Prof. Peter Scott (University of Reading), who has just joined the HHB community as a Researcher, and Prof. James T. Walker (University of Reading), co-authors of the article Demonstrating distinction at ‘the lowest edge of the black-coated class’: The family expenditures of Edwardian railway clerks, have provided the HHB Database with their data about British railway clerks.
Described by Lord Rosebery as ‘men in the lowest edge, of the black-coated class... most to be considered for their narrowness of means’, railway clerks families faced one of the hardest struggles of all white-collar groups to maintain ‘respectable’ standards of housing, dress and other publicly-observable consumption markers. Railway clerks were also the only group of white-collar workers to leave a substantial volume of pre-1914 household budget data, compiled on a uniform basis, in a series of surveys conducted by the Railway Clerks Association (RCA) from 1910–1912. In the article, the authors utilise aggregate data from 611 household budgets for male railway clerks, together with over 200 surviving budget summaries. They are now part of the HHB Database, while supplementary data used in the publication are drawn from a sample of 100 households headed by railway clerks, from the 1911 Census.
Featured image: Southampton clerical staff at the beginning of the 19th century.
Prof. Scott's research interests include: the growth of mass consumption, consumer credit and owner-occupation, together with their impacts on household behaviour; the evolution of mass retailing formats in Britain and the United States; the development of consumer goods industries; and path dependence and technological change.
His monograph Triumph of the South: A Regional Economic History of Britain During the Early Twentieth Century (Aldershot: Ashgate) was awarded the Wadsworth Prize for the best monograph in British business history published in 2007. He has also been the President of the Association of Business Historians.
A new budgets source is now part of the HHB Database: the first 1882 issue of the Italian newspaper "Il Contadino". Il Contadino ("The Farmer"), founded in Treviso by Giuseppe Benzi (1855-1941) in 1880 and published until 1924, was devoted to the study of agricultural issues. It was an organ of the local Agrarian Committee and was published every two weeks until 1892, when it started being published on a weekly basis.
The newspaper dealt with issues of general economic interest and published several articles on pellagra, a disease which was endemic among the peasants of northern Italy (Friuli and Veneto in particular, but also Lombardy) due to a diet almost exclusively based on polenta.
The issue that is now part of the HHBD includes, in addition to short articles about the distribution and the subject of the newspaper, an article about accattonaggio ("panhandling") and a long article of summary and comment on the following tables of 83 agricultural household budgets.
Next Monday, December 21st, the HHB Team will launch the series of seminars that will accompany all the stages of the project. The first in the series will see an internal discussion on some research works based on household budgets data, soon part of the HHBD currently under construction.
h09.40: Opening remarks;
h09.45: Immigration and Poverty in Fascist Rome, 1926-1933 - Stefano Chianese, PhD;
h10.30: Scared to be poor: poverty and vulnerability in the UK at the rise of the 20th century - Federica Di Battista, PhD;
h11.15: COFFEE BREAK;
h11.30: Inequality and poverty in the US since the 1870s - Giulia Mancini, MSc;
h11.45: Living conditions in Spain, 1840-1919: evidence from a standard budgets database - Francesco Olivanti, BA;
HHB welcomes Marcello D'Amato - Professor of Economic policy at the Department of Economics and Statistics of the University of Salerno, Italy - as a HHB Fellow.
After a PhD in Economics in Salerno, he specialized in Development Economics (CSREAM, Federico II) and in Economics from the University of Warwick. He has studied and taught in Spain (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), USA (Boston University) and Colombia (Universidad Catolica de Bogota). He is Director of CELPE, member of the Scientific Committee of CSEF and of the Executive Board of the Italian Development Economists Association (SITES). His research is focused on the analysis of pensions, education and human capital, Central Banks, growth and income distribution.