Current Students

Eliza McKee

  • History and Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen’s University Belfast
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My thesis is entitled ‘Clothing the poor in Ulster, c. 1850-1914’. It explores the acquisition methods used by poor people to obtain clothing throughout their lives. The methods used by the poor to obtain clothing have not been added to the historical record in Ireland when clothing was a visible marker of social status, occupation, religion, regional identity, respectability and gender as well as an essential commodity among people of all classes. The acquisition methods explored in my Ph.D include clothing obtained through charitable initiatives, the Poor Law, crime, the second-hand trade, domestic production, and clothing acquired during lifecycle roles. The project combines archival research, analysis of folklore, visual sources and material culture held at museums. These sources are utilised to assess whether practicality or fashion influenced the acquisition of clothing among the poor, social ideas influencing the clothing distributed to the poor, the impact of industrialisation, geographical variations between industrial Belfast and rural Ulster, and change through time.

Supervisory Team: Dr Elaine Farrell, History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics (QUB), Dr Olwen Purdue, History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics (QUB).

Start Date: October 2017.