The Oakes Diaries: Business, Politics and the Family in Bury st Edmunds, 1778-1827 : Introduction : James Oakes' Diaries, 1778-1800 (Suffolk Records Society)

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9780851152752: The Oakes Diaries: Business, Politics and the Family in Bury st Edmunds, 1778-1827 : Introduction : James Oakes' Diaries, 1778-1800 (Suffolk Records Society)
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This is the first volume in a two-volume edition of a document of some importance in the economic and social history of Georgian England, and an important contribution to English textile history. James Oakes was the son of a prosperous linen-draper who had come from Manchester to seek his fortune in Bury St Edmunds early in the 18th century. At the age of 27 he inherited one of the largest yarn-making companies in the country from the uncle to whom he had been apprenticed. The decline of the yarn industry together with Oakes' appointment as Receiver General of the Land Tax for West Suffolk pushed him reluctantly into becoming a banker at a most uncertain period in England's financial history. He was also active in local politics, and knew, or was related to, most of the businessmen, clergy and parish gentry in and around Bury. In 1778, at the age of nearly 37, he began to write the diaries which he kept faithfully for the next 49 years. Their very span - half a century covering the American Revolution and the great wars with revolutionary and Napoleonic France - makes them a rare reflection and measure of the industry and trade, banking and politics of a small East Anglian town, itself a microcosm of English provincial society.

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