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The organisation of work and wages in the London building trades in the long eighteenth century

Stephenson, Judy (2015) The organisation of work and wages in the London building trades in the long eighteenth century. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.906q4ohip8mt


The wage data that economic historians rely on for calculating key economic indicators and living standards across Europe are all derived from records of building craftsmen and labourers’ pay. Existing series suggest wages in London were substantially higher than in other European centres from 1650 to 1800, and current accepted theories ascribe Britain’s early industrialisation to the products and incentives of this wage structure. But the period after the Restoration was one of prodigious building in London, and of organisational change in the construction trades. This thesis examines the contractual and organisational context in which building craftsmen and labourers operated and shows that the nature of the ‘day rates’ used to construct wage series in London and England has been misunderstood. As a result, wages and real wages have been overstated for England throughout the long eighteenth century

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Judy Stephenson
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Supervisor: Wallis, Patrick

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