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Evening Lecture: Craftwork Beyond ‘the House’, Family and Household in the...

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The Royal Scots Club Edinburgh

29-31 Abercromby Place

Edinburgh

EH3 6QE

United Kingdom

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The Edinburgh ‘Incorporation of Mary’s Chapel’ was a composite body which sought to control the town’s building trades from its foundation in 1475 until the abolition of ‘exclusive privileges of work’ in 1846. Intriguingly, this Incorporation chose to refer to themselves in their minute books as ‘the House’, laying claim to their place as one of the building blocks of a godly society, and emphasising their desire for unity amongst their brethren. While this tells us much about the master craftsmen, it does not give a full picture of the wider building industry. Building sites relied on more than just the ‘brethren’ of the Incorporation, so therefore we must look beyond ‘the House’ to the households to get a clearer picture of the craft economy. By using the concepts of ‘family’ and ‘household’ to explore the building trades we can learn a great deal about the wider organization of work in an early modern European capital. While the masters were indeed important, there were many other men - and women - who contributed both skill and labour to the building of what would become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dr Aaron Allen is a historian and an academic developer at the Institute for Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on craft guilds and corporatism, and he has recently published a monograph with EUP, Building Early Modern Edinburgh: A Social History of Craftwork and Incorporation (2018).

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The Royal Scots Club Edinburgh

29-31 Abercromby Place

Edinburgh

EH3 6QE

United Kingdom

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