John Herson
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Lace curtain Irish?
The families of craft, clerical and service workers
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The chapter begins by reviewing how historians have conceptualised higher status migrants. It then focuses on the one quarter of settled families who depended on a wide range of craft, service or petty trading activities. Their characteristics are compared with the labouring families. The case study families reflect the diversity of this group. The complex Corcoran family integrated into Stafford society, though with complications. The Giltrap family were Protestants who proved to be long-term transients. Margaret Carr lived in a quasi-family environment and remained trapped in poverty. The nuclear Larkin or Mullarkey family demonstrated arrested integration and apparent division over whether to retain or reject an Irish identity.

The chapter argues that one reason for long-term transience was career advancement amongst skilled or public service workers but another could be questions and conflicts over identity. There is consideration of the behaviour and identity of the Protestant Irish, often neglected by historians.

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Divergent paths

Family histories of Irish emigrants in Britain, 1820–1920


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