore, largely absent in his account, whereas the evolution of offices is important. Local politics and the impact of the external, social and economic, environment are neglected. It is, nevertheless, a monumental work, both in terms of length, and as a sourcework for the evolution of Manchester's formal administrative machinery from earliest times to the twentieth century.


Vigier's Change and Apathy is a study of local government, and the problems it faced, in Manchester and Liverpool around the time of the Industrial Revolution. His aim was "to enhance our comprehension of the role of local government in shaping the urban environment during a period of far-reaching and rapid change." [30] His method is considerably more analytical than that or Redford's and he considers the problems confronted by local government and the efforts to reshape local administration to face the challenges posed by industrialisation. Like Redford, however, his focus is very much on the formal institutions set up by legislation and charter, and he neglects the informal execution of political and economic power.


As the above outline of the approaches and content of the major works suggests, there is a considerable literature in existence concerned with both the general development of the textile industry, and aspects of the early history of Manchester. This study links these two broad strands of history, and looks at the relationships between the development of both the industry and the place which later became synonymous with cotton.


The Structure of the Dissertation


The chapter "The Manchester Region" shows that there was an economically distinct region, with Manchester at its centre, during the period in question. It delineates the Manchester region and illustrates the changes which took place in its economic topography, using a number of quantitative proxy measures. The various towns and villages had different "functions" to play in Manchester's regional economic system, and these functions became more important and clearly identifiable by the end of the period, there being a major structural adjustment in the economy of the Manchester region between c1760 and 1800.


The chapter "Innovations in Industrial and Commercial Processes" takes up the familiar account of the industrial inventions which made possible the industrial revolution, but supplements this with a chronology of innovation, largely based on the evidence of the local press, showing when these inventions were actually used in the town, and within the region. This chapter also describes changes to the commercial side of the industry, another neglected aspect of textile history, and outlines the processes and personnel involved in warehousing.


"The Changing Economic Structure of Manchester" locates the textile industry within the broader context of the urban economy of Manchester, largely by an analysis of the town's changing occupational structure. The characteristics of labour within the Manchester region are also discussed, and the continuities between the pre and early industrial periods are thus highlighted. A considerable section is devoted to a conceptual and analytical study of the Manchester market, which demonstrates the inter-connectedness of economic variables in the growth of the market. The importance of capital in the industrial revolution is also discussed in the local context.


"Society and Demography of Manchester" opens by addressing the vexed and disputed issue of the size of Manchester's population during the latter half of the eighteenth century. The second part of the chapter is entirely new and is an account of the changing social structure of Manchester during the period, and the literacy of the town's inhabitants.


"Politics, Power and Conflict", whilst acknowledging the work of Vigier and Redford on the formal institutions of power during the last half of the eighteenth century is more concerned with the informal execution of power. It shows the existence of a "secret government", largely constituted of members of the town's mercantile elite, who were active in a variety of social, economic and political causes. It also addresses the imbalance in most studies of power in the industrialising city (and certainly evident in both Redford and Vigier), and shows how the labouring masses exercised some power of their own. The nature and origin of conflict between the different formal and informal holders of power is also considered.


"The Cultures of Late Eighteenth Century Manchester" recreates aspects of the urban culture of the period through a consideration of the extent to which deference was an element in popular culture and the nature of the culture of the workplace. It demonstrates the importance of cultural negotiation throughout the period, even during the turbulent recreation of labouring culture which was taking place in the 1790s with the innovation of the urban factory. A consideration of the commercial culture of the middling sort highlights the ideological inconsistency of the political economy of the Manchester textile producers, and takes up some of the themes discussed in Lloyd-Jones and Lewis. An important sub-theme of this chapter is the early origins of the reformation of manners and the middle-class project of the early Victorian era, which are evident in Manchester as early as the 1750s.


The conclusion draws together the several strands of the study and discusses those aspects of the history of Manchester in the period which require further research.







[1] - The work of Lloyd-Jones and Lewis, whilst far more restricted in its scope, relates Manchester and the textile industry, but for the period 1815-1825.


[2] - W.H. Chaloner, introduction to Baines, p 5.


[3] - Edwards, 1967, p 1.


[4] - This slightly cumbersome phrase is used because Manchester's claim to being the home or "cradle" of the Industrial Revolution is based on the early presence of factories in the town. The presence of factories in Manchester was preceded by their presence in the rural parts of the Manchester region, and even outside the classically understood region, in such places as Derbyshire. Manchester "adopted" factories at an early date, but "factories" as generally understood were not native to the town.


[5] - Lloyd-Jones and Lewis, p 6.


[6] - For example, local newspapers are a very limited source for the history of the 1750s, but for the 1790s they are amongst the most valuable sources. This is partly the result of a ntional trend to both include more news and advertisements, and partly a reflection of the external changes in Manchester's economy: as it became an important regional marketing centre, the local media became of significance to those involved in marketing.


[7] - St Ann's church did not conduct marriages during the period under study.


[8] - Hardwicke's Act (1753) was designed to make marriage a more public event in order to prevent elopements and the performance of instant marriages. It required the publication of banns and the completion of a pro-forma marriage register, which required the provision of more information than most clergymen and their clerks had previously recorded.


[9] - A detailed analysis of the Rate Books for the years 1815 and 1825 form the basis of Lloyd-Jones and Lewis' study of Manchester.


[10] - Lee's work is based on the records of McConnel and Kennedy, cotton spinners, who came to be based in Manchester in the nineteenth century, and had a presence in the town during the 1790s. Lee, 1972.


[11] - In the 1788 Directory of Manchester, they are described as check and fustian manufacturers.


[12] - Their unrepresentativeness is highlighted by Radcliffe's description of John Entwistle as "not only the greatest merchant in Manchester, but decidedly the most industrious and clever tradesman in the town", Radcliffe, p 19.


[13] - Clayton, p 4.


[14] - Stot, p 8.


[15] - Walker, 1794.


[16] - This is also detailed by Thompson, 1984, p 126


[17] - Battye 1796, 1797.


[18] - The evidence of Radcliffe is much used by Lloyd-Jones and Lewis in their Fifth Chapter, even though much of Radcliffe's detail relates to a decade before the mid-1810s, which is the commencement of their chronology.


[19] - Edwards, p 1.


[20] - Baines also wrote an important early history of Lancashire, Baines, 1825.


[21] - Baines, p 7.


[22] - Chapman, p i.


[23] - Wadsworth and Mann, p v.


[24] - Wadsworth and Mann, p v.


[25] - Lloyd-Jones and Lewis, p 2.


[26] - Lloyd-Jones and Lewis, pp 2-3


[27] - Rose, 1996.


[28] - Levitt, in Rose, (ed.), p 154.


[29] - Redford, p vii.


[30] - Vigier, p 2.