University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars > 'Pity the poor keelmen’ . Modelling seasonal work and annual income in early industrial Newcastle upon Tyne

'Pity the poor keelmen’ . Modelling seasonal work and annual income in early industrial Newcastle upon Tyne

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Newcastle was transformed in the century after 1560 as industrial labourers arrived to keel its coal. Earlier migrants were often seasonal, returning home in winter when trade was slack; but by the1660s workers were more likely to settle permanently in the town, begging the question ‘how could they afford to survive the winter’? Working backwards from trade accounts and other sources, I offer an assessment of daily wages, perks, and the seasonal distribution of annual income, showing that the number of days worked, as well as the rising nominal wage, was crucial in this survival. This in turn provides a new north-eastern perspective on living standards debates that still tend to be dominated by southern England’s agricultural and building labourers.

This talk is part of the Early Modern Economic and Social History Seminars series.

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