Production and Consumption in English Households, 1600-1750

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Routledge, 2004 - Business & Economics - 251 pages
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In pre-industrial England most production took place in the home. Some of this involved the production of goods for commercial sale, but items were also produced for use by the household itself. The household was also the focus for the consumption of goods that had been made elsewhere. This book uses evidence form households in the counties of Cornwall and Kent to explore changes in production and consumption and their interrelationships.
Evidence of production and consumption is taken from 8,000 inventories made at the death of the household head. Production activity is inferred from the presence of goods such as ploughs and looms. Consumption is inferred from the material environment of the household, including the number and use of rooms. This evidence significantly revises existing models of economic development in this period. The authors how that while Cornwall became impoverished by the development of the mining industry, Kent households increased the variety of their production activities. This resulted in the material culture of Cornwall becoming poorer, whereas in Kent the material culture was considerably enriched by many new goods and new social practices.
By considering the development of capitalism in early modern England from the perspective of the household, this book also contributes new evidence to the debate about a 'consumer revolution' in early modern England.

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About the author (2004)

Mark Overton is Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Exeter. He is author of Agricultural Revolution in England (1996) and many articles on the agrarian history of England. Jane Whittle is a senior lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Exeter. She has published The Development of Agrarian Capitalism (2000), as well as articles in Past and Present, Continuity and Change, and Agricultural History Review. Darron Dean's academic career developed from an interest in ceramics. From his PhD on the development of the pottery industry 1650-1720, he became interested in the broader issues around household consumption. He is now writing a book on ICT in education. Andrew Hann's research centres on trade, markets and consumption in early modern England, with particular emphasis on the geographies of retailing, moral and market economies, and kinship and social networks.

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