London Lives, 1690 to 1800 - Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis
"London Lives makes available, in a fully digitised and searchable form, a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners. This resource includes over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages created by other projects. It provides access to historical records containing over 3.35 million name instances. Facilities are provided to allow users to link togethe records relating to the same individual, and to compile biographies of the best documented individuals." [...] "Historians studying the lives of the non-elite have a wealth of sources available, but these tend to be produced by institutions, and analysed in that context, thereby prioritising institutional considerations over those of their users. This project makes it possible to switch the research focus to individuals by allowing researchers to quickly locate all the relevant documents for particular people from a range of sources. In doing so, it seeks to demonstrate that the pressures created by the users of government services and charitable organisations shaped the course of the development of these institutions. By examining how individual Londoners engaged with and manipulated these agencies for their own ends, this project is designed to assess the role of plebeians in the evolution of social practices in the modern metropolis...." Choice of relevant Primary Sources: [...] "The choice of sources included in London Lives was largely determined by the research agenda, but also by practical considerations including which sources were available for digitisation and which were most likely to contain information on the same individuals. By including externally created datasets, the remit of the project was broadened to include a wider range of sources than would otherwise have been possible, and made it possible for the names in those datasets to be linked up with other sources. The lives of plebeian Londoners most often intersected with institutional records when they were caught up in the criminal justice system, or sought poor relief or medical treatment. [The] choice of sources was designed to capture this pattern of interaction, [and] also sought to include comprehensive archival collections. Where records were simply too voluminous to include, as in the case of parish rate books, [they] have [been] excluded, but wherever possible the entire archive of each institution has been digitised. Where it was not possible to include the records of all relevant archives, as with the large number of parishes and guilds, [it has been] chosen representative examples of complete archives with good record survival...."

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Saturday, 17 March 2012 - 10:26pm
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