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Business and Family in the North of England During the Early Industrial RevolutionRecords of the Lives of Men and Women in Trade, 1788-1832$
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Hannah Barker and David Hughes

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266700

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266700.001.0001

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John Coleman’s Memoir

John Coleman’s Memoir

(p.93) John Coleman’s Memoir
Business and Family in the North of England During the Early Industrial Revolution
Hannah Barker, David Hughes
British Academy

The memoir of the Liverpool baker, John Coleman, was written around 1797. It contains both financial accounts detailing business dealings and a memoir entitled ‘The Life of John Coleman as written by himself’. The memoir is an often elaborately written autobiographical account that relates Coleman’s mixed fortunes in business and in love, a series of family disputes and his rise and fall on Liverpool’s social ladder. John Coleman was born in 1743, the eldest son of a Liverpool baker and ‘a very rigid Anabaptist’. Having worked in the family bakery since he was 7 years old, John rebelled when he discovered that his parents did not intend to pay him wages and he ran away to London in 1764, though he soon returned. After his father died in 1765 John ran the business on a day-to-day basis but later set up on his own after a family dispute about money. John Coleman appears to have prospered both socially and economically in the two decades following his father’s death when he diversified into shipping. Though this initially proved rewarding, by 1786 all the money they had made had disappeared and he was declared bankrupt.

Keywords:   Industrial Revolution, Trade, Work, Families, Business, Liverpool, Generation, Religion, Gender

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