Brad Beaven has a new blog published on the Social History Society’s blog, looking at the history of ‘sailortowns’, seaport’s urban quarters where sailors would stay, eat, drink and be entertained. These were transient and liminal spaces and a unique site of cultural contact and exchange. Despite the rich array of research areas in class, race and gender relations that these districts have to offer, sailortowns have tended to be overlooked in historical study. This is because they sit at the cross-roads between the urban and maritime realms, and have tended to fall between these two schools of history.
Brad writes about his new article published for the journal Social History. This looks at nineteenth-century London, then the largest port in the world, and its infamous Ratcliffe Highway, as the ideal case study to explore this relationship between sailors and working-class communities.