Faith in the Town: Lay Religion, Urbanisation and Industrialisation in England, 1740-1830

Hannah Barker (Professor of British History, The University of Manchester), Jeremy Gregory (Professor of the History of Christianity, University of Nottingham), Kate Gibson (The University of Manchester)

Joseph van Aken, 'Saying Grace' (c. 1720)
Joseph van Aken, 'Saying Grace' (c. 1720), Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The project examines the role of religion in the daily lives and outlooks of men, women and children living in urban areas in the North of England between 1740 and 1830. It challenges the interpretation that urbanisation and industrialisation were secularising influences, and demonstrates the continued importance of piety to individuals' understandings of family, business, identity, and the urban and domestic space around them.

The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and runs from December 2018 to December 2021. The project brings together researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham and will examine the wealth of documents and material objects held at the John Rylands Library, as well as archives and libraries across the North of England. The project will host a range of workshops and conferences, and produce educational materials for primary and secondary schools.