Black Country Élites: The Exercise of Authority in an Industrialized Area, 1830-1900
Black Country Elites is a study of the people who ran Victorian industrial towns; it also examines the institutions, policies, rituals, and networks these urban elites deployed to cope with urban growth, social unrest, and relative economic decline. Concentrating on a particularly grimy district of the industrial Midlands, the book demonstrates the surprisingly great resources, coherence, sophistication, and impact of the area's mainly middle-class leaders, who were well linked to regional and national power centres. Richard H. Trainor's extensively researched and richly documented analysis suggests the need to re-examine the influential view that Victorian Britain's social development was dominated by London and by land, the professions, and finance. Instead he indicates the complex give-and-take between the metropolis and its notables, on the one hand, and the industrial provinces and their leaders, on the other. The book is both a substantial addition to regional studies of Victorian Britain, and an important contribution to the history of nineteenth-century elites and of the urban middle class.
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