‘The Insecurities of Life and Trade’: Work, Community and Personal Life in Eighteenth-Century London

  • Tanya Evans


During the eighteenth century, the rise in population across the country, the increase in migration, together with occupational, familial and sexual insecurity affected all plebeian Londoners. But poor women, in particular, were susceptible to the transformations underpinning London at this time. Most unmarried mothers were working as domestic servants when they conceived their bastard children and their partners worked in a diverse range of trades dependent on the capital’s economic topography. The majority of women who gave birth to illegitimate children met the fathers of their babies, conceived their children, gave birth, and afterwards continued to live in the same parish. The economics of that parish shaped the work these men and women did, the social relationships that were formed there, where women gave birth, and how they managed to support their children.3 This chapter establishes the economic and sexual vulnerability of poor London women.


Eighteenth Century Sexual Relationship Personal Life Poor Woman Domestic Servant 
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© Tanya Evans 2005

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  • Tanya Evans

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