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Old Age, Regionalism and the ‘North-South’ Divide in Late Victorian and Edwardian England

Tom Heritage (University of Southampton)

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Published Date:

March 2019


Old Age, Regionalism, North-South Divide, Poverty, Employment, Family


In late Victorian and Edwardian England, contemporaries argued that older people (or, those aged sixty years and over) in particular had greater employment opportunities, stronger familial ties and were less reliant on welfare in northern than in southern England. This paper discusses whether opportunities were indeed better for older people living in northern England. Using nineteenth-century census datasets for two English ‘southern’ and ‘northern’ counties, it will examine the labour force participation rates of older people, the rates on welfare and the extent of familial support. Overall, prospects were generally greater for older people living in the ‘northern’ counties. However, their fortunes varied within the counties based on particular districts. Also, women were more disadvantaged in terms of poverty and the labour market than men, irrespective of region. As will be shown, more research is needed into the history of older people through a regional perspective, especially for northern England.

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46 - 71

Date of Publication:

March 2019

About the author

Tom Heritage (University of Southampton)

Tom Heritage is a PhD Candidate, working in the Department of Social Statistics and Demography at the University of Southampton. His research is supported by studentship funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.

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