For nineteenth century social commentators, the seafarer ashore crossed significant bourgeois boundaries that defined and maintained “good citizenship”; he was profligate, licentious, and nomadic. With these perceived characteristics, sailors have been viewed by contemporary observers and historians as having little connection with urban working-class communities. Indeed, the dominant narrative was that the naïve sailor, unfamiliar with his urban surroundings, was taken advantage of by landlords, lending sharks, and prostitutes. This Chapter will argue that sailors were integrated both in the urban landscape and in the working-class communities that serviced sailortown. Indeed, those commentators who drew a clear demarcation between the interests of sailors and the interests of local working-class communities overlooked a robust gestalt urban-maritime culture. This gestalt culture was based on a micro-sailortown economy that serviced the maritime industry. This inter-dependency between sailors and locals in sailortown may have proved a significant factor in off-setting racial tensions that occurred in other parts of the East End during this period.
|Title of host publication||Migrants and the Making of the Urban-Maritime World|
|Subtitle of host publication||Agency and Mobility in Port Cities, c. 1570–1940|
|Editors||Christina Reimann, Martin Öhman|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Sep 2020|
|Name||Routledge Advances in Urban History|