Gender and Business during the Industrial Revolution
Small businesses were at the heart of urban economic growth and social transformation during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In towns across Europe, shops and workshops dominated the streetscape and helped to satisfy an increasing desire for consumer goods. This chapter focuses on the men and women in the north west of England, an area famed for its striking urban growth and economic development during the period of the 'industrial revolution'. Though Rachel Edmundson and her son might well have agreed about the direction of their family business, other trading families in north-west England were far from unified concerning commercial strategy, and the apparent seniority of parents over their children did not always go unchallenged. James Bancroft also stated that he had 'a great confidence in the honesty and integrity' of his brother, who he claimed was in fact responsible for keeping the company's accounts.