The past twenty years have witnessed notable developments in the scholarly study of Irish migration and settlement in nineteenth-century Britain, as a burgeoning historiography and the emergence of specialist courses in British colleges and universities serve to illustrate. The first of its kind, this documentary history seeks to support the study and teaching of the subject by using a range of contemporary documents, including extracts from parliamentary papers, social surveys, newspapers, letters and reminiscences to explore the experiences of Irish people in urban and rural Britain between 1815 and 1914. By reference to themes of migration, settlement, employment, social conditions, religion and politics, the sources contained in this collection not only provide insights into the causes, features and consequences of Irish migration.
The book also demonstrates that while the experiences of Irish migrants were complex and diverse, varying in time and place, so too were contemporary attitudes towards them. Each chapter comprises a contextual commentary, a selection of primary sources and notes pointing to further reading. This unique anthology, which also includes a comprehensive bibliography, will be of particular interest to students and teachers of modern British and Irish social history. It is also relevant to the study of immigrants and minorities in modern British Society.
Professor Roger Swift is Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies at Chester College and a Fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool.