UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Women, Work and Trade in the English Industrial Revolution, 1773-1828

Title details

SN: 5454
Title: Women, Work and Trade in the English Industrial Revolution, 1773-1828
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-5454-1
Depositor: Barker, H., University of Manchester. School of Arts, Histories and Cultures
Principal investigator(s): Barker, H., University of Manchester. School of Arts, Histories and Cultures
Harvey, K., University of Manchester. School of Arts, Histories and Cultures
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Grant number: R000223187


The citation for this study is:

Barker, H., Harvey, K. (2006). Women, Work and Trade in the English Industrial Revolution, 1773-1828. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 5454,

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Subject Categories

Economic history - History
Economic systems and development - Economics
Gender history - History
General - Employment and labour
Local history - History
Social history - History
Urban history - History


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

This study aimed to show that businesswomen were central to urban society and to the operation and development of commerce in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century northern towns. It presents a rich and complicated picture of lower-middling life and female enterprise in three northern English towns: Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. The stories told by a wide range of sources - including the trade directories and newspaper advertisements which form the basis of the database - demonstrate the very differing fortunes and levels of independence that individual businesswomen enjoyed. Yet, as a group, their involvement in the economic life of towns and, in particular, the manner in which they exploited and facilitated commercial development, force us to reassess our understanding of both gender relations and urban culture in late Georgian England. In contrast to the traditional historical consensus that the independent women of business during this period - particularly those engaged in occupations deemed 'unfeminine' - was insignificant and no more than an oddity, businesswomen are presented by the project findings not as footnotes to the main narrative, but as central characters in a story of unprecedented social and economic transformation.
Main Topics:
This database records details of women's trade and business activities in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield between 1773 and 1828. The data is drawn from trade directories and newspapers published during sample years between these dates.

The database comprises of 5 tables:
1. directories: contains the bibliographic details of the 14 trade directories used and details of the copies consulted.
2. directoryentries: contains the entries for women in the 14 trade directories.
3. newpapers: contains the bibliographic details for each of the 7 newspapers used, and details of the copies consulted.
4. adverts: contains details of the newspaper adverts in which women are mentioned, often including sections of the text.
5. advertpersons: contains entries for each of the women named in newspaper adverts.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Time period: 1773 - 1828
Dates of fieldwork: April 2000 - December 2001 - Dates files created
Country: England
Geography: Leeds
Spatial units: No information recorded
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Textual data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: Subnational
Bibliographic entries and details of directories and newspapers advertisements in which women involved in trade or business are mentioned as well as data on the women named in these advertisements
Time dimensions: Cross-sectional (one-time) study
Sampling procedures: No sampling (total universe)
Number of units: 11388
Method of data collection: Transcription of existing materials; Compilation or synthesis of existing material
Weighting: Not applicable
Data sources: Trade directories consulted:
E. Raffald, The Manchester and Salford Directory (Manchester, 1773)
Edmond Holme, A Directory for the Towns of Manchester and Salford (Manchester, 1788)
Deans and Co.'s Manchester and Salford Directory (Manchester, 1804)
Pigot and Dean's Manchester and Salford Directory (Manchester 1817)
The Manchester and Salford Director [sic] and Memorandum Book(Manchester, 1828)
Sketchley's Sheffield Directory (Bristol, 1774)
A Directory of Sheffield (Sheffield, 1787)
A Directory of Sheffield (Sheffield, 1797)
Sheffield General Directory (Sheffield, 1817)
The Sheffield Directory and Guide (Sheffield, 1828)
A History of...Leeds...and a Leeds Directory (Leeds, 1797)
The Leeds Directory for 1809 (Leeds, 1809)
Directory, General and Commercial, of the Town and Borough of Leeds (Leeds, 1817)
General and Commercial Directory of the Borough of Leeds (Leeds, 1826)

Newspapers consulted:
Manchester Mercury, 1773, 1788, 1804, 1817
Manchester Courier, 1828
Sheffield Advertiser 1774 [only copies for January and February extant]
Sheffield Register [later the Iris, or Sheffield Register], June 1787-May 1788, 1797
Sheffield Mercury, 1817, 1828
Leeds Mercury, 1797, 1809, 1817
Leeds Intelligencer, 1826

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 18 October 2006
Copyright: Copyright H. Barker, University of Manchester
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage. See terms and conditions of access for further information.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
Study documentation in portable document format guide.pdf 31
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_5454_Information.htm 21
READ File read5454.txt 2


View publications... Hide publications...

By principal investigator(s):
Barker, H. and Harvey, K. (2002) 'Women entrepreneurs and urban expansion: Manchester, 1780-1820', in R. Sweet and P. Lane (eds.) On the town': Women and Urban Life in Eighteenth-Century England, c. 1660-1820, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Barker, H. (2006) The Business of Women: Female Enterprise and Urban Development in Northern England, 1760-1830 Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Resulting from secondary analysis:


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