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DundeeRenaissance to Enlightenment$
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Charles McKean, Bob Harris, and Christopher A. Whatley

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781845860165

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781845860165.001.0001

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Merchants, the Middling Sort, and Cultural Life in Georgian Dundee1

Merchants, the Middling Sort, and Cultural Life in Georgian Dundee1

Chapter (p.243) 10 Merchants, the Middling Sort, and Cultural Life in Georgian Dundee1

Bob Harris

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines changing patterns of cultural provision and changing cultural identities amongst the propertied classes of Georgian Dundee. Georgian Dundee's ‘genteel’ culture was one created by merchants and a small number of professionals (and their families), most of whom would have seen the town as the proper stage for their ambitions and aspirations for status. The chapter is divided into three sections. First, it charts the growing possession of new consumer goods and their display in the homes of especially wealthy merchants and other members of the middling sort. During the eighteenth century, possession and display of new luxuries became a key component of social identity amongst the middling ranks. Many of these goods would have been bought in Perth, Edinburgh, or even London; but from the final third of the eighteenth century, more local tradesmen and shopkeepers also began to supply them, and the second section of the chapter explores the development of this aspect of the burgh's economy. The third examines the emergence of new forms of leisure and culture, especially in the public sphere.

Keywords:   Dundee, Scotland, cultural provision, cultural identity, Georgian period, wealthy merchants, social identity, burgh, leisure

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