Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Leiden’s Pubscape, 1816–1894

Leiden’s Pubscape aims at better understanding the social and spatial relation of drink and labour in the 19th century (1816–1894), focussing on places where drink and urban working class met. Were liquor vendors (pubs and liquor stores) situated near factories? To what extent was the emerging pubscape socially differentiated? Did the number of liquor vendors significantly decrease following the Alcohol Act of 1881?

Duration
2019  -   2019
Contact
Ariadne Schmidt
Funding
Research Traineeship Program Humanities Leiden University

Background and research questions

According to the results of the Dangerous Cities projectthe top offense in mid-19th-century Leiden was public drunkenness, particularly on Sunday evenings. Intoxication was considered a major threat to the public order in the 19th century, particularly as alcohol consumption increased significantly among working-class men.

Offenders, mostly men in their thirties, lived in the poor, outlying areas of Leiden, but were most frequently arrested in the town centre, on the Haarlemmerstraat and the Breestraat. How can this spatial pattern of prosecutions of alcohol abuse be explained?

GIS analysis of the 1860 offense, public drunkenness, in Leiden. Left, crime scene; right, addresses of offenders (N=528).

Dataset and Method

Leiden’s Pubscape aims at better understanding the social and spatial relation of drink and labour in the 19th century (1816–1894), focussing on places where drink and urban working class met. Were liquor vendors (pubs and liquor stores) situated near factories? To what extent was the emerging pubscape socially differentiated? Did the number of liquor vendors significantly decrease following the Alcohol Act of 1881?

Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken (ELO), the regional archives, has a marvellous collection of Patentregisters (1816–1894). (A patent was a tax levied on independent businesses.) The registers provide information on addresses of pubs, liquor stores, factories and shops. The recent release of the GIS 19th-century Housenumber map makes accurate mapping of addresses in the Patentregisters possible and easy with GIS. The method has been tested with a small sample.

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