University of Leicester
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Aspects of the Social Geography of Leicestershire Towns 1837-1871

posted on 2010-09-06, 09:03 authored by Stephen Arthur Royle
This thesis attempted to further knowledge of urban development by examining two related themes: firstly, it considered the socio-spatial structures of a series of small English towns during the mid-19th century, a period of industrialization and urbanization, paying particular reference to the relationship between their development and the urban spatial continuum model known to operate in large cities undergoing industrialization; secondly, it examined the effect of economic function on urban structure and development at this small town scale and, to this end, the four study towns were selected on the basis of their functional dissimilarities. The analytical processes used ranged from simple manipulation of information from sources of limited utility to three series of multivariate analyses of Census Enumberators’ Book data - cross-sections of the towns based on information from the 1851 and 1871 censuses and longitudinal analyses of relative change between these two censuses. The results indicated that the towns did conform to the continuum model, at least in morphological terms, since, in 1851, their residential patterns could be associated with its 'pre-industrial' stage but, by 1871, three of the towns were progressing towards its second or 'industrial' phase. The factor analyses also identified considerable social change and this theme was continued in examinations of the towns' migration patterns and their social interaction and mobility rates (using marriage licence data for these last two investigations). In each town, differences were found between the mobility patterns of various social groups within their populations but these did not mask the differences between the populations as a whole. However, contrary to expectations, it was not the industrial towns' populations that had the highest overall mobility rates, but those of the more prosperous market towns. This result demonstrated that while social change might have been associated with industrialization at a national level, this was not necessarily the case in small towns where local factors were of more importance.



Lewis, Gareth

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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