Pre-industrial trade on the River Severn: a computer-aided study of the Gloucester port books, c1640-c1770
AbstractThis thesis addresses aspects of internal trade in pre-industrial England and Wales in order to shed new light on its volume, patterns, contents, conduct and development, and to develop new methods for its study. It focuses on the evaluation, computerisation, and analysis of coastal Port Books for Gloucester to undertake a case study of trade on the River Severn, one of the most important navigations in Europe. The Introduction establishes the place of internal trade in the pre-industrial economy and argues that quantitative evidence about its detailed character is crucial to further exploration of a wide range of themes. Quantitative studies of coasting trade have been limited by difficulties in utilising Port Books, and have not been undertaken for inland transport. Chapter 1 assesses previous uses of Port Books and provides a detailed evaluation of the coastal Port Books for Gloucester in order to establish a sound basis for their interpretation. Chapter 2 sets out new methods devised for the comprehensive computerisation of Port Books and analytical techniques for utilising the data they contain. The remaining chapters employ the database to provide new data and interpretations concerning the volume, goods and patterns of trade on the Severn and their changes over time. Chapter 3 is concerned with the geographical patterns of trade and Chapter 4 with the range and character of the goods carried through Gloucester. Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 are detailed case studies of two of the most important commodities in the Severn trade, salt and tobacco. These indicate the potential for new understanding of the complexities of internal trade and the development of specific trades and industries. The Conclusion addresses the trade of the Severn and the role of river navigation, the character and development of internal trade in the pre-industrial economy, and the implications for future study of the methods developed.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Council for National Academic Awards for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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