Production and Consumption in English Households, 1600-1750
In pre-industrial England most production took place in the home. Some of this involved the production of goods for commercial sale, but items were also produced for use by the household itself. The household was also the focus for the consumption of goods that had been made elsewhere. This book uses evidence form households in the counties of Cornwall and Kent to explore changes in production and consumption and their interrelationships.
Evidence of production and consumption is taken from 8,000 inventories made at the death of the household head. Production activity is inferred from the presence of goods such as ploughs and looms. Consumption is inferred from the material environment of the household, including the number and use of rooms. This evidence significantly revises existing models of economic development in this period. The authors how that while Cornwall became impoverished by the development of the mining industry, Kent households increased the variety of their production activities. This resulted in the material culture of Cornwall becoming poorer, whereas in Kent the material culture was considerably enriched by many new goods and new social practices.
By considering the development of capitalism in early modern England from the perspective of the household, this book also contributes new evidence to the debate about a 'consumer revolution' in early modern England.
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