Doctoral thesis, Durham University (2010)
This thesis explores the place of consumer goods in the culturally changing environment of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain. It specifically focuses on the production and consumption of consumer goods in Northumberland, Newcastle and Durham between c. 1680 to 1780. It places the region in a national context and analyses how the diffusion of national taste encouraged the production and consumption of consumer goods in Newcastle, Northumberland and Durham.
Chapter One outlines the historical context, theoretical problems and research questions that frame this thesis. Chapter Two creates an overview of the regional economy. It maps the establishment of consumer industries and discusses their geographical location. Chapter Three analyses the supply side factors that allowed the development of multiple industries. It considers the use of the region’s natural raw materials, the importation of raw materials, the role of indigenous landowners and merchant-gentry in the consumer industries, and the movement of skilled craftsmen to the region. Chapter Four focuses on the products manufactured in the local industries. It details the cultural changes that encouraged the creation of new types of consumer goods and analyses the markets these products were destined for. Chapter Five analyses Newcastle’s connection to other region’s in Britain through the coasting trade. It details the expansion of vessels destined for the Tyne and variety of products entering Newcastle, especially those from London. Chapter Six focuses on retailing, the lynch-pin connecting production and consumption. It traces the chronological growth of retailing and the gradual transition of facilities in the region in response to the availability of consumer goods. Chapter Seven considers the adoption and ownership of new good by the region’s middling sorts. Chapter Eight analyses ownership and consumption in a more qualitative manner focusing on individuality, debtors and paupers, and consumption of local goods by indigenous gentry.