In Search of a Better Life: British and Irish Migration
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Media: BOOK - hardcover, 222 pages
Author: G. Davis
Other: b&w photos, map, index
Publisher: The History Press
'In Search of a Better Life' challenges the traditional narratives of British and Irish migration, the stories of oppression and exile that form an essential part of the existing literature. It argues that most of the migrants were not forced to leave their country by circumstances, but looked forward to a better life abroad. They were largely opportunists rather than victims, whether financed by the state or by assistance from landlords or philanthropists, or, as was the case for the majority, by themselves or their families. This was a huge movement of people that formed part of a European migration to the New World.
In placing British and Irish migration alongside each other, there is recognition of the commonalities among both sets of emigrants that will surprise many readers. The poor condition of labourers in 1840s Dorset and Wiltshire were akin to those found in County Cork during the Famine years. British and Irish emigrants were commonly found on the same ships en route to the Americas and Australasia, both settling in predominantly English-speaking countries.
With case studies by a variety of contributors, set within the broader context of current scholarship, this compilation features new research on a popular subject which still resonates today. It will prove particularly useful for family historians.
Notes on Contributors
1. People on the Move: Mobility in Victorian Dorset
2. Irish Railway Workers and Soldiers in Wiltshire
3. Politicians, Philanthropists and the People: Early E,igration from Somerset and Dorset to Australia
4. 'Great Britain of the South': The Irish in Canterbury, New Zealand
5. From Sligo to St John's: The Gore-Booth Assisted Emigration
6. James Hack Tuke and Assisted Emigration from the West of Ireland in the 1880s
7. Irish Hard-Rock Miners in Ireland, Britain and the United States
8. Reconstructed Memory: Irish Emigrant Letters from the Americas