First published in 1978. Mid-Victorian Britain was relatively stable in comparison with the turbulent period that preceded it, and that stability is in part explained by the emergence of an artisan elite with a specific relationship to the society around it. This book examines that elite: its clubs and societies, co-operatives and building societies; its values and ideology, challenging the notion that these artisans directly absorbed middle-class values; its politics, tracing the evolution from Chartism through the Reform League and on to a radical liberalism which existed in constant tension with the local liberal middle class.
A careful reconstruction of the social, political and industrial life of these artisans is set within the context of the local communities, and their understanding of the mid-Victorian society in which they lived is seen as the explanation for their values and activities. This title makes a major contribution towards our understanding of the nineteenth-century working class.
Acknowledgements; List of Tables and Maps; 1. Introduction 2. The Growth of Kentish Town 3. Occupations and Industry 4. The Impact of the Workplace 5. Elites and the Community 6. The Artisan Elite: I Stratification 7. The Artisan Elite: II Ideology and Values 8. The Co-operative Movement 9. Friendly Societies 10. Political Ideology and Action 11. Conclusion; List of Sources; Notes; Index