Life in Georgian Lancaster

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A lively, yet authoritative account of social life and conditions, for rich and poor alike, in this important provincial town in the eighteenth century. Written by an excellent and well-known historian. We associate the Georgian period with elegance, fine furniture, confidence, prosperity and humanity. Yet in Lancaster, as elsewhere, it also had its dark side - slavery; prostitution; a savage penal code that included the death penalty for quite minor offences; social inequality; unfair political representation; and appalling conditions in early factories which made the lot of many people anything but secure and elegant. But there were also many redeeming features. The country was thinly populated; economic inequality was less marked than it was to become later in the nineteenth century; the city was less crowded and disease-ridden; society less rigid. The Georgian period in Lancaster has left us a legacy of fine buildings, furniture and art. It has also left a sense of a period more akin to our own than the intervening stuffy and pious Victorian era. It appears to us an age filled with humanity, common sense and enlightenment. In this survey of social conditions for every rank of Lancaster inhabitant in the eighteenth century, well-known local historian Andrew White examines what it was really like to work and live in the Georgian town.