Labour and Migration: British workers emigrating to industrialising Europe, 1815-c.1870

British workers emigrating to industrialising Europe, c. 1815-1870

Viewed from the perspective of 21st-century political debate, British labour and migration history is often noted for its insular tendencies. The rise of isolationist political parties and the broader antagonism to Europe expressed by many British commentators has produced a common vision of the British past as a period of secure national borders. This project fundamentally disrupts this understanding of British and European labour markets in the past. By examining the widely dispersed phenomenon of skilled labour migration from Britain to continental Europe in the nineteenth century, it allows us to understand the pre-history of European economic integration.

Its focus is on the experiences of British migrant workers. The project will address their lives on the continent in the first phase of this migration. It will build upon an ongoing study of those who went to France and expand its analysis to the whole continent. What were the practicalities of these workers’ migration? Did they constitute isolated or instead relatively integrated communities? Why and how were some of them targeted by xenophobic riots, e.g. in 1848? What were their religious, cultural and associational lives? By addressing such questions, this project will not only deepen historical understanding of Europe’s past but also illuminate contemporary understandings of the place of Britain in Europe and that of migration in European economic well-being.

This project will also lay foundations for historical analysis of later global economic phenomena. Many of the migrants studied in this research programme were also involved in the subsequent flows of (for example) some 10,000 British engineers across the globe between 1850 and 1914. These workers played a part in British imperial expansion, contributing not only to technical developments in the USA, Canada, Australia and South Africa, but also to some in large parts of Sout

CORDIS: 704994
From 2016-09-01 to 2018-08-31


This dataset has no data


  • 7mgov

    International migration governance

    International migration governance refers to the complex framework of laws, regulations, partnerships, that national, subnational and international institutions adopt to manage and shape...

    View International migration governance

Additional Info

Funded / Co-funded H2020-EU.1.3.2.
Call Name H2020-MSCA-IF-2015
Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF

Please be aware that the information and links provided in the metadata above are maintained in distributed and heterogeneous information systems. Although we strive to maintain and keep links and information updated, this may not always be possible because of changes that are not registered and updated in the relevant information systems. Please, help us to maintain the system updated by indicating broken links or any other outdated information by contacting the relevant contact point. You can also inform us using the "Contact" link of this page.