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Duration 36:55

‘A low artful wicked man’: poverty riots and bread, the response of government to the crises of the 1790s

The 1790s was a watershed decade in British history with the continuation of population increase and industrialisation, series of poor harvests and war with France. These factors led to a ‘crisis’ in the matching of food production and import of the cereal crops that were the staple diet of the poor. This talk looks at the background to the situation and at records that reveal the government’s attempts to address both the food shortages and the riots that broke out as real want and scarcity took hold in many districts.

Paul Carter is the Principal Records Specialist Manager for the Modern Domestic Team. He has a broad range of interests in 18th and 19th century British history.

Julie Halls is a member of the Modern Domestic Records team in the Advice and Records Knowledge Department.