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  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: March 2008

6 - Population and disease, estrangement and belonging 1540–1700

from Part II - Urban themes and types 1540–1700
This chapter outlines demographic experiences in English and Scottish towns between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. It describes some of the responses of townspeople and civic authorities to changes in social and physical environments, many of which were felt to be threatening and challenging. Pressures were mounting in this period: civic governors had to be diligent, alert and even innovative in order to manage overcrowding, for example, epidemics, disease and the problems to which they gave rise. The chapter analyses the ambivalent character of two staple sources of reassurance, household and neighbourhood, which provided continuity but which can be shown to be open to challenge and renegotiation from within and without as urban pressures intensified. Neighbourly and family ties retained their force, but developments over time, including the continued growth of towns, new fears and changing residential patterns, affected both the quality and form of the social relationships.
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The Cambridge Urban History of Britain
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053419
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