This article compares the demographic features of two north-east coastal villages, Cullercoats and Seahouses, in the mid nineteenth century. It demonstrates that ostensibly similar localities had somewhat different trajectories of demographic development. Despite being of similar size, the two villages had very different sex structures largely due to the traditionally greater opportunities for female employment in Cullercoats, particularly in activities related to the fishing industry. Cullercoats was well established and had a stable population, remarkably so in relation to its proximity to populous areas in the rest of Tyneside. Seahouses was also a fishing village, albeit one with other economic activities present, and experienced greater dynamism characterised by high mobility rates and family sizes. More diverse but specifically male employment characterised its economic structure and the fishing industry was organised differently. This article represents a substantial extension of one of the key themes, namely the significance of intra-regional variation, in the submitted chapter on ‘Northumbrian Settlements’, where space to explore a number of issues was necessarily limited. This article is of methodological interest in that it highlights the dangers of linking functional similarities to expected norms without detailed analysis of case studies.
|Published - Aug 2007