Liverpool occupies a prominent position in the contemporary popular imagination. In spite of decades of economic decline, urban decay and a name associated by some with poverty and crime, the city's reputation is by no means a negative one. The book is a collection of essays that focuses on the strength of Liverpool's merchant marine, representing both informal and formal empire over centuries. It discusses the interracial relationships in 1950s and 1960s Liverpool to demonstrate that many African and Afro-Caribbean sailors (and others) married or had relationships with white women. Given existing deficiencies in the historiographies of both Liverpool and the British Empire, the book aims to reassess both Liverpool's role within the British imperial system and the impact on the port city of its colonial connections. Liverpool's success has often been attributed to, and marred by, its being the leader in the slave trade after 1750. Napoleonic Wars were a period of great turbulence and difficulty for the Liverpool commercial community. Liverpool is perceived as a diasporic city, however, its ambiguous nineteenth-century identity reflected the tensions of its complex migrant connections. An analysis of Liverpool's business connections with South America reveals its relative commercial decline and the notion of 'gentlemanly capitalism'. The African ethnology collection of National Museums Liverpool's (NML) ethnology collections are displayed in the 'World Cultures' gallery of the World Museum Liverpool, which opened in 2005. Liverpool is perhaps not exceptional, though its networks are notable and striking.
‘gentlemanlycapitalism’ during the 1980s. Cain and Hopkins
argued that one outstanding feature of the late nineteenth century was
‘the reassertion of London’s pre-eminence as a centre of
power in comparison with the industrial provinces, which had been the
main source of political and social dynamism earlier in the
This process reflected the relative decline of Britain
Some insights into a provincial British commercial network
D. Morier Evans, The Commercial Crisis,
1847–1848 (London: Letts, Son and Steer, 1849).
A. Webster, ‘The strategies and
limitations of gentlemanlycapitalism: the London East India agency
houses, provincial commercial interests and the evolution of British
economic policy in South and
Sheryllynne Haggerty, Anthony Webster, and Nicholas J. White
Not surprisingly, Liverpool and indeed other provincial cities have
received limited attention in the work of Peter Cain and Antony Hopkins.
In proposing the notion of ‘gentlemanlycapitalism’, Cain
and Hopkins have argued that Britain’s overseas expansion in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the survival, revival
and contraction of British imperial power during the twentieth century
money came from the Empire. 3 What does this mean
for the relationship between empire building and landed property in
Britain? That relationship has been examined most extensively by P. J.
Cain and A. G. Hopkins, who argue that ‘gentlemanlycapitalism’ was the driving force behind Britain’s imperial
expansion. Cain and Hopkins attribute the expansion of empire not to the
growth of industrial
Capitalism and British Overseas Expansion, i: The Old Colonial
System, 1688–1850’, Economic History Review, 34
[1986), 501–25; and ‘GentlemanlyCapitalism and British
Overseas Expansion, ii: New Imperialism, 1850–1945’,
Economic History Review, 40 11987), 1–27.
See Martin J. Wiener, English Culture and the
(Cambridge, 1975) and
‘Sceptical Whiggism, commerce, and liberty’; Pincus, ‘Popery, trade and
universal monarchy: the ideological context of the outbreak of the second
Anglo-Dutch war’, EHR, 422 (1992), 1–29; Robertson, ‘Universal monarchy
and the liberties of Europe’, pp. 349–73.
4 P.J. Cain and A.G. Hopkins, ‘Gentlemanlycapitalism and British expansion
overseas I: the old colonial system, 1688–1850’, Economic History Review,
39 (1986), 520; Bayly, Imperial Meridian, p. 30.
5 Eliga Gould, The Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age
of the American
strange mix of old oak Establishment and shiny new steel and glass anarchy. Underneath the calm veneers of its well-mannered, immaculately dressed inmates, no-one seems to trust anything or anyone else. Authors like Philip Augar 12 have documented how the death of ‘gentlemanlycapitalism’ followed ‘Big Bang’ in 1985–86. More recently, Joris Luyendijk, in his Swimming with Sharks , 13 has shown how destructive an extended period of venal self-interest has proved to be for those who work there.
I have witnessed something similar during
Modern British imperial identity in the 1903 Delhi durbar’s exhibition of Indian art
Julie F. Codell
the exhibition and catalogue
– to display and assert knowledge as power and to recuperate
durbar costs and India’s debts – disguised imperial domination
with a kinder, gentler blend of gentlemanlycapitalism with aristocratic
patronage. The exhibition became ‘at once the sign and the proof of
reality’, to borrow Roland Barthes’s critique of nineteenth-century
historical narrative. 154
William Roscoe, civic myths and the institutionalisation of urban culture
one of gentlemanlycapitalism, rather than industrial production.12 The city was also an important
centre for the region’s aristocracy and gentry. As the major port in the region,
it catered for sea-borne passenger traffic, and for those seeking the adventure
of overseas travel it offered an alternative to a long overland and uncomfortable trip to Bristol or the English Channel ports. Landed families also shipped
many of their luxury goods through Liverpool. The antique sculpture collectors
Charles Townley and Henry Blundell both shipped parts of their collections