‘I’m delighted and honoured to receive this prize. It also recognises all the important new feminist research on early modern women’s work, demonstrating the centrality of labour, business, employment, training and skill to women’s lives. Alongside the compelling stories of legal records, I drew heavily on digitised data to uncover women’s part in the economic and social networks of early modern communities. Thinking about the human relationships involved in skilled work, and the overlap of household and labour relations, was particularly pointed during the isolations of the pandemic’.Professor Laura Gowing speaking to Social History Society
19 July 2023
Professor Laura Gowing awarded the Social History Society's Book Prize
Laura Gowing, Professor of Early Modern History, has won the Social History Society Book Prize for her book Ingenious Trade: Women and Work in Seventeenth-Century London.
Ingenious Trade tells stories of women making their living in late 17th-century London and highlights the significance of their work at the heart of the revolution in trade goods. Professor Laura Gowing – from the Department of History – explores the extent and complexity of their contracts, training and skills by tracking women – from adolescence to old age, single, married and widowed – through city archives. Professor Gowing was praised for her use of legal records and guild archives to reconstruct women’s negotiations with city regulations and bureaucracy.
The Social History Society Book Prize is awarded annually for the best original works of social and cultural history published in the preceding calendar year. The book must be written in English by a scholar normally residing in the UK and must be at least the author’s second history book. The winner is selected by an independent panel of judges. The 2023 panel was chaired by Pat Thane, Professor in Contemporary British History at King’s College London, and included Professor Lucy Noakes from the University of Essex, Professor Phillipp Schofield from the Aberystwyth University and Professor Naomi Tadmor from the Lancaster University.
Ingenious Trade is published by Cambridge University Press.