Property is central to any historical analyses of production, reproduction and consumption. It lies at the heart of discussions of material culture, class relations and the household economy. Recent work has begun to look beyond the acquisition and possession of goods to examine what the disposal, transmission and giving of property might tell us about changing society and culture. This landmark collection of articles represents a wide range of approaches to and perspectives on the ownership, use and transmission of property in eighteenth and nineteenth-century towns. An introductory essay highlights the importance of property and inheritance in shaping social, cultural, economic and political structures and interactions within and between towns and cities. Writing from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, the contributors then explore in detail the changing meaning of property to households and individuals; the social, economic and geographical contexts of inheritance practices; the geography of wealth; the role of gender in shaping property relations and, perhaps above all, the enduring link between property, the family and the household in urban contexts.
'…these essays represent fine pieces of historical empiricism, offer important findings about the nature of middle-class social life…and will be a must for those working on the history of testamentary documents in the period.' Continuity and Change
Contents: Introduction; Alastair Owens and Jon Stobart; Town versus country: the property of everyday consumption in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Lorna Scammell; Meanings of property and the world of the petite bourgeoisie, Geoffrey Crossick; Property, will making and estate disposal in an industrial town, 1800-1857, Alastair Owens; Social and geographical contexts of property transmission in the eighteenth century, Jon Stobart; The role of London in Britain’s wealth structure, 1809-99: further evidence, W. D. Rubinstein; Inheritance and the family: the Scottish urban experience in the 1820s, Ann McCrum; Women, property and inheritance: wealth creation and income generation in small English towns, 1750-1835, Penelope Lane; Independent women, wealth and wills in nineteenth-century London, David R. Green; Bibliography; Index.