Gender, Space and Commerce in the Eighteenth-century Town
In 1751 “A large square at the Cross opposite the Town House, [was] ordered to be pavemented for the gentlemen to walk on by way of exchange.” This square, called the Plain Stanes, long continued to be “the place where merchants most did congregate [in Aberdeen].” The marketplace has long associations with women as sellers of foodstuffs at markets; but here men expropriated the term. This chapter looks at how urban space was perceived and utilised in medium-sized eighteenth-century commercial towns. It examines the ways that towns and townscapes changed, and how people engaged in the activities within the urban economy utilised and identified with the physical space of their town. Relying largely on research on Aberdeen (Scotland), Odense (Denmark) and La Rochelle (France), it provides a snapshot of the late eighteenth-century, looking at the context of urban development, the ways that towns and townscapes changed and how activities within the urban economy shifted. Specifically, it explores the gendered context and the ways that the idea of the town and constructions of gender functioned within the urban terrain.
Gendering Spaces in European Towns, 1500-1914, 2020