Excavating ‘Hell Upon Earth’ towards a research framework for the archaeological investigation of workers’ housing : case studies from Manchester, UK

Nevell, MD 2017, 'Excavating ‘Hell Upon Earth’ towards a research framework for the archaeological investigation of workers’ housing : case studies from Manchester, UK' , Industrial Archaeology Review , pp. 1-16.

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Abstract

This paper uses 16 years of targeted fieldwork on excavating workers’ housing in the Manchester region, UK, to assess a variety of research approaches to the investigation of urban industrial housing of the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Manchester was one of the ‘shock’ cities of industrial Britain, and a honey pot for social commentary during the Victorian period. Using data from more than 30 excavation sites it looks at the way in which archaeological evidence can be used to explore issues around house build quality, overcrowding, sanitation and disease, and reconstructing households from their material remains. Manchester’s reputation for poor living conditions during the industrialising period was crystalized around the comments of contemporary social commentators from Engels to Gaskell. Yet, the archaeological evidence reviewed in this article demonstrates the value of archaeological approaches in challenging and testing such views through detailed case studies. More importantly, it shows that archaeological material can be used to study directly features of the new industrialised form of urban living, providing a set of research questions applicable across the industrial urban workers’ housing of Britain.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Industrial Archaeology Review
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0309-0728
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Michael Nevell
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2017 11:47
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2017 18:14
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/44551

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