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Topics - leaphd

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Travelling People / PhD Research - Itinerant trading
« on: Thursday 22 October 20 09:31 BST (UK)  »
First and foremost: I am sorry if this is not the place for such a message! If not, please feel free to delete it.

My name is Léa, I am a French history PhD student working on peddling and hawking in late-nineteenth century and twentieth century Britain (more precisely, from the 1860s to the early 1950s).
I started my research in 2018, and I am seeking to show that door-to-door/itinerant trading remained an important activity at this period for certain groups of persons, such as poorer people trying to avoid the workhouse in the late 19th century or as migrant groups trying to settle in Britain, such as, for instance, the French "Onion Johnnies".

I also worked using a pedlars registers that survived for the East Sussex Constabulary and Manchester. Using census records, I found out that many people owning a pedlar or hawker certificates were Travellers.

Since it is nowadays quite challenging to find surviving documents regarding the itinerant trade, I would be very interested in conducting some interviews with people who had a members of the family who sold goods door-to-door/was a pedlar/hawker during this period.

My questions would touch on way they organised, where they bought their goods from or how they made them, who their clients were, how they felt they were perceived as door-to-door traders, and so on. I would also be greatly interested in seeing any document related to this activity that might have survived throughout the decades!

I am not familiar with anyone in that situation in Britain (I am interested in everyone's testimony, with a preference for people who sold in Sussex, around London or in Lancashire), and I was wondering if I could find anyone interested in this project on this forum.

I am based in France, and I am supposed to come to Britain next Spring, but given the situation I am also more than willing to carry out interviews online. Interviews of that kind usually last less than an hour.

I am of course willing to answer any additional question anyone might have.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!


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