All rooms are equipped with an overhead projector
Rooms C, D, E, F, G and H (H only on Saturday): slide projector (framed slides, carrousel. There are extra carrousels available to set up your presentation in advance)
Rooms C, D, M, N, O, U and Committee Room 2: beamer to connect your laptop. You have to bring you own laptop. (If you want to use your Apple notebook, please contact us, as it may be incompatible.)
Rooms C, T and U: VCR
|Death on a strange isle: mortality among the stone workers of the Isle of Purbeck in southern England, 1850-1900|
|Occupational mortality differentials in nineteenth century England have long attracted the attention of historians. Contemporaries believed, and subsequent work has confirmed, that the mortality of miners, both of coal and of metals (such as tin and lead) was higher than the average, despite many of them living in apparently healthy rural environments.
This paper analyses the mortality of a similar group of rural workers in an extractive industry, the stone quarriers of the Isle of Purbeck in the English county of Dorset. These stone ‘quarriers’ were more accurately described as ‘stone miners’ since they worked underground in narrow shafts.
The analysis makes use of two databases. The first has been created by nominal record linkage of the census enumerators’ books and the Church of England burial registers. This database can be used to produce estimates of mortality at ages from one year upwards. The second database has been created by linking together the Church of England baptism and burial registers, and produces estimates of mortality at ages under five years. Used in combination, therefore, the two databases allow the estimation of age-specific death rates at all ages, and hence statistics such as the expectation of life at birth. The age-specific death rates are estimated using a two-state model of the transition from life to death.
The results are compared with mortality statistics published by the Registrar General of England and Wales (on the basis of the civil registers of deaths) for the Registration District of Wareham, in which Purbeck is situated. The levels of mortality estimated for the whole population of the Isle of Purbeck are close to those produced by the Registrar General for the Wareham Registration District. The stone quarriers, however, had, as expected, heavier mortality levels than the rest of the population of Purbeck. Closer inspection, however, reveals that their high mortality was confined to males, and was almost entirely due to especially high mortality among boys aged less than five years. In contrast to the situation with coal and other metal miners, adult male mortality among stone workers was no higher than that among the general population.
The final section of the paper speculates about the explanation for these results. One possibility is that genetic factors are implicated. The Purbeck stone quarriers were distinctive in that recruitment into the occupation was exclusively by descent (only the sons of stone quarriers could themselves become quarriers), a practice which had been written into statute since the seventeenth century. The result was that the nineteenth-century stone workers were descended over many generations from a very few individuals.