Silk and globalisation in eighteenth-century London: commodities, people and connections c.1720-1800

Farrell, William (2014) Silk and globalisation in eighteenth-century London: commodities, people and connections c.1720-1800. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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The eighteenth century was the golden age of silk weaving in London. This thesis shows that the expansion and success of the silk industry was dependent upon connections with other regions around the world. Supplies of raw materials and labour came into London from Europe, the Levant and India. London silk weavers faced competition from silk fabrics produced overseas. The capital also sent its silk out into the world where it found a ready market in North America and the West Indies. These connections are mapped and compared to those produced for other global luxury commodities. A different picture of early globalisation emerges here, in terms of geography and chronology. Europe and the Mediterranean were as important as the North Atlantic and South Asia. Both imperial and non-imperial connections were important, whilst state and market activities reinforced each other. Far from being a gradual long-term process, early globalisation was disruptive and required management. Finally, labour is given far more prominence than is usual. Skilled workers were as mobile and dynamic as the flows of exotic commodities. They also played an important role in constructing the regulatory framework that oversaw the globalisation of London silk.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date of PhD award confirmed as 2014 by registry
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > History, Classics & Archaeology
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2014 16:26
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2014 11:17

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