Material Culture and Consumer Demand in the British Atlantic: The Case of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Servants, c. 1780-1820

The long 18th century saw profound changes in the dress, diet, and homes of consumers across the British Atlantic.

Such findings are largely derived from studies of probate inventories, customs data, and more recently through the use of court records. Despite their potential to provide a more dynamic depiction of consumption, mercantile sources have seldom been used to examine consumer demand. In this talk, Dr David Hope will use account books from the archives of the Hudson’s Bay Company to explore the consumption patterns of the Company’s servants as they worked in the isolated, sub-arctic climes of British North America. In so doing, it provides a detailed analysis of the material purchases of a group of men from a wide range of incomes and backgrounds, and challenges several supposed aspects of the eighteenth-century ‘consumer revolution’.

For further information, please contact a member of the Committee:

Gregorio Alonso; Richard Bellis; Kerry Bristol; Valerie Mainz; Peter Maw


Location: Seminar Room 1, LHRI (Leeds Humanities Research Institute), 29-31 Clarendon Road
Cost: Free