Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/29546
Appears in Collections:History and Politics eTheses
Title: Glasgow and the Great War: a study of health and wealth in an industrial city
Author(s): MacSporran, Graham
Supervisor(s): Jenkinson, Jacqueline
Smyth, Jim
Keywords: First World War
Living standards
Health
Influenza
Issue Date: Nov-2018
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: A study of the impact of the the First World War on the civilian population of Glasgow with reference to poverty, living standards and health. The study also considers the impact and responses to the influenza epidemic of 1918/19. Glasgow experienced significant industrial expansion in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which brought wealth to the city but also structural social problems, such as poor housing, widespread poverty, and low life expectancy. During the First World War, Glasgow’s industrial base was redirected towards the manufacture of war materials. This led to a buoyant labour market with opportunities for regular and well-paid work in the war industries. This study of Glasgow seeks to provide a new perspective on the impact of the war on the well-being of the civilian population of a regional industrial city. It will be argued that the war had, overall, a positive impact on social conditions. However, not all benefited from these positive changes. The principal beneficiaries were unskilled and casual workers, both male and female, who found work in the war industries thus improving the social conditions for a third of the families in Glasgow. This was contingent on wives and older children, as well as main wage earners, being able to undertake war-work. A further third of families in Glasgow suffered increasing hardship during the war. These were families reliant on fixed incomes, such as soldiers’ dependants, whose income was progressively eroded by price inflation. The remaining third of families, skilled workers on time rates and the middle classes, either maintained their standard of living or suffered some erosion with little change in their health. It will be concluded that the overall improvement in health in Glasgow during the war resulted from the marked improvement in the standard of living, and health, among the poorest families who could secure work in the war industries. The war economy benefited the areas of greatest deprivation and lowest life expectancy and halved the health penalty of being poor.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/29546

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