Category Archives: Women’s History

Candleford, lone women & household headship

Household headship and masculinity have been closely entwined throughout history. In the Victorian period household headship was closely allied with notions of manhood (not surprisingly given the laws of coverture). Yet overlooked by many historians has been the significant incidence … Continue reading

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A woman’s business. Part 2: To honour thy husband’s debts

The majority of women who married in late eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain did not get to live out the idealized role of the Angel in the House from Coventry Patmore’s 1854 poem. Women of the working class were of … Continue reading

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A woman’s business. Part 1: To marry or not to marry

Contrary to popular stereotype, women could and did run businesses in eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain. True, it was somewhat easier for single or widowed women to flex their dainty entrepreneurial ambitions than married women. However, marriage was surprisingly, given … Continue reading

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Ship shape: property ownership of the floating variety

I thought I would turn my attention to a different type of property for this blog post. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that home ownership was not the common form of property ownership in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. … Continue reading

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The wicked & the wretched: Property & the pawnbroker

Property and pawnbrokers shops are intertwined in the Victorian imagination. The exchange is usually an unhappy one, the proprietor being wicked and the customer wretched. In Sketches by Boz Charles Dickens takes us inside just such an establishment on London’s … Continue reading

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Carriages & coverture: Women, property and the law 1790-1860

Dividend Day at the Bank of England by George Elgar Hicks (1859) Across history, women have found themselves vulnerable as economic beings. Their position in relation to ownership of property between 1790-1860 was a often a difficult and dangerous one. … Continue reading

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Parlour propetiers

“The richest crop for any field, is a crop of bricks for it to yield. The richest crop that it can grow, is a crop of houses in a row.” Anon, Tarbuck’s Handbook of House Property (1875) Although renting your … Continue reading

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The unfortunate tale of Mrs Tibbs

Residential properties can double as businesses and in Victorian times opening your house as a boarding or lodging establishment was a popular means of generating an income whilst retaining a comfortable roof over your head. However, inviting paying guest into … Continue reading

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Financial advice from a Victorian banker’s daughter

Guide to the Unprotected in Every-day Matters Relating to Property and Income by A Banker’s Daughter (Second edition, London, 1864) “A good Mortgage is an excellent investment…but much care is necessary.” (p.98) “In purchasing a House, bear in mind that … Continue reading

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