Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Married women's occupations in eighteenth-century London


The evidence of criminal court records suggests that almost all London wives were engaged in gainful occupations in the eighteenth century. The records of the City livery companies and of Christ's Hospital show that the wives of craft masters and professional men worked, as well as those in poorer families where their income was essential. At lower socio-economic levels it was unusual for couples to work in the same trade. At middling levels it was more common, especially in textiles and retail, but no more than half of couples worked together or in related occupations.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Leonard Schwarz , ‘English servants and their employers during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’, Economic History Review 52/2 (1999), 236–56

Pamela Sharpe , ‘Continuity and change: women's history and economic history in Britain’, Economic History Review 48 (1995), 353–69

Peter Earle , ‘The female labour market in London in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries’, Economic History Review 42/3 (1989), 338

Valerie Pearl , ‘Change and stability in seventeenth-century London’, The London Journal 5/1 (1979), 7, 13, 27.

Ilana Krausman Ben-Amos , ‘Women apprentices in the trades and crafts of early modern Bristol’, Continuity and Change 6/2 (1991), 230, 233

Ilana Krausman Ben-Amos , ‘Women apprentices in the trades and crafts of early modern Bristol’, Continuity and Change 6/2 (1991), 230, 233

S. R. Epstein , ‘Craft guilds, apprenticeship and technological change in pre-industrial Europe’, Journal of Economic History 58 (1998), 684713

Maryanne Kowaleski and Judith M. Bennett , ‘Crafts, gilds, and women in the middle ages: fifty years after Marian K. Dale’, Signs 14/2 (Winter, 1989), 474501

E. W. Monter , ‘Women in Calvinist Geneva (1550–1800)’, Signs 6/2 1980, 203–4

Christine Wiskin , ‘Business women and financial management’, Accounting, Business and Financial History 16/2 (2006), 151–2

S. D. Smith , ‘Women's admission to guilds in early-modern England: the case of the York Merchant Tailors’ Company, 1693–1776', Gender and History 17/1 (2005), 99126

Susan Wright , ‘“Holding up half the sky”: women and their occupations in eighteenth-century Ludlow’, Midland History 14 (1989), 69

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Continuity and Change
  • ISSN: 0268-4160
  • EISSN: 1469-218X
  • URL: /core/journals/continuity-and-change
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 27
Total number of PDF views: 218 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 467 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.