Big wages, glorious climate and situations guaranteed : a study of the migration of Irish women to Great Britain for the period 1861 to 1911

English, Tracy M. (1999) Big wages, glorious climate and situations guaranteed : a study of the migration of Irish women to Great Britain for the period 1861 to 1911. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This study is an attempt to bridge the gap in Irish migration history. While there are numerous studies completed that explain the migration of Irish men and women to North America and Canada, there have been few studies written that illustrate the reasons for the migration of hundreds of thousands of Irish women to Great Britain. These women are an anomaly in migration history. Unlike Jewish and Italian migrants, Irish women did not migrate as part of a family, nor did they migrate solely to benefit the family financially. This difference was recognized by historians as early as 1885, but has never been studied in earnest. This is surprising when it is remembered that the Irish were the largest immigrant population in Great Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. -- Using the records for the period 1861 to 1911, this study shows where Irish women settled in Great Britain. The few studies completed on the Irish in Britain assume that Irish women followed their male counterparts to the large urban areas. This work shows that while some Irish women did indeed settle in the industrial areas and large cities, a surprising number settled in rural towns and villages. This thesis outlines the historiography of the Irish in Britain, discusses the socio-economic position of Irish women in Ireland and in America to determine why women often saw emigration as their only viable option, and looks at what marriage and fertility patterns were recreated in their new homelands. As well, this work analyses what types of job opportunities were available for Irish women at home and in America to determine if this was an economically motivated migration. Finally, this work shows where Irish women settled in Britain and determines why they settled in certain areas. -- In addition to the published census reports, the evidence used to study Irish women includes the government inquiries into the Irish, the accounts of social commentators including Henry Mayhew and Friedrich Engels, and a wide variety of secondary sources.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9036
Additional Information: Bibliography: pages 122-132.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Great Britain; Ireland
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Women immigrants--Great Britain; Women immigrants--Ireland; Women foreign workers--Great Britain; Women--Ireland--Social conditions; Women--Ireland--Economic conditions

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