Foundling Textiles

  • Styles, John (PI)
  • Lloyd, Sarah (CoI)

Project: Research

Project Details

Key findings

The exhibition provided a powerful material demonstration of the variety of decorated textiles in the hands of poor English women in the 1740s and 1750s. These were the decades immediately preceding the invention of the first powered textile machines of the Industrial Revolution. The exhibition made a major intervention in the debated on the causes of the Industrial Revolution, suggesting that, in cotton textiles at least, the invention and application of the new machinery was more a response to mass consumer demand than the reason for it. In so doing, the exhibition provided support for an argument that has remained contentious since it was made by Neil McKendrick in Neil McKendrick, John Brewer and J.H. Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer Society (London, 1982).
Effective start/end date1/12/0831/05/10


  • UKRI - Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC): £73,672.00


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