CHORD Conference

Food and Beverages:

Retailing, Distribution and Consumption in Historical Perspective

 7 and 8 September 2011

Telford Campus, University of Wolverhampton, UK

PROGRAMME

ABSTRACTS

INFORMATION

REGISTRATION AND BURSARY FORM

The conference is supported by the Economic History Society

 

PROGRAMME

Wednesday 7 September 2011

10.00 – 11.30 Priorslee Hall Entrance. Registration and coffee

11.30 – 13.00 Parallel sessions

Orchard Room, Priorslee Hall

The provision of food in the early-modern period

Chair: David Hussey, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Session convenors: Nancy Cox, University of Wolverhampton, UK and Jon Stobart, University of Northampton, UK

 Nancy Cox, University of Wolverhampton, UK, ‘Don’t let them starve: food for the poor in the early-modern period’

Abstract

 Jon Stobart, University of Northampton, UK, ‘Novelty, luxury and the consumption of groceries in eighteenth-century England’

Abstract

 Lucy A. Bailey, University of Northampton, UK, ‘Squire, shopkeeper and staple food: The reciprocal relationship between the village shop and the country house in the early nineteenth century’

Abstract

Trevithick Room, Priorslee Hall

Distribution networks

Chair: Deborah Toner, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, UK

Claire Holleran, University of Liverpool, UK, ‘Feeding Ancient Rome’

Abstract

 Werner Scheltjens, University of Groningen, Netherlands, ‘The distribution of non-essential foodstuffs via the Dutch Republic, 1595-1795’

Abstract

 Richard Yntema, Otterbein University, USA, ‘Brewers, franchising, and capital intensive brewing in the Dutch Golden Age’

Abstract

 

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

 14.00 – 15.30 Parallel sessions

Orchard Room, Priorslee Hall

Drinking dens? New perspectives on clubs and public houses c. 1600-2000

Chair: Karin Dannehl, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Session convenor: Deborah Toner, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, UK and Warwick Drinking Studies Network, UK

 David Hitchcock, University of Warwick, UK, ‘Fraught refuge? Poverty, mobility and alehouses in England in the 17th and 18th centuries’

Abstract

 Beat Kümin, University of Warwick, UK, ‘Public houses as socio-cultural assets in the long eighteenth century’

Abstract

 Ruth Cherrington, ‘We are not drinking dens! Working men's clubs and the struggle for  respectability, 1862 -1920s’

Abstract

Trevithick Room, Priorslee Hall

Introducing novelty and innovation

Chair: Jon Stobart, University of Northampton, UK

Kristen D. Burton, University of Texas at Arlington, USA, ‘The citie calls for beere:  the introduction of hops and the foundation of industrial brewing in London, 1200-1700’

Abstract

 Rosângela Ferreira Leite, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil, ‘The cocoa trade and transformations in taste: Brazil and England, 1808-1821’

Abstract

 Phil Lyon, Umeå University, Sweden, and David Kinney, Plymouth College of Art, UK, ‘What’s new? The history of new food products’

Abstract

 

 15.30 – 16.00 Coffee

 16.00 – 17.00 Parallel sessions

Orchard Room, Priorslee Hall

Trade cultures

Chair: Margaret Ponsonby, University of Wolverhampton, UK

 Chris Heal, University of Bristol, UK, ‘Mad with drink: Garnishes and combinations among the felt hatters’

Abstract 

Montserrat M. Miller, Marshall University, USA, ‘Gender in the marketplace:  selling food and negotiating personal honor at the commercial nexus of neighborhood life in 20th century Barcelona’

Abstract

Trevithick Room, Priorslee Hall

Symbolic meanings and consumer preferences

Chair: Ian Mitchell, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Wendy Williams, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland, ‘ “Varieties to appeal to every palate”: themes of adventure, exoticism, celebrity and modernity in biscuit packaging, 1850–1939’

Abstract

 Ilias P. Vlachos, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, ‘The history of food preference and its effect on production and markets: evidence from Greek olive oil’

Abstract

19.00 Reception

19.30 Conference Dinner

 

Thursday 8 September 2011

9.30 – 10.00 Coffee and registration

10.00 – 11.00 Parallel sessions

Orchard Room, Priorslee Hall

Family businesses

Chair: Jonathan Morris, University of Hertfordshire, UK

 Paul Cleave, University of Exeter, UK, ‘Twentieth century cafe society – eating out on holiday: a case study of Devon’

Abstract

 Rengenier Rittersma, Saarland University, Germany,‘Creating gastronomic celebrity: a case study on the role of the Piedmontese family Morra in the marketing of the white truffle of Alba (1930-1960)’

Abstract

Trevithick Room, Priorslee Hall

Regulation and the state

Chair: Mark Hailwood, University of Warwick, UK

D'Maris Coffman, University of Cambridge, UK, ‘Anticipating the state: reassessing the ‘old’ English excises and the development of brewing in England

Abstract

Adrian R. Bailey, University of Exeter, UK, ‘Regulating the supermarket in 1960s Britain: exploring the changing relationship of food manufacturers and retailers through the Cadbury archive’

Abstract

 11.00 – 11.30 Coffee

 11.30 – 13.00 Parallel sessions

Orchard Room, Priorslee Hall

Gendering the retail and consumption of alcohol in comparative perspective

Chair: Darek Galasinski, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Session convenor: Deborah Toner, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, UK and Warwick Drinking Studies Network, UK

Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin, Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, UK, ' "Discords have arisen and brotherly love decreased": the spatial and material contexts of the guild feast in early modern London'

Abstract

 Mark Hailwood, University of Exeter, UK, ‘Rethinking men’s consumption of alcohol in the early modern English alehouse’

Abstract

 Deborah Toner, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, UK, ‘Closing time for machismo? Reassessing the gender dynamics of alcohol consumption in nineteenth-century Mexico’

Abstract

Trevithick Room, Priorslee Hall

Food technologies

Chair: Ros Watkiss, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Matthias Blum, Technical University Munich, Germany, and Justus Wesseler, Technical University Munich, Germany,  ‘A brief economic history of beer brewing and consumption in Southern Germany’

Abstract

Josie Freear, University of Leeds, UK, ‘Marks and Spencer: a ‘revolutionary hygienic code’ in food supply, distribution and retailing?’

Abstract

 Fredrik Sandgren, Uppsala University, Sweden, ‘An easy sell? The introduction of a deep frozen food system in Sweden 1945-1970’

Abstract

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14.00 – 15.30 Parallel sessions

Orchard Room, Priorslee Hall

Consumption

Chair: Alison Toplis, University of Wolverhampton, UK

 Alessia Menghin, St Andrews University, UK, ‘At the table of Piero, a Florentine civic employee in the Quattrocento’

Abstract

 Carolina Román Ramos, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, ‘Consumption patterns and its determinants during the first half of the 20th century: a historical and comparative approach’

Abstract

 Ros Watkiss, University of Wolverhampton, UK, ‘ “Popping to the Corner”: grocery shopping in the post-war Black Country’

Abstract

Trevithick Room, Priorslee Hall

Foreign cuisine

Chair: Richard Hawkins, University of Wolverhampton, UK

 Sabina Bellofatto, University of Zurich, Switzerland, “Buon appetito Svizzera!” The consumption history of the Italian cuisine in post-war Switzerland’

Abstract

 Jonathan Morris, University of Hertfordshire, UK, ‘Making Italian espresso, making espresso Italian’

Abstract

 Eva Maria von Wyl, University of Zurich, Switzerland, ‘Ready to eat! American eating habits in postwar Switzerland’

Abstract

 

ABSTRACTS

Adrian R. Bailey, University of Exeter, UK, ‘Regulating the supermarket in 1960s Britain: exploring the changing relationship of food manufacturers and retailers through the Cadbury archive’

The paper explores changes in the relationship between manufacturers and retailers in the late 1960s and 1970s, following the abolition of Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) legislation in the UK.  The liberalisation of pricing and its implications for manufacturers and retailers is explored through a case study of Cadbury Brothers Ltd in the wake of the RPM abolition, which impacted chocolate and confectionery in 1967.  The aims of the paper are, first, to outline the marketing strategy at Cadbury prior to, and following, the change in legislation and, second, to examine the changing relationships between Cadbury and its distributors.  The details of the Restricted Trade Practice court hearing, fought by Cadbury have previously been described by Harold Crane, who acted as the legal advisor to Mackintosh during the case.  Crane’s summary of the case is detailed and gives due weight to the arguments for and against the Act in the context of the confectionery market, but the account is selective and conceals the historical development of the ‘Four Firms’ arguments leading up to the court hearing (i.e. Cadbury, Rowntree, Mackintosh and Bassett).  The research presented here has been funded by a small grant from the Business Archives Council (BAC) and makes reference to overlooked materials held at the Cadbury archive in Bournville.  The materials, held in 31 large boxes and recently catalogued by the author, relate to internal communications between Cadbury directors and managers; communications between Cadbury and other confectionery manufacturers; and correspondence with retailers and retail trade associations during the late 1960s.  The Cadbury catalogue indicates that there is limited archival information relating to Cadbury post-war distribution, which makes these materials of significance for researchers seeking to build upon existing management histories of the firm.

 

 Lucy A. Bailey, University of Northampton, UK, ‘Squire, shopkeeper and staple food: The reciprocal relationship between the village shop and the country house in the early nineteenth century’

Rural communities have historically been viewed as synonymous with agricultural processes and a dependence upon the land. This tendency to filter rural life through the perspective of agricultural interest has obscured the vital role of rural retailers within such communities. They have been similarly obscured in studies of retailing by their urban counterparts. We therefore know very little about rural supply networks and, more specifically, the interaction and flow of goods between the country house and the village shop. The notion of rural self-sufficiency further disguises the role of the village shopkeeper in the provision of necessities, particularly perishable goods like food, the purchase of which is too often presumed and rarely expanded upon or quantified. Drawing on a wealth of evidence left by a rural lesser gentry family in the early nineteenth century, themselves a rather neglected social group, this paper aims to reveal the reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship between the country squire (in the daily process of sustaining a large household) and his village suppliers (eager to fulfil his requirements and retain his patronage). An analysis of the type of goods, frequency of purchases and the amounts spent, along with a consideration of the convenience of shop location, indicate a reciprocal dependency. Significantly, on occasion, not only were servants sent to purchase goods, which suggests strong and mutually trusting relationships, but surplus farm produce was sold back to the village shop for credit, which further bonded buyer to seller. This exposes the complexity of rural retailing and the central importance of the village shopkeeper to the provision of food in their communities

 

Sabina Bellofatto, University of Zurich, Switzerland, ‘ “Buon appetito Svizzera!” The consumption history of the Italian cuisine in post-war Switzerland’

In the 1960th, simultaneously to the second wave of Italian migration, Italian dishes and goods like wheat pasta, Italian canned tomatoes, fruits and parmigiano-reggiano cheese found widespread diffusion and acceptance in Switzerland. Italy was the most important holiday destination and Italian restaurants were very popular.

Yet, the Italians immigrants, who in 1964 accounted 474’300 - 68,8 % of the total number of foreigners in Switzerland -, certainly influenced the consumer demand. But as the xenophobic discourses of that time illustrate, the Swiss didn’t appreciate the eating habits of the Italians. In my sources I found letters to the editor in journals and periodicals, in which writers make a point, that Italians and Swiss will never get used to one another because of their apparently different eating habits. The success and widespread acceptance of the Italian cuisine can’t therefore be explained only with the presence of the Italian immigrants, but has to be contextualized with the process of consumerism and mass consumption. 

My dissertation examines the consumption and diffusion of the Italian cuisine in post-war Switzerland, as a means to investigate how the Italian immigrants functioned as cultural mediators. And on the other hand I propose to trace the “distributors role” of supermarkets chains and their marketing policies, Italian food stores and restaurants.

This approach enables me to explore in which way the absorption and diffusion of a particular cuisine is a matter of transculturation and how this process is grounded in the changing patterns of needs and wants driven by economic changes.

 

Matthias Blum, Technical University Munich, Germany, and Justus Wesseler, Technical University Munich, Germany, ‘A brief economic history of beer brewing and consumption in Southern Germany’

This contribution picks up the argument that early brewing and beer consumption was regulated and add an economic perspective of this case. While the lack of information on the early history of beer brewing and consumption makes an economic investigation difficult, this study starts with the developments after the 11th century and concentrates on southern Germany, which has been well known for its tradition in beer brewing. Food security, competition with Northern Germany, climate change and changing comparative advantages are of particular interest. In the course of the analysis, average height is used as a proximate variable for nutritional resources - and the availability of raw materials for brewers - during the past 2 millennia. It is argued that nutritional sources in Northern Germany exceeded Southern standards until the 12th century; the opposite is true from then on.

  

Kristen D. Burton, University of Texas at Arlington, USA, ‘The citie calls for beere:  the introduction of hops and the foundation of industrial brewing in London, 1200-1700’

This paper examines the impact of hopped beer on the brewing trade in London between the years 1200-1700. Prior to the arrival of beer, traditional, un-hopped ale reigned as the most popular drink throughout England for centuries, pre-dating the Roman invasion of Britannia. This brew, though widely consumed, was an unstable commodity, as it spoiled quickly and brewers could only produce a limited amount of ale per batch. The addition of hops into brewing resulted in a more resilient product that lasted for months instead of weeks. The longer lifespan allowed brewers to export beer to an international market, resulting in a rapid growth of commercialization against which ale could not compete. Though the ale brewers of London resisted the arrival of hopped beer, their product could not compete against the commercial advantages offered by beer. Once accepted by English drinkers, beer became a staple supply to the English army, and by the end of the sixteenth century London became the primary exporter of beer on the international market. These factors resulted in the greater commercialization of beer in London, paving the way for the rise of industrial brewing in the eighteenth century. The durability of hopped beer forced brewers to take up the new practice of brewing with hops and made ale a drink limited to the English countryside by the end of the seventeenth century.

 

Ruth Cherrington, ‘We are not drinking dens! Working men's clubs and the struggle for respectability, 1862 -1920s’

Working men's clubs began to appear around the country from the mid-19th century onwards, as alternative recreational spaces to pubs and can be considered part of the rational recreation movement. Many were set up by men themselves, with the early support of high ranking patrons and religious leaders. They thought that getting men out of pubs would improve not only their family lives but also society more generally. The Working Men's Club and Institute Union (WMCIU) established in 1862 by a teetotal Reverend, Henry Solly, offered support for fledgling clubs through affiliation and practical help. The 'beer question', however, soon emerged with club members winning the right to choose for themselves whether to sell drink. Even with beer available, the WMCIU demanded high standards of clubs in terms of organisation and self-management and wanted to gain respectability, constantly drawing a line between bona fide clubs and disreputable drinking dens. The latter were set-up purely for drinking with no 'improving' activities and more often than not failing to pay taxes. The struggle to gain respectability for WMCIU affiliated clubs involved various strategies including dealing with their critics who saw clubs merely as private member alternatives to pubs. These challenges were not short-lived but continued well into the 20th century. This paper will consider the early context of working men's clubs and the role of the WMCIU, focussing on the issue of respectability and the continual efforts to distinguish working men’s clubs from the despised drinking dens. Key social, cultural and economic aspects of clubs will be outlined within the period from the establishment of the WMCIU to the 1920s.

 

Paul Cleave, University of Exeter, UK, ‘Twentieth century cafe society – eating out on holiday: a case study of Devon’

Food is a vital component of the tourism experience. This paper presents Devon, a county in the South West of England with a long history of food production and tourism as a case study. It aims to show how the provision of food for tourists ‘eating out’ has evolved through the 20th century. From tea room and cafe to Michelin Star restaurant and the celebrity chef commercial hospitality has made an important contribution to Devon’s tourism. 

The example of Deller’s, a family business will be used to demonstrate the significance of the cafe and restaurant in tourism. Starting as a food retailer, Deller’s Supply Stores established cafes in Paignton, Exeter and Taunton in the early 20th century. Deller’s Cafes provided genteel, elegant eating spaces, and good food, contributing to the social life of many holiday makers. A company brochure (c1925) describing a tour through Dellerland encouraged those travelling by car to stop at Deller’s cafes for their meals. They are  fondly recalled by those who visited them as more than a culinary legacy, a combination of ambience, service, and experience of place.

Utilising qualitative data derived from archival resources and in depth interviews it may be possible to discover more about the factors that contributed to their success in terms of, retail, distribution and consumption. Provincial and seaside cafes such as Deller’s (and those operated by Lyon’s, ABC and Cadena) appealed to the tourist market. They provided a treat, something special and sophisticated yet affordable, in contrast to rustic farmhouse and domestic hospitality provision.

From the 1970s market for ‘eating out’ on holiday changed. Fast food and nouvelle cuisine presented new styles of restaurant experience. More recently a return to independent restaurants and the interest in local food focuses on the creativity of the chef. However much can be learnt from the culinary experience of earlier decades.

 

D'Maris Coffman, University of Cambridge, UK, ‘Anticipating the state: reassessing the ‘old’ English excises and the development of brewing in England

As David Hume noticed, the excises on beer and malt served as the backbone of the eighteenth-century British fiscal system. The excise administration’s corps of professional collectors provided a model to the other branches and engendered the envy of the continental European powers. The British state profited from bureaucratization, transparency, efficiency, and Parliament’s ‘credible commitment to servicing the national debt (North & Weingast, 1989; Brewer, 1988). According to Gregory King (1695), households spent more on beer and ale than any other single item, and a significant portion of the agricultural produce of the kingdom was consumed in its production (Mathias, 1959 [1992]). As Peter Mathias suggested in his seminal account of the The Brewing Industry in England (1959 [1992]), changes in the excise laws, especially the introduction of the Malt Tax and the Hops Duty, altered traditional recipes for beer and ale, influenced industry organization and ultimately dictated strategies for the retailing of these beverages. 

This paper explores both the econometric evidence for these developments and the anecdotal evidence, drawn from brewers’ accounts and from contemporary polemics at three critical periods in the 1690s, 1700s and 1750s. Building on work done by Will Ashworth and Miles Ogborn, this paper also offers novel interpretations of the role of the excise in the changing eighteenth-century English economy.  

 

Nancy Cox, University of Wolverhampton, UK, ‘Don’t let them starve: food for the poor in the early-modern period’

The authorities developed a two-pronged attack on the problem of poverty. The first was to make life as uncomfortable as possible for those out of work and, at the same time, encouraging the poor to take up useful occupations where cheap labour was needed, such as (for women and children) in making lace. With the money thus earned they could buy their own food and avoid being a burden to poor relief.  By contrast, the life of those seen as the undeserving poor was made as near intolerable as possible, with those classified as beggars and pedlars, hounded off the streets. This was despite the utilitarian arguments of those like John Houghton, who argued their street selling made a useful contribution to society, and kept those thus engaged from falling onto relief. 

The second prong was to see that the staple foods of bread and beer were reasonably priced and reasonably pure. The regulations concerning their production and marketing were strict, on paper at least, but the authorities were relatively relaxed about most other foodstuffs

Beyond these not very successful attempts at solving what was seen as a social problem, the poor were largely dependent on the exertions of philanthropists or on their own initiatives. Whereas the former were seen as commendable, even if not always well directed, the latter were less favourably viewed. Some, like poaching and theft were illegal, but others like tea drinking, which was often a social activity even among the poor, were seen as possibly subversive and certainly an unwise use of scarce resources. Curiously enough, consuming tobacco, which was also often a social activity, though it more often involved men than women, was both popular with the poor themselves and sometimes even approved of by their so-called betters, since it was believed to suppress appetite and so encouraged the poor to eat less and be satisfied.

As for the philanthropists, many had only a hazy idea of what was useful. For example, it was widely seen as good works to provide the poor with soup or other food at minimal cost. The Sussex shopkeeper, Thomas Turner, found a recipe for ‘a cheap kind of soup’. He tried himself and concluded it to be ‘a very good, palatable, cheap nourishing diet’. Made with seven pints of water to only half a pound of meat bulked up with dried peas and oatmeal, it was hardly adequate nourishment for a labourer, but it was positively luxurious compared with the ‘noble exilerating meal’ made of water thickened with flour or oatmeal and flavoured with one onion. This meal, the author claimed would not cost ‘above a farthing’.

With inadequate poor relief, a hostile government and only ill-directed do-gooders, the poor ate badly. In normal times few probably actually died of starvation, but malnutrition was undoubtedly a factor in many deaths. The wretched survivors lived - just. Looking well ahead, even in the mid-twentieth century, the subsidised, minimal rations of the Second World War are believed to have provided a better diet than most poor people had previously experienced even in the twentieth century.

 

Josie Freear, University of Leeds, UK, ‘Marks and Spencer: a ‘revolutionary hygienic code’ in food supply, distribution and retailing?’

In his 1969 history of Marks and Spencer, Goronwy Rees proclaimed that through its research and development practices, the company had created an ‘almost revolutionary hygienic code’. Some evidence for such an assertion is provided by the influence of the company’s Hygiene Manual, published in 1949, which was heralded by the NHS and used to improve conditions on hospital wards across the country. However, little detailed research has been conducted to confirm or refute the notion that M&S has been at the forefront of setting hygienic standards in the food retailing industry. Furthermore, the importance of this ‘hygienic code’ in the wider context of the social history of food and networks of food supply, distribution and retailing has previously been overlooked.

This paper attempts to fill this gap in existing research. It will draw on the approaches of both business history, with particular reference to concepts of innovation and trust, and cultural and social history, including contemporary constructions of cleanliness. Through an exploration of these areas, this paper will begin to consider the importance of M&S’s hygienic code within the supply, distribution and retailing of food in Britain. It will use the records of the company’s food department, including papers of the food research unit and its director Nathan Goldenberg contained in the M&S archive. This documentation will be used to assess the role of the in-house research station and food development team in providing the scientific basis for innovative hygienic practices and cutting edge technologies. It will determine the extent to which M&S imposed these exacting hygienic standards upon supplier practices, thereby gaining control over food distribution from the supply end. Finally, consideration will be given to the distribution and retailing of food by analysing the way in which Marks and Spencer used their hygienic code to influence and shape consumer behaviour.

 

Mark Hailwood, University of Exeter, UK, ‘Rethinking men’s consumption of alcohol in the early modern English alehouse’

Whilst changes in the actual levels of alcohol consumption in early modern England remain unclear, historians agree that the institution of the alehouse came to play an increasingly important role in the consumption of alcohol. From the middle of the sixteenth century the numbers of alehouses in early modern England exploded, more than doubling by the middle of the seventeenth century. What was driving this increase? Traditionally, social historians of the early modern alehouse suggested that this rise in alehouse numbers was a direct response to increased levels of poverty caused by demographic and economic pressures—the growing ranks of the poor were thought to have increasingly turned to the consumption of alcohol ‘to blot out some of the horror of their lives’, craving narcotic relief as they engaged in the ‘desperate pursuit of drunken oblivion’.

This paper argues that this conventional explanation for the increase in the consumption of alcohol in alehouses is insufficient. In particular, by favouring a ‘drink-as-despair’ explanation, historians have tended to overlook the important cultural and social appeal of alehouse-going in the period. By examining a range of seventeenth-century broadside ballads, this paper will reconstruct the cultural values associated with the consumption of alcohol in alehouses. It will argue that far from being a direct response to poverty, alehouse-going was more often than not seen as an opportunity for the labouring and artisan classes to engage in a form of conspicuous expenditure intended to demonstrate a certain distance from poverty. Furthermore, the paper will argue that this conspicuous expenditure was central to the articulation of a certain code of plebeian masculinity that historians of masculinity in the period have failed to acknowledge.

 

Chris Heal, University of Bristol, UK, ‘Mad with drink: Garnishes and combinations among the felt hatters’

Well before the hatters were publicly declared ‘mad’ they were known across the land as inebriates: ‘Drunk as a hatter’ was the common descriptor and, indeed, from the outside at least it is difficult to differentiate between one suffering from alcohol or mercury poisoning. Hatter culture is sodden with alcohol consumption. This paper explains how and why.

In the feltmakers’ garrets and plank shops the craftsmen worked by hand amidst clouds of wool or fibre dust or at a scrubbing board over an acid-filled, coal-heated bason. Windows were tightly closed in all seasons lest any precious beaver was disturbed. These were quiet manufactories without power. The men talked the day away and the johnny-boys were kept busy running for small beer, perhaps two gallons a day per man.

Around 1800, as the nascent hatter trade unions sought to escape the strictures of the Combination Acts, their box clubs, or friendly societies, became a mix of craft headquarters and smoke-filled drinking den. From simple beginnings there evolved more complex relationships between workers and their chosen public houses. On ‘club night’, members exchanged trade news and arranged for the jobs notified to their landlord to be filled in rotation; for masters in seasonal trades, a necessary evil. A typically hostile view saw that ‘benefit clubs ... naturally lead to idleness and intemperance [and] afford commodious opportunities to foment sedition and form illegal combinations’.

Drinking as ritual became embedded in the hatter’s workplace and in their argot. Garnishes were sought for every change in circumstance: leaving apprenticeship, getting a job or married. Imagined slights, weighing out the corker, were invented to relieve the boredom and settled by mulet, insist or garret fine. All were immediately followed by a cessation of work and a general move to enjoy the consequences to the frustration of spouse and employer.

 

David Hitchcock, University of Warwick, UK, ‘Fraught refuge? Poverty, mobility and alehouses in England in the 17th and 18th centuries’

This paper will attempt to nuance our understanding of one particular social function of the English alehouse; the provision of its characteristic services such as a room, drink, and victuals to the poorer and mobile people in English society: the ‘travellers’, ‘strangers’ and ‘outcomers’ of contemporary sources and literature. Recent scholarship has highlighted public houses more generally as multifaceted spaces, capable of serving as traditional sites of conviviality and sociability, as well as places of exchange, contexts of contractual obligation, and locations of reconciliation. This paper will explore how one, often socially marginalised or ‘threatening’ section of English society made use of alehouses, and indeed how contemporaries perceived them to use such spaces. Pedlars, ballad singers and sellers, tinkers, and poorer labouring travellers of all sorts used the alehouse as a refuge for the night, and by interrogating both legal records and contemporary literary discourses, a much more nuanced picture of the reception and accommodation of these groups can emerge.

        These groups were often taken collectively to be ‘idle’ ‘vagrant’ and disorderly, but by interrogating the differences between perception and practice, a more complicated relationship between mobility and the alehouse emerges. Contemporary legal records did castigate publicans for the harbouring of undesirable inmates or vagrants, just as these same proprietors were targeted in the frequent suppression of alehouses or the prosecution of tippling. However, local sources such as Parish accounts show a considerable allocation of parish charity to housing poor migrants overnight, and occasionally we can determine that the sites which housed poor migrants were indeed alehouses. Popular literature such as ballads also complicates the traditionally hostile picture of the relationship between alehouses and vagrants. This paper will engage with such sources in an attempt to further nuance our understanding of hospitality, drink, and sites of sociability in the past. The alehouse can provide a snapshot of the mobile poor at rest, and perhaps even elucidate additional complexities of their existence.

 

Claire Holleran, University of Liverpool, UK, ‘Feeding Ancient Rome’

Ancient Rome was an exceptionally populous city by pre-industrial standards. At its height, in the late Republic and the Principate (c.100BC–AD200), Rome was home to around one million people, a population figure not reached again in any city in the Western world until London in the early nineteenth century. Given the pressure on space, population density was high, and the most of the urban residents lived in multi-storey, multi-occupancy dwellings.  Cooking facilities were limited and access to gardens or land in the vicinity of the city was restricted to the wealthy. The vast majority of the population were, therefore, reliant on the market for their food supply, and a thriving retail trade developed in order to serve this remarkable spatial concentration of consumers.  Bakeries and cookshops were commonplace, and were supplemented by periodic markets, street sellers, and ambulant vendors.  The expansion of Italian viticulture also resulted in increased wine consumption in Rome, and the development of an urban ‘bar culture’. Furthermore, as the political centre of a vast Mediterranean-wide empire, Rome was the place where the elite expended their wealth, much of which was spent on entertaining and banqueting. Imported herbs and spices, together with other expensive food items, were therefore also available, retailed through more exclusive permanent market buildings (macella) and ‘warehouses’ (horrea); purchasers were prepared to pay high sums for certain items, particularly rare and desirable fish, which were auctioned off to the highest bidder.  The result was a retail system unparalleled in antiquity in its complexity; this complexity was not just a product of the intrinsic differences between the food items sold, but also of the social and economic diversity of the city’s population. This paper will discuss some of these different modes of distributing food in Rome, thus highlighting the complexity of both the retail network and the population which it served.

 

 Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin, Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, UK, ' "Discords have arisen and brotherly love decreased": the spatial and material contexts of the guild feast in early modern London'

The guild feast or dinner was a significant site for the conspicuous consumption of food and alcohol in the urban environment. The gifting of silver drinking vessels for communal use and the sharing of alcoholic drinks were apparently essential for the forging and demonstration of social and political bonds between members of the same ‘never dying’ body of ‘artisans’. However, such occasions of choreographed conviviality were not as straightforwardly harmonious as the rhetorical language of company wardens would have us believe. Early modern civic culture - which often involved interaction between persons of very varied material circumstances - is known to have been, at times, highly divisive and ridden with conflict. Court minutes of craft guilds frequently refer to feasting occasions at which ‘brotherly love’ appears to have been entirely absent: for example when young company members refused to defer to the livery, or ‘uncivill language’ was exchanged between liverymen of similar status.

Through an analysis of drink-fuelled skirmishes within the Carpenters’, Armourers’ and Goldsmiths’ companies of the seventeenth century, this paper will situate notions of conflict within specific material and spatial contexts. It will suggest that disputes between men of the same guild at feasts often centred on issues of age, social background and relative craft skills: though these markers of manhood manifested themselves and depended upon where he sat - or served - within the Company hall or parlour; the clothes he was obliged to wear; his material contribution to the dinner and his access to the Company plate and treasures. As company halls were reimagined and rebuilt and the material culture of interiors changed from the later sixteenth century, the nature of social relations between guildsmen at the feast were also transformed.     

            

Beat Kümin, University of Warwick, UK, ‘Public houses as socio-cultural assets in the long eighteenth century’

This presentation explores the ‘positive’ socio-cultural functions of ‘drinking dens’ such as inns, taverns and beerhouses on the eve of the modern period. Drawing primarily on materials from German-speaking Europe, it will focus on the following spheres:

Economically, public houses were major employers in the emerging ‘service sector’. They generated vast revenues for the state in indirect taxation and provided bases for both job seekers and rapidly expanding transport networks.

Socially, public houses provided the principal communication sites in pre-industrial Europe. Rural inns, in particular, accommodated a near-comprehensive range of patrons and recent research additionally emphasizes the role of women in the ‘world of the tavern’.

Culturally, drinking establishments served as venues for countless musical, dancing and sporting events. As generally accessible sites conducive to multimedia exchange, furthermore, they played a major part in the emergence of a ‘political’ public sphere in this period. 

 

Rosângela Ferreira Leite, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil, ‘The cocoa trade and transformations in taste: Brazil and England, 1808-1821’

In 1808 the Court of Portugal arrived in Rio de Janeiro. This Transfer was a celebration of the end of the colonial pact, initiating the opening movement of the ports to friendly nations. England, a supporter of the Portuguese crown and supportive of the transfer of Court Bragantina for parts of America, was a nation favored by opening of the ports. Since this date, the British goods began to arrive, increasingly, in the ports of parts of Brazil, also came plenipotentiaries and commercial agents. Foods products emerged as the second exportation item of the Brazilian Trade Balance.

Both food and raw materials gained new momentum in maritime trade between Europe and the different places to Brazil. Trading venues such as Salvador (Bahia), Recife (Pernambuco), Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro) remained as bearers of the movement expanded the ideas and the political practices.

Cocoa characterized as a typical product of the international market, it became part listed article indices Balances of Trade. The expansion of this product indicates to the diversification of export production, and the gradual establishment of a new external demand. The internal demand changes in the same rhythm.

The study of cocoa –  With base to relation between England and Brazil – sheds light on the changes in life forms and the tastes behaviors. This communication aims to cocoa trade between Brazil and England in the period 1808-1821. I have concentrated upon the particular trends, discernible in slavery context for to indicate a possibility of de birth consumer society in the Brazilian experience history.

The research of Balances of Trade during the transfer of the Portuguesa Court to Brazil has a strongly historiography debate. Even so, it is necessary in doing this to consider in the same approach the changes in the consumer situation, the individual experience and the social implication.

 

Phil Lyon, Umeå University, Sweden, and David Kinney, Plymouth College of Art, UK, ‘What’s new? The history of new food products’

The presence of new food products on supermarket shelves reassures consumers about the openness of the market and the bounty available from manufacturer processes of innovation and production. This has the capacity to seem true even if the product is new only in the illusory sense of being a reformulation of an older product or, even less than this, a repackaging or relaunch of an otherwise unchanged older product. Being new may be as much an effective fiction as a genuine quality of the object. Paradoxically, new may also be a matter of degree. Some things are new in that they represent a paradigm shift in old product configurations whereas others are new only as fresh examples of an old paradigm.  To further complicate the picture, being new can also mean being so old that a product has not been on the market for some time and acquires a ‘newness’ not because of its recency but because it has been revived after being all-but-forgotten. This is the realm of the nostalgia food item.

In whatever form, many new or apparently new products are launched every year. Some find favour and their sales prosper. Others, perhaps no less technologically innovative or no less advertised, die the ignominious death of consumer neglect or antipathy.  

What is new eventually, but inevitably, becomes incorporated in the spectrum of established products. That is to say, the new is new no longer and acquires the quality of ordinariness. In this paper we explore the meaning of ‘new’ to the food consumer and look at the history of novel food products.

 

Alessia Menghin, St Andrews University, UK, ‘At the table of Piero, a Florentine civic employee in the Quattrocento’

The paper wishes to examine the eating habits of a Florentine civic employee, Piero di Francesco da Vicchio, a donzello of the Parte Guelfa (one of the governmental bodies of the commune) in the fifteenth century.

The ricordanze (books of family records) and especially the memoriale (recollections) in which Piero left records of his life and activity, will form the basis for the paper which will first of all identify the basic components of the diet of ordinary people, and especially of workers in Quattrocento Florence.  I will analyze the cereals used, and above all the bread (omnipresent and predominant), produce such as meat and lard, and the drinks consumed by Piero and his family. The records also allow us to trace the daily, seasonal and annual dynamics of consumption in Piero’s household.

In pre-industrial societies like Quattrocento Florence out of season and exotic produce imported from far away was a comfort destined - due to the high cost of the goods imported - only to the wealthy. The paper will show that Piero, despite not being rich himself, was nonetheless able to purchase more refined wines, parmesan cheese (regarded as a delicacy), expensive meat, vegetables, and even some spices. In fact, Piero’s real income not only allowed occasional little luxuries, but the records attesting to considerable degrees of provision show that in contrast to many of his social equals, shopping for food was for him not just a satisfaction of essential needs. As the evidence suggests, his and his family’s diet do not seem to have been affected by a chronic deficit in animal fat and protein for example, and despite the relatively low agricultural production of the time, a certain variety of vegetables in his diet seems to have been the norm rather than the exception.

 

Montserrat M. Miller, Marshall University, USA, ‘Gender in the marketplace:  selling food and negotiating personal honor at the commercial nexus of neighborhood life in 20th century Barcelona’

In late nineteenth and early twentieth century Spain, as elsewhere, we see that gender constructs facilitated women’s entrance into service-sector jobs. Female market vendors were familiar to all those who lived in cities featuring the new market hall-based systems of food distribution, but, with few exceptions, they have remained elusive in our constructions of the past. In the case of Barcelona specifically, market vendors are worthy of historical attention not just for being cultural icons, but also because they exhibited considerable economic stability through the consolidation of a set of gender-neutral legal rights after 1898 and then became a less gender-segregated population with the maturation of industrial capitalism in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Female market vendors in twentieth century Barcelona often took great pride in their work, building close bonds with other women in the market and with many of their clients.  Yet they were both trusted and reviled; they acted as counselors to the troubled and as sanctioners of social transgression.  In many respects, they occupied a contested social space in which the mature could be derided as hags and gossips while the young were celebrated for their beauty in elaborate civic pageantry and public cavalcades.  Beginning their work days in the early hours of the morning, selling food from within tight confines, and often living close to the markets in which they worked, vendors, both male and female created a specific urban sub-culture that was distinctive from that of either the working classes or the bourgeoisie.  In defining themselves they typically emphasized personal honor and propriety, high domestic standards of cleanliness and order, and the lifelong loyalty of their clientele. Working outside the home throughout their lifecycles, they redefined bourgeois gender ideologies to better fit the exigencies of lower-middle class life.  In studying them we can see both the complexity of urban social order and the ongoing importance of the family economy as a key business strategy for the successful operation of market stall enterprises.

 

Jonathan Morris, University of Hertfordshire, UK, ‘Making Italian espresso, making espresso Italian’

Espresso coffee has become synonymous with Italy, as have those beverages which employ this as a base such as cappuccino and caffè latte.  This paper will examine the processes by which espresso became ‘Italian’ over the course of the twentieth century by investigating the ways that the taste of Italian coffee has evolved, along with the taste for coffee amongst the Italians.  It will analyse the development of both the domestic and ‘away from home’ markets, and the evolution of the distribution chains linking coffee roasters and machine makers to bars and grocery retailers, within the context of socio-economic changes in 20th C. Italy.  This will be combined with a focus on the changes in the cultural construction of coffee in Italy as reflected in marketing and communications strategies that have shifted from presenting coffee as an exotic overseas product to an icon of ‘Italianess’, not least as a response to the success of espresso outside the country. 

 

Zachary Nowak, The Umbra Institute, Italy, ‘The Fair of the Dead: Perugia’s autumn market from the 1200s to yesterday’

First mentioned in a record of the city of Perugia in 1260, the Fiera dei Morti was a typical central Italian autumn fair which gave farmers the opportunity to exchange their crops. With the passage of the centuries, though, the fair has changed name (from All Saint’s Fair to the Fair of the Dead), venue (from the historic center to the parking lot of the soccer stadium), and “personality.” This last element includes the fair’s demographics, what is offered for sale, and the reasons for attending the fair. Though the Fiera dei Morti no longer has cattle for sale and farmers can buy knives and clothes in malls that begin where their fields end, there are some enduring elements of the Fair. Among these are culinary traditions like strufoli and the fave dei morti, sweets whose “meanings” have been mostly lost but which have palatal persistence nonetheless. This paper will examine the fair and its importance as a location of “food remembering” for Perugians.

 

Rengenier Rittersma, Saarland University, Germany, ‘Creating gastronomic celebrity: a case study on the role of the Piedmontese family Morra in the marketing of the white truffle of Alba (1930-1960)’

This paper will be based on the private archive of the family Morra and the local records of the town of Alba. This town, nowadays world famous for its white truffle, was once put on the map by the local restaurant owner Giacomo Morra (1899-1963). From the 1930s onwards, he systematically organised the annual Truffle Fair of Alba and intensified his promotion campaign after the Second World War, by presenting the most beautiful truffle of the season to celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, John F. Kennedy and President Truman, thus turning the local truffle into a gastronomic celebrity. In my paper (which will contain a lot of visual material, since the archive of the Morra family has a unique photo collection), I will focus on the socio-historical, semiotic, and political dimensions of 20th century consumption and lifestyle history which made the white truffle of Alba eventually world famous.

 

Carolina Román Ramos, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, ‘Consumption patterns and its determinants during the first half of the 20th century: a historical and comparative approach’

Consumption is an important component of social welfare and constitutes an aggregate measure of the economic dimension of standards of living. Food spending, calories consumed, consumption shifts toward more sophisticated good and services, can be understood as indicators of the standards of living of a society and may allow us to compare development levels among regions in the long-run. In addition, consumption is related to economic growth, income distribution, urbanization, demographic structure and the modernization of a society, constituting and interesting ‘pivot concept` to study economic development in a broad approach. This paper studies the characteristics of the consumption patterns during the first half of the twentieth century for a group of countries and explores the relation with some of it main determinants. We consider consumption patterns as the changes in the distribution of household expenditure among different categories of goods and services (food, housing, fuel and light, clothing and miscellaneous). We based our analysis on the information provided by the studies about standard living conditions of the working classes that were carried in the thirties for several regions in the world. These studies bring information about the family expenses on consumption and distribution among groups of items. We used two types of sources: the Labour Statistics Yearbook of the International Labour Organization (ILO) –that survey information about household expenditure for several groups of countries– and national studies. We focus on consumption patterns as the share of each type of expenditure on the family budget (in percentage and current prices), as well as the calories consumed. In addition, we aim to explain different consumption patterns among regions considering some of the main economic determinants such as wages, income per capita, prices, demographic structure and urbanization. The results are consistent with our theoretical expectations and motivate new hypothesis to be tested in following steps of this research.

 

Fredrik Sandgren, Uppsala University, Sweden, ‘An easy sell? The introduction of a deep frozen food system in Sweden 1945-1970’

Deep frozen food was one of the most important technological developments when the distribution system was modernised and rationalised in the post WW2 era. While the technique of cold storage and transports was developed and used already in the late 19th century, the boom in consumption of deep frozen food relied on the development of a unbroken distribution chain of frozen food from the producer to the final consumer, and this development did not take place in earnest in Europe until the 1940s and 1950s.

Similar to the case of self-service Sweden was one the prime movers in Europe concerning the development of a system for deep frozen food. Pioneers such as Findus, producer of vegetables and berries, started production of deep frozen food already in the mid 1940s, while the major actors in the grocery trades started constructing cold stores in the late 1940s.

The real challenge was however to convince the retailers and the customers (both private and commercial) to adopt the new technique and the new products and ultimately to install freezing equipment in the stores and in their homes or in restaurants and canteens. This development was more gradual over the 1950s and 1960s, although there was an explosion of the consumption of deep frozen food in the 1950s.

Similar to the development of self-service in Sweden, a number of actors was involved in the lobbying for and also practical development of the system of deep frozen food. One important actor was the producers of equipment for deep frozen products. Other actors involved were of course the producers, wholesalers and retailers of deep frozen food. Trade associations such as the Bureau for Deep Freezing was linking all above actors with for instance the The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, while also the trade associations of the retailers and wholesalers were active in the development process.

The aim of this paper is to study the Swedish discussion surrounding the system of deep frozen food 1945-1970. I will use journals and possibly also business archives from the actors involved in the discussion. The study will show what arguments for and possibly also against deep frozen food that was used in order to further the development of the system of deep frozen food in Sweden.

 

Werner Scheltjens, University of Groningen, Netherlands, ‘The distribution of non-essential foodstuffs via the Dutch Republic, 1595-1795’

In this paper, I present a survey of the distribution patterns of non-essential foodstuffs from the Dutch Republic to other European destinations, focusing mainly on wine, exotic fruits, coffee, tea, cacao, sugar and spices. Rather than exploring the routes that connected the East- and West-Indies, France and the Mediterranean with the gateways of the Dutch Republic, I will examine what happened next. For reasons of manageability of the available source material, the focus will be limited to sea transportation. Thus, the rise and decline of trade in non-essential foodstuffs will be examined from the perspective of the Dutch maritime transport sector.

The main questions of this paper are: What were the next destinations of non-essential foodstuffs arriving in the Dutch Republic? Who was responsible for transportation to their final destination? And how did the rise of foreign competition in the distribution of non-essential foodstuffs affect the Dutch maritime transport sector?

The first question addresses the spatial structure of the distribution of non-essential foodstuffs via the Dutch Republic. The second question focuses on the operational strategies employed by the maritime distribution sector of the Dutch Republic and tackles the issue of specialisation vs. flexibility. The third and final question addresses the longterm effects of growth and decline of trade and foreign competition on the maritime distribution sector of the Dutch Republic.

Abundant source material is available on the topic of this paper, including primary source editions of VOC archives and Directory Board of Trade with the Levant, secondary literature on the maritime transport sector in the Dutch Republic and serial data sources like Dutch-Asiatic Shipping 1595-1795, Paalgeldregisters of Amsterdam 1771-1817, Danish Sound toll registers 1497-1857 and others.

 

Jon Stobart, University of Northampton, UK, ‘Novelty, luxury and the consumption of groceries in eighteenth-century England’

Food has long played an important part in shaping behaviour and identity, especially in a domestic setting. It was, for instance, central to hospitality and largesse in the pre-modern great house and to notions of magnificence or elegance of table. This links food closely to the kind of conspicuous consumption discussed by Veblen as characteristic of the leisured classes: the consumption of ‘more excellent goods’ being evidence of wealth and status. Defining the precise nature of these goods is problematic, but they included a range of groceries which Smith and others have identified as luxuries: most notably sugar and spices.

Food was also associated with social distinction: taste could be communicated through fashionable food and novel drinks such as tea, coffee and chocolate. Berg argues that the pursuit of novelty is intrinsically pleasurable since it stimulates arousal by providing variety, complexity and surprise. Drinking tea and coffee afforded novel physical experiences, whilst the wide range of teas available by the mid eighteenth century provided variety and complexity. Yet novelty needed to be accommodated within existing norms and practices of consumption; it had to be ‘recognizable, and tastes developed to appreciate it’.

In this paper I draw on these ideas to explore certain aspects of the consumption of groceries in the home. In particular, I focus on the way in which certain goods were viewed and consumed as novelties or luxuries. Here, I begin by considering how novelty might be defined for the individual consumer and how purchases of groceries might reflect a pursuit of the new. The trickle down of novelties such as tea and coffee is then examined alongside the strong continuities that emerge in patterns of consumption. Next, luxury is explored in terms of exclusivity and, in more nuanced terms, using Appadurai’s register, as luxuries. Despite the growing availability of tea, sugar and so on, some consumers were clearly concerned with the quality of the groceries being purchased, whether as novel items which could add new experiences or fashionability to their eating and drinking, or as luxuries which helped to distinguish them in some way from the common order.

 

Deborah Toner, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London, UK, ‘Closing time for machismo? Reassessing the gender dynamics of alcohol consumption in nineteenth-century Mexico’

Anthropological, sociological and historical studies of drinking in modern Mexican history have focused on the concept of machismo, which suggests the preponderance of heavy drinking, chauvinism, aggression and violence as an extreme, though common, expression of masculinity. Judgements about the prevalence of a macho culture of alcohol consumption amongst the lower classes, in particular, emerged from judicial records and newspaper reports that provide information about social drinking practices from highly negative viewpoints, since they deal overwhelmingly with the criminal and destructive aspects of public drunkenness. A deeper analysis of these sources, however, reveals a much more complex situation, in which the consumption of alcohol was involved in the construction of a range of different, contested masculine identities, and in the negotiation of different models of gender relations at different levels of society in the nineteenth century.

Drinking together in all male groups with a similar social background was an important arena for the consolidation of lower class masculine identity, and it also gave rise to opportunities for competition for status. However, the presence of women in public drinking places and their participation in social drinking practices alongside men was much more common and harmonious than contemporary observers and studies of machismo would have us believe. In some instances, men of low social status, and even some women, faced censure from their own communities, neighbours, and families (and not just the authorities) for recurrent, irresponsible or socially disruptive patterns of alcohol consumption, and these cases are highly suggestive of the predominance, not of a drunken, violent, chauvinistic machismo amongst the lower orders, but of the expectation that men act as responsible, respectable, hard-working fathers, husbands, and role models.

 

Ilias P. Vlachos, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, ‘The history of food preference and its effect on production and markets: evidence from Greek olive oil’

Food preference is a socially constructed concept in which both consumers and producers define what is ‘good to eat’. Olive oil is unique in Mediterranean region with references of their production and consumption in Ancient Greece. Olive oil has a central role in Mediterranean diet becoming a choice of modern consumers.

Consumer food preferences affect agricultural systems because farmers’ production choices are based on social needs in addition to variables such as yield and climate. Therefore, agricultural economy, markets, and supply chains are largely affected of the social concept of food preference.

First, we define food preference. Then, we review textual historical, economic, and cultural evidence, to review the olive oil (and olives) preference from Byzantine period to the present. We describe the trajectory of olive oil production in Greek Regions of Messinian, Crete, and Mytilene as well as its relation to food preference. 

In these regions and elsewhere in Greece, shared ideologies of food preference resulted in a consensus mode of agricultural production. . From Byzantine to the present, olive oil supply chain and markets has evolved. Olive oil is marketed either via informal networks or via formal contracts, such as in the case of exporting. Even today, about 40% of olive oil in Greece is sold via friends and informal networks and the remaining is either exported or sold by commercial companies or agricultural unions. 

Health benefits of olive oil have renewed and refresh the consumer preference. Sustainability and environmental consensus has created new preferences for sustainable production.

 

Ros Watkiss, University of Wolverhampton, UK, ‘ “Popping to the corner”: grocery shopping in the post-war Black Country’

Traditionally, for the working classes, food shopping was a task performed by women on a virtually daily basis, at corner shops or local markets.  In the 1960s the advent of supermarkets, combined with the accessibility of refrigerators and increasing numbers of married women in full-time employment, are credited with changing consumption patterns – affecting the retailer and customer relationship, frequency of purchasing foodstuff and the length of the shopping journey.  There is a general perception that, between 1950 and the 1970s, shopping habits underwent a dramatic change as the majority of consumers deserted local shops in favour of cheaper goods from the ‘self-service’ stores and supermarkets, which they visited only once or twice a week.  However, it is possible that historians have exaggerated the rate of transformation, and that the change in shopping habits was not necessarily so marked or extensive as some have claimed.  Oral research within three small Black Country communities has revealed that the majority of working and lower-middle class consumers were slow to change their shopping habits, adhering to pre-war shopping practices into the 1970s.  They continued to patronise local shops, purchasing small amounts of food on a regular basis.  This paper argues that the continuing use of traditional methods of consumption was due to a combination of long-standing custom, loyalty to the shopkeeper, the flexibility of payment afforded by the ‘tick’ book and continuing perceptions that the corner shop remained the social hub of many communities.

 

Wendy Williams, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland, ‘Varieties to appeal to every palate’: themes of adventure, exoticism, celebrity and modernity in biscuit packaging, 1850–1939’

The introduction of industrialisation to biscuit manufacture in the latter half of the nineteenth century prompted a hugely accelerated rate of new variety presentation to the marketplace. In the thirty-two year period from 1858 to 1900 the number of lines produced by the leading manufacturer increased from forty-three to four hundred.

Focusing on analysis of labels, pricelists and other material from the archives of two significant producers, W&R Jacob & Co in Dublin and Huntley & Palmer in Reading, supported by secondary sources, this paper considers some of the factors influencing this dramatic increase in the generation and consumption of the new food products. The apparent widespread consumer acceptance of, and demand for these goods and the accretion of a favourable brand value perception is proposed as an inherited expression of the dominant producer group’s faith values.

The expansion of the rail network is considered not only for its influence on production, consumption and disribution of product but also for its role in triggering the symbolic association between industrially manufactured biscuits and leisure pursuits. The extension of themes of symbolic value from travel to expressions of adventure, exoticism, celebrity and modernity in other social and cultural fields is charted. Evidence of sustained influences from the artisan, medical and nautical backgrounds of biscuit making is attached to both the acceptability of the products and development of symbolic imagery in labelling.

The study concludes with an appraisal, from a food sociology perspective, of the role and expression of these symbolic associations in the proliferation of denaturalised, industrially manufactured food products and consequently in the formation of a new and modern visual shorthand for their recognition.

 

Eva Maria von Wyl, University of Zurich, Switzerland, ‘Ready to eat! American eating habits in postwar Switzerland’

Swiss food and eating habits have changed profoundly in the past 60 years, and the Swiss diet has been reshaped by globalization, affluence and mass consumption. Also, cooking has become increasingly quick and effortless due to industrial processing. Many of the changes and reforms within the Swiss eating habits in the postwar period originated in the United States, where economy and wealth had been growing ever since the 1920s.

At the end of World War II, the United States therefore became a role model for modern consumerism and a new way of life, the so called “American way of life”. New forms of (mass) production and (mass) consumption, which were based on improved efficiency and rationalization, also affected food consumption and eating habits: convenience foods, ready-to-eat meals and frozen goods now became popular with both consumers and producers. New, industrially produced foodstuff meant short and easy preparation for consumers and opened promising new markets for producers. American influence, and subsequently the concept of rationalization, can, in fact, be found throughout the entire industrial food chain, from production, marketing and selling to cooking and eating. Moreover, American influence, rationalization, and the increasing popularity of processed foods, can also be identified by considering common goods such as cola, ice tea, cornflakes, potato chips, ice cream and chewing gum.

Working on this hypothesis, this paper, on the one hand, considers the introduction of three distinctive food products in Switzerland: cornflakes, potato chips, and cola. Each had its own unique story of “becoming Swiss”. On the other hand, both the impact of the United States on these chosen examples and the different ways in which each item became integrated as an everyday food in Switzerland are examined and discussed.

 

Richard Yntema, Otterbein University, USA, ‘Brewers, franchising, and capital intensive brewing in the Dutch Golden Age’

In the 16th and 17th centuries, brewing was radically transformed into a capital-intensive industry in Holland’s state-of-the-art brewing centers. While the technological and institutional changes that underlay this transition have been examined in the literature, little attention has been directed to exploring the distribution channels Holland’s brewers developed that were both a prerequisite for, and a consequence of, large-scale, capital intensive brewing.

This paper argues that the creation and development of distribution networks, including early forms of franchising and the tied trade, played a critical role in the growth of Holland’s export brewing centers from the late fifteenth century through the Dutch Golden Age. The paper analyzes the complex and varied distribution channels employed by individual export brewers in Haarlem and Rotterdam in the 17th century, since it is only then that the surviving notarial and probate evidence allows us to examine in detail critical questions regarding how individual brewers distributed their beer.  The paper details the distribution channels used by brewers; the geographic extent of brewers’ distribution networks; the contractual terms between brewers and wholesalers and distributors; and, the amount of capital brewers invested in beer distribution.

While franchising and the tied trade developed in Holland’s brewing industry for many of the same reasons it did elsewhere, they developed in Holland much earlier on than is generally recognized in the literature.  In his study of England’s brewing industry in the 18th century, Peter Mathias for instance claims that the development of the tied trade was unique to England and was not practiced in continental Europe or in the Americas.   While the portraits of Holland’s leading brewers, including those painted by Hals and Rembrandt, might suggest that these entrepreneurs built their fortunes on their own; this paper shows that their success required the cooperation of extensive distribution networks.

 

INFORMATION

FEES

You can choose between a residential and a day package:

 Conference package 1: Residential package (inclusive of conference fee, refreshments, B&B accommodation on 7 September and conference dinner on 7 September. Accommodation on 6 and 8 September can be added)

 - Full residential package - £150

 - Postgraduate residential package - £ 100

 - Overnight accommodation (B&B), 6 September - £ 30

 - Overnight accommodation (B&B), 8 September - £ 30

 Conference package 2: Day package (inclusive of conference fee and refreshments. The conference dinner on 7 September can be added)

 - Day package 7 and 8 September - £100

- Day package 7 September only - £55

 - Day package 8 September only - £ 55

 - Conference dinner 7 September - £ 30

BURSARIES

It may be possible to offer bursaries to students and other junior scholars who are unable to obtain funding from their own institution, covering the fee and subsidising expenses. To apply, please fill in the Bursary section of the registration form. But please note that bursaries are not guaranteed, and any bursary available will be granted as refunds after the conference. All delegates are expected to pay registration and other fees in the first instance.

REGISTRATION

To register, please fill in the registration form and send to the address indicated on the form

PAYMENT

The following payment methods are accepted: cheque / bank transfer / credit card

Please make cheques payable to 'the University of Wolverhampton' and send with your registration form to the address indicated.

If you wish to pay by credit card or bank transfer, an invoice will be sent to you at the postal address you provide on the registration form. The invoice will have details of how to pay. Credit card payments can be made by telephone or on-line.

If you have any queries or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact: Laura Ugolini at L.Ugolini@wlv.ac.uk

THE VENUE

The conference venue (including accommodation) is the University of Wolverhampton’s Telford Campus, located near Telford, Shropshire.

Maps and directions to the campus are available here: http://www.wlv.ac.uk/default.aspx?page=7885

More information about Telford, the nearby Ironbridge Gorge and (beautiful!) Shropshire in general, is available from the Shropshire Tourism web-site, at http://www.shropshiretourism.co.uk/

Further details about Ironbridge are available here: http://www.ironbridge.info/index.php

This web-site may also be useful to plan your journey to Telford: http://www.transportdirect.info/Web2/Home.aspx

Railway times and fares can be found here:http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Ugolini, at l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk

 For further information, please contact Laura Ugolini: L.Ugolini@wlv.ac.uk

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Page author: Laura Ugolini
Last updated: October 2011