‘I can barely provide the common necessaries of life’: Material Wealth over the Life-Cycle of the English Poor, 1790-1834

Harley, Joseph (2022) ‘I can barely provide the common necessaries of life’: Material Wealth over the Life-Cycle of the English Poor, 1790-1834. In: The Working Class at Home, 1790–1940. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 25-45. ISBN 978-3-030-89272-2

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89273-9_2

Abstract

This chapter considers how the poor’s ability to consume household goods, food, fuel, and clothing changed over the life-cycle. Using pauper inventories, pauper letters, and autobiographies, it argues that during relatively prosperous years the poor were able to acquire a wide range of goods. However, during difficult periods such as old age and sickness, people went cold, their children became malnourished and ill-clothed, and many of their household goods were pawned or sold. Family priorities shifted at these points and people redirected their resources to acquiring the most basic items. This research thus offers an important intervention by showing how material gains could be precarious and how people could go through several cycles of being materially rich and materially poor over their lifetimes.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Autobiographies, Consumption, Clothing, Food, Fuel, Paupers, Pauper Inventories, Pauper Letters, Poverty Life-cycle
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2022 10:54
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2022 10:16
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/707395

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