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Middle-Class Life in Victorian Belfast$
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Alice Johnson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620313

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620313.001.0001

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Family businesses, working lives and civic activism

Family businesses, working lives and civic activism

(p.49) 2 Family businesses, working lives and civic activism
Middle-Class Life in Victorian Belfast

Alice Johnson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter looks at the role of the business community and charts both the business and civic activity of members of the Belfast business elite. It gives overview of the economic and business culture in which the middle-classes lived and worked. Rather than an economic history of the city, it offers a people-centric view of the city and its economic environment. The focus is on three lesser-known business families of Belfast – the Workmans, Corrys and McCances. Particular attention is paid to the Workman and Corry businesses which together highlight the close-knit nature of the local economy, the interrelatedness of family businesses and the strong connections between industrialists in Belfast and their counterparts in Scotland. Like many of Belfast’s industrial elite, the Presbyterian Workman and Corry families moved to the up-and-coming town at the very beginning of the century to take advantage of the opportunities it had to offer. The first part of the chapter outlines these family businesses and the ways in which they were representative of the city’s business elite. The second part of the chapter discusses the civic activism in which these and other middle-class families engaged.

Keywords:   Business, business communities, working lifestyle, industrial elite, civic activism, family businesses, intermarriage, economy

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