‘But to Cover Her Shame’: Respectability, Social Mobility, and the Middling Sort in Early Nineteenth-century England

Andrew Popp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article explores how one middling English family – the Wilkinsons, shopkeepers in industrialising Lancashire – experienced and negotiated threats to their respectability and social status during the early nineteenth-century. It contributes to the history of downward social mobility, responding to a recent call in this journal for more work on this topic. I use a rich epistolary archive to explore the Wilkinsons experiences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCultural and Social History
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)501-516
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 07 Jun 2021.


  • Social mobility
  • Family
  • Emotions
  • Gender
  • Business

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