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"Having lived close beside them all the time:" (1) negotiating national identities through personal networks.

Many scholars have treated nationality as a creature of the state, imposed more or less legitimately or "successfully" from the top down, (2) while others have stressed how individuals and groups have contested and helped define national identities through cultural processes which might coincide with, shape, or undermine state-imposed definitions. (3) Abundant scholarship documents elite and state efforts to construct and impose hegemonic definitions of national identity, including nationality itself, but we lack effective measures of their success in enlisting ordinary people into these nationbuilding projects. (4) We know little about how and whether such people experienced, participated in or identified with national identities as elites envisioned them. Some scholars see nationalism presupposing "unity" between "culture" and "customary practices;" others argue ordinary people had no stake in nationalism, and that "becoming national" demanded "delocalization of feelings of belonging." (5)

Applications for naturalization in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain afford a not unmediated glimpse into the ways migrants and natives defined and articulated British nationality. Between 1879 and 1947, nearly eight hundred migrants to South Shields, a British port at the mouth of the river Tyne, applied for and received naturalization as British subjects. Systematic analysis of the record they left can illuminate how and why individuals navigated their way from outsider to insider, reconciling transnational mobility with local relationships and national allegiances. This evidence sheds light not only on these hundreds of migrants, but their social networks: neighbors, friends, spouses, employers, business and religious contacts, landlords, and the "customary practices" through which outsiders became British. These stories show that naturalization was not simply an objective, legal, and secular contract between an individual and the state, but also a personal, subjective, and collective process in which native Britons as well as migrants from after played decisive roles. For the people of South Shields, British nationality formed in dialogue between the locality and the state, a dialectic containing significant discrepancies between local and national definitions of belonging.

A port since Roman times and an industrial center since the Middle Ages, South Shields experienced its most spectacular economic and population growth in the late ninetenth century. Between 1850 and the late 1930s, when the wave of global industrial development known as the "second industrial revolution" began to recede, the Tyneside economy became heavily dependent on coalmining, shipbuilding, ship repairing and merchant shipping, all highly unstable appendages of the world economy. These volatile industries attracted thousands of migrants from elsewhere in the British Isles as well as the Baltic, Scandinavia, central Europe, the Mediterranean, and Britain's overseas colonies. In its rapid industrialization, its cultural, racial and confessional diversity, and its vulnerability to global market forces, South Shields was arguably a microcosm of industrial society. (6)

As Table A shows, applicants for naturalization from South Shields were overwhelmingly male throughout the period under study. Of nearly 800 cases between 1879 and 1947, a mere thirty-nine, less than 5% were women, and nineteen of these, nearly half, clustered in the years 1914-1919, for reasons explored elsewhere. (7) Dramatic discontinuities in applicants' numbers and geographical origins [Table B] reflected individual responses to changing state policies as well as to the global shifts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which propelled migrants from successive geographical territories into the global labor force, first from Northwest Europe, then from the Baltic, and finally from the Mediterranean and the guilf of Aden. (8) Yet geopolitical factors alone cannot account for why some chose to consummate their passage to Britain by seeking naturalization. Nor can they explain what this process meant to and for them and local people. The records naturalization applicants left behind afford access to discursive forms of self-disclosure heavily mediated by encounter and engagement with the British state, exposing a dialogue between individual and collective experience and motivations, and shifting national and global pressures.

"An Honorable Independence"

The process of applying for naturalization altered several times in these years, and with it, subtly, the prescribed characteristics of those whom the state selected for inclusion. The 1897 petition of Swedish mariner Andrew Anderson "to obtain the rights and capacities of a natural born British Subject" contained a typical example of reasons men offered for seeking naturalization:
 a desire to continue and improve his said calling so as to obtain an
 honorable independence from such calling to provide for his after
 years and sustenance and because your memorialist having resided
 within Great Britain for so many years and having become very much
 attached to the manners and customs thereof desires to be and remain
 a resident therein for the remainder of his life (9)

In spite of the world-scale ructions that brought him to Britain, Andrew Anderson's professed motives remained profoundly personal, mediated by class, gender and locality: independence and honor expressed a deeply classed and gendered definition of manliness. (10) Attachment to "manners and customs" bound him firmly to locale, in the case of Tyneside, arguably, a distinctive regional identity significantly different from hegemonic definitions of Britishness. (11)

We must ask, however, how far such documents expressed individual subjectivities in the first place. What Britishness meant to Andrew Anderson, or indeed to other migrants, is not obvious because the application process itself restricted individuals' expression in formulaic ways. The language in naturalization applications as well the opportunity for naturalization itself, apparently and increasingly reflected the state's expectations and demands. Over the years the British state prescribed a variety of forms of application: early petitions were handwritten; later ones normally submitted on preprinted forms. Yet even handwritten responses such as Andrew Anderson's were apparently copied almost verbatim from a boilerplate which in itself constituted a discourse obscuring as much as it revealed about individual motives. Further, the language in naturalization applications conformed apparently to the state's expectations of applicants. Men's professed motivations were hardly spontaneous, but influenced and probably reinforced by their sense of which reasons would be acceptable to the state, based on the collective experience of other applicants and their agents. Thus state discourses shaped applicants' overtures at every point of contact. Taking men's professed reasons at face value would neglect how state policies and agendas simultaneously limited as they conveyed individual applicants' choices and aspirations. (12)

The bureaucratic process of obtaining naturalization thus repays detailed scrutiny, revealing much about relations between states, local governments, police, industrialists and ordinary people, and how their relations and priorities altered repeatedly between the 1870s and the 1930s. (13) The basic sequence of events throughout the period was this: an individual, often with the assistance of an agent or solicitor, prepared a "Memorial," a sworn petition to the Home Secretary containing personal information. Memorials typically included the applicant's name, British address, occupation, age, birthplace and nationality, as well as the nationality of the applicant's parents, the applicant's marital status, names and ages of underage coresident children and sometimes spouses, addresses of residences in Britain for at least five of the previous eight years, and reasons for seeking naturalization. (14)

In addition, each applicant must furnish signed and witnessed affadavits from four referees guaranteeing his moral probity as well as the bona fides of statements in the Memorial. Often a fifth referee attested to his residency. As a group of referees deposed in 1892, "from our respective acquaintance with the manners habits and modes of life of the said Gustaf Anton Petterson, we do confidently vouch for his loyalty and respectability and verily believe that a Certificate of Naturalization may safely and properly be granted to him ..." (15) Upon receipt the Home Office Aliens Department forwarded this declaration to local officials, instructing them to make "private inquiry" to verify sworn statements and signatures. (16)

No mere formality, this process involved evaluating a man's fitness in dialogue among local and national states and the people of South Shields. The Home Office initially forwarded applications to the Mayor, who referred them to local police for corroboration, implicitly criminalizing the process and with it applicants themselves. (17) In later years the Home Office corresponded directly with the Chief Constable, who exercised substantial although not decisive influence over their decisions. In 1908, for example, John Andrew Rodsett, a Norwegian mariner, was denied naturalization, even under the lax terms then prevailing for mariners, on the ground of his cohabitation with a Mrs. Kirkham, "having enticed the latter away from her husband" some ten years prior. Rodsett also had several convictions, for drunkenness, assault and other violent crimes. In 1914, however, Rodsett successfully renewed his case, having abandoned Mrs. Kirkham and their two young children in North Shields to marry another woman. While the Chief Constable deemed Rodsett now "very respectable," Home Office personnel considered the man's conduct "greatly to his discredit" yet "hardly ... ground for refusal." (18) Thus an applicant's desirability from the state's perspective remained complicated by and contingent on a set of prior relationships, not only with the state but also within the locality. Put plainly, applicants' chances of the state's approval were not shaped by hegemonic state discourses alone but in dialogue between the state and the people of South Shields. To these relations and this dialogue we now turn.

Love and Money: Paths to Naturalization

In negotiating their way to British nationality, migrants drew on relationships developed with the state and within British society and specifically the locality. One route to state recognition lay via personal relationships formed locally and socially such as friendships, business transactions, marriage and parenthood. The other route ran increasingly through prior relationships forged with industry and the British state. These included obtaining state-sanctioned qualifications such as seamen's certificates, service in the merchant marine or the military, marriage--a contract with the state, as well as the community (19)--and, finally, the discourses and practices attending naturalization itself.

Reasons men gave for seeking naturalization reveal the multiple relationships, both informal and contractual, that preceded and supported their claims to British nationality. Carl Christian Bruhn exemplified multiple relationships already forged locally and with British industry and the state, citing
 a desire to continue and improve and develop his business connection
 he having married an English wife and having invested capital in real
 estate and other securities in England and also having been
 exclusively employed for twenty-five years first in English vessels
 trading from English ports and his business connection is entirely
 with England, and also he desires to become possessed of other
 freehold property in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and to
 obtain an honourable independence from such business to provide for
 his after years and sustenance." (20)

As this somewhat breathless statement illustrates, for Bruhn as for many others, formal passage to British nationality proved only the most recent in a series of compacts with the British state.

The reason men most often gave for seeking naturalization proved paramountly personal: marriage to a British woman and the welfare of their British-born children. Max Buetow, for example, had "resided in the United Kingdom for a period of twenty years his connections with the German Empire are severed, and his children being born in this country he wishes them to have the privileges of British subjects." (21) The state too viewed marriage and family in Britain as compelling and persuasive evidence of a man's legitimate attachment to Britain: in the case of Peter Julius Jensen, marriage to a British woman made the difference between the grant of naturalization and its denial: wrote Home Office personnel, "it is very likely that the applicant who is married keeps a house permanently and is therefore established in the U.K." (22)

Nineteen men justified their petitions through the sacred imperative to property holding. Hans Frederick William Rasmussen, had "invested capital in real estate and other securities in England," (24) while Samuel Finn was "desirous of investing money in the purchase of land and other real property." (25) Seventeen men cited business connections or the desire to improve their businesses, and an equal number cited their long service in British ships or British industry. Thirteen men supported their claims to British nationality citing seamen's qualifications won through the state examination system administered by the Board of Trade, and eleven expressed the desire to exercise the franchise or to hold public office. Christian Herder, for example, sought "to enjoy the right to vote and have a voice in the management of the affairs of the Borough"--that is, local politics. (26)

Several men reported primarily sentimental reasons for desiring naturalization: Carl August Nordberg, "having now resided in England for over twenty-seven years [had] become accustomed to the people and ways of the Country...." (27) Mused William S. Daglish, Town Clerk of Jarrow regarding John Christoph Petersen, "I cannot say whether he can assign any reason why he prays for a Certificate of Naturalization ... I may add that his wife is an English woman and that the whole of his family were born in Jarrow and he is employed by Messrs. Palmer's Shipbuilding and Iron Company Limited, as a caulker, and he takes a very prominent part in the affairs of the Salem Baptist Church, and to all appearances is a very loyal subject." (28) This last like the first example illustrates that many if not most men presented multiple grounds on which they based their petitions, founded on prior relationships and attachments to the British state, to local people, or both. (29)

"Gentlemen of the Highest Character"

In addition to individual transactions with the state, successful naturalization depended perhaps more fundamentally on informal relations forged through daily contacts among the people of South Shields. The demand that candidates produce British-born referees made relations between these individuals and the state contingent on prior relationships with neighbors, co-workers, and local states, while it simultaneously drew native-born Britons into implicit or explicit collusion with this nation-building project, particularly when they attested to such qualities as applicants' "loyalty and respectability." (30)

Conversely, vetting of referees by the local Constable and the Home Office constituted a disciplinary mechanism not only for naturalization candidates themselves but their social circle as well, proscribing and prescribing the conduct of personal and professional lives. To be eligible, a referee must be a natural-born British subject and a householder but not the applicant's "agent or solicitor." In addition, a man and his referees must exhibit that critical but elusive Victorian virtue, respectability. (31) Accordingly William Morant, Chief Constable in 1896, reported of a draper, an ironmonger, an engineer, a butcher and a miner, all referees for master mariner Christian Nelson, "The above named referees are householders, British born subjects, and respectable men," describing those of Christian Herder as "gentlemen of the highest character and respectability." (32) In contrast, Magnus Cheyne failed to pass muster because he had never visited Martin Stephan in his home, while James Reside, an engine fitter, fell afoul of the Chief Constable by consorting with bookmakers. (33) A man's fitness for naturalization thus rested not only on his own conduct and attainments but on those of the company he kept; in turn the process of naturalization extended local and national governments' disciplinary and nationalizing discourses beyond individual migrants into the community at large.

"Having Lived Close Beside Them All the Time"

Given the prospect of exposure to such rigors, what manner of men and women in industrial Tyneside formed friendships with foreigners strong enough to sustain a naturalization claim? Between 1879 and 1934 a broad array of South Shields residents from every walk of life did so: adults of all ages and stations, women as well as men, clergy and laity, professionals as well as workingmen and women. (34) While some candidates appealed to authorities such as an employer, their family doctor, their union representative or teacher, most drew on neighbors, co-workers, business contacts, co-religionists, and relatives, men and women of similar social standing to themselves, with whom they interacted in the course of daily life. The 676 referees appearing in the record reported scores of different occupations, from well represented trades such as butchers (33), grocers (31), and master mariners (18) to rare ones such as the isolated medical botanist, the single tallowchandler, or the lone private inquiry agent and furniture dealer. (35) Befriending a migrant, although not the statistical norm in industrial South Shields, was hardly confined to isolated social marginals. Omissions in the data preclude statistical precision, yet analysis of those referees with a designated occupation, as opposed to "J.P." or "landlady," bears out the impression that the vast bulk were skilled workmen or small shopkeepers, socioeconomically similar to the applicants they supported. (36) Examining these 676 references illuminates the public and private relationships migrants forged in industrial South Shields. The content of such relationships, so rarely articulated, can be gleaned from the statements some men and their referees made to support naturalization petitions. (37)

Most visibly, bonds formed among men practicing the same trade. (39) Nine butchers, more than any other single trade, drew support from fellow butchers, thirteen in all. (40) Not simply butchers, most of these proved German pork butchers whose social networks extended between South Shields, Jarrow, and southwestern Germany, suggesting the manner in which personal relationships built out from the native born into migrant networks. (41) Such evidence suggests that occupational networks might as easily have reinforced ethnic solidarities as eroded them, and renders visible the geographically broader and multiply layered networks truncated by this analysis confined to one town. Master mariners too enjoyed a high degree of support from their fellows, seven of them endorsed by another master mariner, and Carl Christian Bruhn by two. (42) The prominence of these two trades suggests how older forms of fraternal solidarity might be harnessed and rearticulated with modern statebuilding. (43) Five more men drew on their fellows in a particular trade (44) Although striking, occupational brotherhoods remained less significant in numerical terms than daily interactions in street and neighborhood: in most cases a majority of referees came from outside a man's trade.

For other types of occupational contacts also sustained these friendships. In the nineteenth century even simple commercial transactions with a tailor or furniture dealer sufficed to legitimate a relationship. Innkeeper William Sketheway "from time to time during the last five years and upwards bought furniture of" Isaac Pearlman, while John Edmund Bilbrough reported "buying and selling large quantities of coal" from Pearlman's brother Joseph. (45) Eight men called on employers or supervisors: (46) Frederick James Boyd, Emeterio Bilbao's "superior officer" on the ss. Stonehenge, reported Bilbao "one of the best men he has ever known." (47) Five mariners called on a total of seven shipmates, (48) and three men on six workmates. (49) All four of Emil Granlund's referees, coal trimmers like himself, worked with him in the same squad. (50) In addition, men mobilized professional relationships: three their family doctors, (51) three Charles Bellam, local representative of the National Sailors' and Firemen's Union, (N.S.F.U.), (52) and two William Burdon, secretary of the marine engineer's union. (53) Leslie Pearlman called on his schoolmaster William Thomas, (54) Andrew Anderson on his teacher H.B. Duncan, who "prepared applicant for his extra examinations in seamanship", (55) and George Edwin Anderson on Peter Phillips Bedson, his former chemistry professor at Armstrong College. The Reverend Horace Sydney Sylvester Jackson, Vicar of St Jude's, knew George Edwin Anderson "through his attendance at the Church of which I am Vicar, and his residence in the Parish." (56) Seven relied on landlords, landladies or rent collectors, particularly useful for documenting residency. (57) William Harvey Bailey based his "particular knowledge" about Reynold Erickson from "collecting his rent weekly ... in fact he has seen him weekly for ten years." (58)

Five men mobilized relationships formed in the institutional settings of Church, Chapel, Synagogue, and fraternal organization: John George Lawson supported Christian Herder based on "twelve years as a churchgoing companion, an intimate friend, and on visiting terms." Three of Julius Klotz's referees, a carpenter, a builder, and a steelworker, found common ground in "being connected to the Baptist Chapel." John Frederick Erickson also derived a referee, coal agent Alfred Thompson Storey, from Chapel, while Samuel Schenker and Moses Netz mobilized a total of five coreligionists. The Chief Constable observed that Moses Netz and his referees, "Messrs Levy, Kossick, and Jackson ... are of the Jewish persuasion." (59) It may be that many other relationships originating in such institutions remained unarticulated: (60) while two members of the South Shields Town Council, licensed victuallers Christian Henry Marsh and John Wilson, attested of seamen's outfitter Erik Erickson that they "met him almost daily" the Chief Constable revealed that Erickson and his referees were "all ... members of one lodge." (61) Yet most relationships seem to have taken shape outside of such formal institutions.

Many men and their referees, indeed, professed longstanding and intimate relations that crossed the divide between work and leisure, public and personal life; relations grounded in daily practice. Agent William Suckling, for example, "resided at the house adjoining" marine engineer Alexander Sundstream's for eight years attesting to "daily intercourse" with Sundstream "both on board vessels on which he has been engaged and at the houses in which he has resided" (62) Of Peter Trapp, a licensed victualler, referees declared, "being in business adjoining the applicant they have all seen him daily, and also knew him when he was following a seafaring life." (63) John George Robinson derived his knowledge of George Edwin Anderson from "having been postman on the walk for 17 years and knowing his father well." (64)

Indeed, men who resided or did business in the same street or locality proved by far the most numerous. Sixteen men presented a total of twenty-one referees with addresses in the same street. (66) A further eight referees (67) specified that they resided in the same street, while thirteen referees had businesses there. (68) Eleven more owned businesses in close proximity. (69) Referees "in business near" Abraham Levy "see and speak to him daily, and have done so for a number of years" (70) Confectioner Giovanni Valentini drew support from fellow shopkeepers including an auctioneer, an estate agent, a builder, a joiner and a plumber, all reportedly "in business in close proximity to the applicant and see him daily." (71) Three "tradesmen in close proximity," supported Enrique Zarraga, including an undertaker, a butcher and a joiner, (72) while Thomas Oliver Stewart, a butcher, vouched for George Adolf Christenson and his family's eight years of residence in Jarrow, "having lived close beside them all the time." (73)

Only thirteen referees reported primarily social relationships, based on "home visits" as the state prescribed: William Stoker, a shipping agent, attested a "close personal acquaintance" with Carl Christian Bruhn, "having visited him at regular and frequent intervals at his residences" (74) Yet even such personal relationships evidently developed out of more public ones: Frederick George Henderson, former chief chemist of the Walker and Wallsend Gas Company, reported that George Edwin Anderson "held a responsible position as my chief assistant, and was solely in charge of a ... plant; He visits my house frequently as a personal friend and confidante." (75) A greengrocer, a photographic dealer, a general dealer and two master butchers, "all in business in the vicinity of" John Christian Egner's butcher shop in Eldon Street "gained there(sic) acquaintance as neighbors, and later as personal friends." One of these began by "supplying him with mineral waters" but "kept up the acquaintance by visiting him at his house." Although William Simpson and John Sprogas first met at sea, their "friendship" dated from 1907 "when he came to reside at my house." Sprogas's landlady was Simpson's mother-in-law. (76) For in addition to friendships, men drew on the kinship ties that had already incorporated them into local families. Four men called on relatives to support their petitions, three on their brothers-in-law, and two on men they had met initially through their in-laws. (77) Reported joiner Thomas Paul: "I am brother-in-law to the Memorialist and have always been on intimate terms with him." (78)

Referees for a number of men declared friendships of over twenty years, (79) and two of Auguste Edward Desire Magnan's referees had known him thirty-four and thirty-five years. (80) Several other men had lived in South Shields since childhood. Alexander Galloway, a family doctor living in the same street as Henry Levy, now a Cambridge undergraduate, declared that "he has watched the growth of the applicant since he was a child." (81) Even the authorities themselves reported knowledge gained from the routines of work and neighborhood. Owen McCormack, a South Shields Police Inspector, had known Moses Netz for fifteen years due to "personal visits paid to me to obtain a pedlar's license every year," and because "for the last three years and nine months he has resided in the same street opposite to my house" in Challoner Grove. (82)

What's New, and So What?

It is certainly possible to interpret this evidence as popular capitulation to a Foucauldian disciplinary project imposed by a nationbuilding state. But John Gillis taught us that such evidence can and must be read another way, revealing the permeability, mutability, instability and indeed vulnerability of definitions of national identity or any other hegemonic project. The stories of South Shields migrants and their friends, neighbors, co-workers and kin show that British nationality was not simply a hegemonic imposition obliterating local identities, but instead formed in asymmetrical dialogue between local and national, migrants and natives, state and society. The state itself depended on local people to vett naturalization applicants in spite of their differing agendas. Fitness to become a British subject rested in turn on informal acceptance into local networks as a precondition for the formality of naturalization.

In constructing a case for naturalization a man might draw on prior contractual relationships with the state as well as informal, personal social networks. Further, these two routes proved dialectically interdependent: a man's ability to conclude a formal bid for naturalization depended on his prior formation of local personal relationships. This showed in the weight the state placed on applicants' marriages to British wives, and the demand for four native-born referees who might be friends, relatives, neighbors, or business associates. (83) Migrants' journey from outsider to insider proved therefore not simply an individual process, but a social one that took shape informally for most applicants before they sought to formalize it.

There is no reason to assume a unity of local "custom and culture" with the purposes of nationalizing states; rather, naturalization was achieved and British identity constructed only through dialogue between the agendas of the central state and local values and practices with autonomous trajectories. Applicants sought British nationality in pursuit of profoundly personal and instrumental agendas, to secure their families and livelihoods, while cases of men who had spent most of their lives in Britain yet remained technically aliens exposed most starkly the tensions between local "custom and culture" and the requirements of state-driven nationbuilding.

Given this evidence, custom and culture appear more open and permeable than bounded and unitary; the British people more accommodating than intolerant and xenophobic. Between 1879 and 1924, hundreds of respectable British men and women, dozens of firms of solicitors, local officials such as Mayors and municipal officials, Chief Constables and local police in South Shields, Jarrow and elsewhere, participated in incorporating hundreds of foreign-born men and two foreign-born women into the British nation. They did so through a cumbersome and highly public process in which referees voluntarily subjected themselves to the scrutiny of states local and national, and all concerned were called on formally to stake positions. Neither insubstantial in number nor socially marginal, the gatekeepers and border benders of industrial South Shields enacted a contradictory duality, on one hand participating in forms of nation-building heavily mediated by state agendas, yet, paradoxically, as disputes about men's referees reveal, influencing and even contesting the meaning of Britishness itself.

This evidence also illuminates the practices of male sociability, gender and class solidarities that knit migrant and native alike into local social networks. Scholars have shown how poor women created social and cultural institutions and practices such as neighborliness, involving frequent and repeated sharing, borrowing and barter, that functioned as critical survival mechanisms rooted in the daily life of street and locality. (84) The foregoing evidence shows that men who inhabited these localities, for example merchants and tradesmen, partook in similar cultural processes, through more formal transactions that likewise forged personal as well as commercial bonds. Through these in turn transnational migrants became incorporated into localities. Male sociability may have taken its most visible forms in pub and club, but seems to have originated and been nourished by more mundane practices such as business transactions and daily routines: from the purchase of a carpet to the furling of a blind. The same daily and local relationships enabled migrants to secure their status with the central state.

Examining formal, state-sanctioned transitions from "outsider" to "insider" also illuminates the less formal mechanisms and relationships defining other individuals as "outsiders" or "insiders" who did not go so far as to seek naturalization. The hundreds of men and women who stepped forward to make public their friendships with foreign-born migrants in industrial South Shields simply rendered visible a proportion of the multiple relationships and social networks that integrated migrants into British societies whether or not they ultimately pursued naturalization. The process of naturalization seems in many cases merely to have formalized claims to belong long established through the routines and practices of daily life. National identity "began at home" in the informal relations between migrants and their friends and neighbors who "lived close beside them all the time." (85)

From 1903 onward the state opened naturalization to categories of applicants such as mariners and soldiers, accountable to them alone, detaching national identity from localities and civilians in favor of state and industrial agendas. But that is another story for another day.

Department of History

Tucson, AZ 85721


1. Thomas Oliver Stewart, butcher, (Christenson, 1909) HO144/915/179711. I wish to thank Robert Tignor as well as the seminar of the University of Arizona's Program in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies, especially Marv Waterstone, Penny Waterstone, Douglas Canfield, and Vermonja Alston, for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this essay, and the German Marshall Fund and the University of Arizona Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute for their generous research support in 1998 and 1999.

2. The classic work in this genre is Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1991 [1983]); but other significant works include Gerard Noiriel, The French Melting Pot: Immigration, Citizenship, and National Identity (Minneapolis, 1996 [1988]); Rogers Brubaker, Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (Cambridge, 1992); Randall Hansen, Citizenship and Immigration in Post-War Britain (Oxford, 2000).

3. Vicki Caron, Between France and Germany: The Jews of Alsace-Lorraine, 1871-1918 (Stanford, 1988); Marion Kaplan, The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany (Oxford, 1991); David Ortiz, Paper Liberals: Press and Politics in Restoration Spain (Westport, Connecticut, 2000); Peter Sahlins, Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees (Berkeley, 1989), 4-5.

4. Notwithstanding Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (New Haven, 1992).

5. Geoff Eley and Grigor Suny, eds., Introduction to Becoming National: A Reader (Oxford, 1996), esp. 5, 9; Noiriel, The French Melting Pot, 215-16; Antoinette Burton, "Who Needs the Nation? Interrogating 'British' History" Journal of Historical Sociology 10, 3 (September 1997): 227-48.

6. Although this is no place for an extended discussion of the town's typicality, in the census of 1911, South Shields, with 108,647 inhabitants, ranked among the 97 "Great Towns" with populations over 50,000. Great Britain, Census of England and Wales, vol. i "Administrative Areas," Cd.6258 (1912), xxi, 3. The town ranked seventh among "Counties and Large Towns with Highest Proportions of Foreigners," (Table xvi) after London, Cardiff, Tynemouth, Swansea and Hornsea, and just above Manchester and Grimsby. Ibid., vol ix "Birthplaces," Cd. 7017 (1913), xx; but not among the thirty-five large towns with "High Rates of Immigration," ibid., 210.

7. L. Tabili, "Outsiders in the Land of Their Birth: Exogamy, Citizenship, and Identity in War and Peace," forthcoming in the Journal of British Studies, 44, 4 (October 2005).

8. Ewa Morawska and Willfried Spohn, "Moving Europeans in the Globalizing World: Contemporary Migrations in Historical-Comparative Perspective (1955-1994 v. 1870-1194)," in Wang Gungwu, ed., Global History and Migrations (Boulder, 1997), 23-61; Aristide Zolberg, "International Migration Policies in a Changing World System," in William H. McNeil and Ruth S. Adams, eds., Human Migration: Patterns and Policies (Bloomington, Indiana, 1978), 241-286.

9. Great Britain. Public Record Office (PRO). Home Office Aliens Department record class HO144/407/B23795. Memorial of Andrew Anderson, 1897. Subsequent archival citations will be to this collection or to the Duplicate Certificates of Naturalization, class HO334, also in the Public Record Office.

10. On manhood, honor, and independence, see Mary Ann Clawson, "Early Modern Fraternalism and the Patriarchal Family" Feminist Studies 6, 2 (Summer 1980): 668-391; Sonya Rose, "Manliness, Virtue, and Self-Respect: Gender Antagonism and Working-Class Respectability" in Limited Livelihoods: Gender and Class in Nineteenth Century England (Berkeley, 1992), 126-153; Anna Clark, The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class (Berkeley, 1995); Keith McClelland, "Rational and Respectable Men: Gender, the Working Class, and Citizenship in Britain, 1850-1867," in Laura L. Frader and Sonya O. Rose, eds., Gender and Class in Modern Europe (Ithaca, 1996), 280-293.

11. Robert Colls and William Lancaster, eds., Geordies: Roots of Regionalism (Edinburgh, 1992); Raphael Samuel, "North and South," in Island Stories: Unravelling Britain Theatres of Memory, Vol. II, (London, 1998), 153-171.

12. Aristide Zolberg, "International Migration Policies in a Changing World System," in Human Migration: Patterns and Policies, eds. William McNeill and Ruth S. Adams, (Bloomington, 1978), 242, 245.

13. Until 1844 naturalization was an elite prerogative requiring an Act of Parliament: until 1825 it involved taking the sacrament. Anne Kershen, "The Jewish Community in London," in The Peopling of London: Fifteen Thousand Years of Settlement from Overseas ed. Nick Merriman (London, 1993), 140. Legislation in 1844 and 1870 made naturalization more accessible, but it remained expensive and cumbersome. From 1914 until 1948 naturalization fell under the provisions of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914. There were no apparent cases originating in South Shields until 1879.

14. To obtain an "Ordinary" Certificate "A" a person must demonstrate residence in Britain for five of the previous eight years. Index to Denizations and Naturalizations, 1801-1900, PRO. Other classes of Naturalization Certificates applied seldom to men resident in Britain, none to South Shields.

15. Referee statement for Gustaf Anton Petterson, 1 March 1892 HO144/337/B12099.

16. In particular, they sought assurance about residence and applicants' intentions to settle in Britain. A sample of the Home Office's form letter specifying "correctness" and "respectability" can be found in HO144/344/B13356, Paul Arthur Eggert, c.1892; also that of Charles Bernhand Andersson, HO334/341/B12737. If enquiries yielded satisfactory results, the Home Office issued a Certificate of Naturalization and an oath of allegiance to be sworn and witnessed. For an example of a duplicate Certificate, see that of Benson, c. 1912, HO144/1197/220525. A man's certificate of naturalization was ineffective until the oath of allegiance was witnessed.

17. For illustration of this process, see the case of Gustaf Anton Pettersson, cf. Chief Constable of South Shields to the Mayor of South Shields, 9 March 1892; and the Mayor to the Home Office 14 March 1892, HO144/337/B12099. A letter in 1885 directly from the Mayor of South Shields to the Home Office shows that the process was far less formal then than only a few years hence, when the Town Clerk and eventually the Police handled such enquiries. Mebane to the Home Office regarding application of James Meyer, 24 March 1885, HO144/148/38473/4. For complaints about criminalization, see Memorial of Eleanor Hunter Otto, 2 March 1915, HO144/1409/215200; Hannay & Hannay, Solicitors, Northeast Bank Chambers, Fowler, Street, South Shields, to the Home Office, 13 January 1923, HO144/1857/244467.

18. Chief Constable to Home Office, 23 March 1914 and Home Office Minute, 17 April 1914, HO144/1030/171897.

19. John R. Gillis, For Better, For Worse: British Marriages, 1600-Present (New York, 1985); Philip Corrigan and Derek Sayer, The Great Arch: English State Formation as Cultural Revolution (Oxford, 1985).

20. Memorial sworn October/November 1896 HO144/400/B22378.

21. Chief Constable to the Home Office 4 June 1904, (case of Max Buetow) HO144/759/118930.

22. Minutes initialled JFU, 20.2.12 and WTK 14.3.12 in case of Peter Julius Jensen, 1912, HO144/1181/217650.

23. These qualifies resemble older forms of contract whereby migrants obtained settlement. See David Feldman, "Migrants, Immigrants and Welfares from the Old Poor Law to the Welfare State," in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6:13 (Cambridge, 2003), 79-104. After 1915, as discussed elsewhere, naturalization was so driven by state agendas that applicants were not even asked for "reasons."

24. Memorial 1887, HO144/297/B2410.

25. Memorial 1879 HO144/38/83264.

26. Chief Constable to the Home Office, 23 November 1895, HO144/382/B19564.

27. Memorial 5 June 1900, HO144/462/B32420.

28. [4] December 1883, HO144/123/A3157.

29. Such qualifications and attachments were profoundly gendered, not only explicitly, as most were unavailable to women, but implicitly, as men expressed them in the language of mastery, competence, and "honourable independence." cf David Josephs Memorial 1893, HO144/414/B24920. See Keith McClelland, "Masculinity and the 'Representative Artisan' in Britain, 1850-80," in Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain Since 1800 Michael Roper and John Tosh, eds., (London, 1991), 74-91.

30. Referees for George Johnson, HO144/50/88815. Pioneering analyses of hegemonic nationbuilding projects include Anderson, Imagined Communities; Eugen Weber, Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 1870-1914 (Stanford, 1976).

31. Ellen Ross, '"Not the Sort That Would Sit on the Doorstep': Respectability in Pre-World War I London Neighborhoods," International Labor and Working Class History 27 (Spring 1985): 39-59; McClelland, "Rational and Respectable Men."

32. William George Morant, Chief Constable of South Shields, to the Home Office, (case of Christian Nelson) 6 July 1896, HO144/394/B21323; Chief Constable of South Shields (Herder) 23 November 1895, HO144/382/B19564.

33. Chief Constable William Scott to the Home Office, 13 May 1922, HO144/1798/418429. Edward Benson lost two prospective referees, Brockett Lowery, a Deputy overman at Harton Colliery, and Robert Smith. Separated from his wife and living with his father, Lowery had forfeited his householder status and had a related police record including threats, cruelty, and arrears of maintenance. South Shields Chief Constable to the Home Office, 25 April 1912, HO144/1197/220525 (Edward Benson). The upshot of referees' rejection was that individual candidates must produce additional friends, in one case as many as thirteen in all.

34. Just as men constituted the vast bulk of those naturalized in the years between 1879 and 1939, all but a handful of referees were likewise men.

35. John Fenwick, (medical botanist) referee for Ernest Gotz, HO144/308/B5833; Stephenson Fletcher, Jr., (tallowchandler) referee for Peter Sonnichsen, HO144/115/A26293; and Joseph Edward Sleightholme (private inquiry agent and furniture dealer), referee for Samuel Schenker, 1916 HO144/1420/279696. There were a total of 739 referees, but some vouched for more than one applicant, as will be discussed below. Although 796 people were naturalized, some such as mariners did not require referees, thus only 676 referees appear rather than 3200.

36. As a whole, referees and applicants, like the larger migrant pool, represented a slightly more prosperous stratum than the general population of the town in that more came roughly from class II, largely petty proprietors such as grocers and ironmongers, than from class III, skilled workmen, and very few from the ranks of the semiskilled or unskilled. John Foster, Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution: Early Industrial Capitalism in Three English Towns (London, 1979 [1974]) analyzed the town's class structure for a slightly earlier period, 76.

37. Not all referees described the content of their relationships in detail, many relying on the perfunctory formula "meeting him in company" but the Chief Constable was increasingly called on to establish the precise origin and content of these relationships and reported such in his letters to the Home Office.

38. Five-point scale derived from the "Armstrong-Booth" scale in W.A. Armstrong, "The Use of Information about Occupation," in E.A. Wrigley, ed., Ninetenth-Century Society: Essays in the Use of Quantitative Methods for the Study of Social Data (Cambridge, 1972), 215-223; and from Appendix C: "Constitution of the Socio-Economic Groups and Social Classes" in Census 1951, England and Wales, General Report, (HMSO, 1958), 214-220. To protect privacy, under Britain's seventy-five year rule details of individuals naturalised 1924-1934 will not be discussed. The author was permitted to see these records, however, and can affirm that the characteristics of these people and their referees were not inconsistent with the larger pool.

39. Distinct patterns and trends do emerge. Ironmongers (12), well represented in the nineteenth century, disappeared altogether in the twentieth, as did the handful of women, widows and landladies, who spoke for nineteenth century migrants. Builders and joiners, a rarity in the nineteenth century record (5), burgeoned (17) in the twentieth.

40. Cases of Keith, Phaffley, Hub, Gotz, Rupp, Sieber, Hertrich, Egner, Muller.

41. Only Gotz, the first butcher naturalized, was from the Duchy of Baden. All the others, whether resident in Jarrow or South Shields, hailed from the neighboring Duchy of Wurttemburg, most from a handful of towns clustered within twenty miles of each other, including Kunzelsau, Schwabisch Hall, Chrispenhofen, and Mosbach (Anglicized Morsbach).

42. Cases of Bruhn, Andersson, Degn, Meier, Nordberg, Petterson, Rasmussen, Stenborn.

43. For a discussion of these themes in another context, see Clawson, "Early Modern Fraternalism and the Patriarchal Family;" on sprawling translocal artisan networks, see Humphrey Southall, "The Tramping Artisan Revisits: Labour Mobility and Economic Distress in Early Victorian England," Economic History Review 44 (1991): 272-296.

44. These included marine engineer Emeterio Bilbao, innkeeper Edward Benson, outfitters Abraham Levy and Aaron Gompertz, and technical chemist George Edwin Anderson.

45. William Sketheway, innkeeper, of Isaac Pearlman, HO144/406/B23675; (Joseph Pearlman) HO144/406/B23674. Also see cases of Paul Eggert, HO144/344/B13356, and Charles Henry Phaffley HO144/388/B20462.

46. Cases of Kragh, Korn, Korner, Voss, Tubanski, Bilbao, Danielsen, G.E.Anderson.

47. Frederick James Boyd, declared 14 June 1920; Swansea Borough Police C.I.D. to the Home Office, 22 December 1920, HO144/1660/264299.

48. Anderson, Nordberg, Voss, Ahlstedt, Magnan.

49. J.C.Petterson, Christensen, Granlund.

50. South Shields Chief Constable, 2 June 1919, HO144/1499/366544.

51. Cases of Anderson, Jacobson, H.Levy.

52. Fye, AG Johnson, Stephan

53. Cases of Robert Severin Gabrielsen, 19 March 1917 HO144/1404/273678; Alexander Robert Sundstream, HO144/408/B23813.

54. South Shields Chief Constable to the Home Office, 7 June 1916, HO144/1451/310568.

55. Chief Constable Morant, 10 April 1899, HO144/407/B23795.

56. Declaration of Reference, 20 December 1919 HO144/1591/382304.

57. Nordberg, Erickson, Voss, Wahlquist, Nagel, Nelson, Morck.

58. South Shields Chief Constable to the Town Clerk 4 April 1905 HO144/751/117129.

59. South Shields Chief Constable to the Home Office, 4 July 1910, HO144/1085/193688.

60. Bortner's, Trapp's, Epstein's, and Isaacson's cases are ambiguous, as Solomon and Moses Levy served as their referees as for Schenker, but nowhere was their affiliation explicitly stated to be a religious one. It may be that as in the case of Lazarus and David Josephs, who had no apparent Jewish referees, the bases for these friendships were secular and not confessional.

61. South Shields Chief Constable to the Home Office, 13 November 1907, HO144/867/158611.

62. Affadavit of William Suckling 9 April 1897; William George Morant, Chief Constable of South Shields, to Home Office, 1 February 1898, HO144/408/B23813.

63. One of them "in business for many years in this district ... had many opportunities of seeing the applicant when he was sailing out of this port, and since he has taken up business he sees him almost daily, and has business transactions with him." Chief Constable to the Home Office, 4 March 1906 HO144/811/136730.

64. Declaration of Reference, 10 December 1919, HO144/1591/382304.

65. These numbers will not add up, as some individuals drew referees from more than one relationship, while many referees did not specify their relationship to Memorialists.

66. Cases of Erickson, Sieber, Wold, Zarraga, Sonnichsen, Kwist, Abel, Putnin, Carlson, Sundstream, Seger, Sprogas, Egner, Ahlstedt, Johnson, Hertrich.

67. Cases of Wiberg, Dabbert, Gotz, H.Levy, Korner, Lawson, Nelson.

68. Cases of Lundean, Keith, Buetow, Hub, Nagel, Trapp, Schwartz.

69. Cases of Benson, Levy, Nagel, Valentini.

70. South Shields Chief Constable to the Undersecretary of State, Home Office, 8 April 1913, HO144/1259/235951.

71. South Shields Chief Constable to the Home Office, 1 April 1919, HO144/1509/374925.

72. These were, respectively, Robert Dennison, John Anderson, and John Ramsey. South Shields Chief Constable to the Undersecretary of State, Home Office, 16 December 1913, HO144/1297/245672.

73. Thomas Oliver Stewart, butcher, (case of Christenson) 27 May 1909, HO144/915/179711.

74. Cases of Alder, Alprovich, Andrew Anderson, Bruhn, Dabbert, Larsson, J.Pearlman, Buetow, G.E.Anderson.

75. Declared 8 December 1919 HO144/1591/382304.

76. (Sprogas) HO144/1692/410208.

77. Klebert, Wold, Danielson, and Erickson twice.

78. (John Albert Klebert) HO144/649/B38143.

79. Gompertz, Rupp, Netz, Granlund,

80. Although affadivits for Christian Nelson affirmed only the previous five years, the Chief Constable reported his referees had known Nelson far longer. William George Morant, Chief Constable of South Shields, to the Home Office, 6 July 1896, HO144/394/B21323.

81. South Shields Chief Constable to the Home Office, 8 April 1913, HO144/1258/235889.

82. South Shields Chief Constable to the Home Office, HO144/1085/193688.

83. Even the extraordinary conditions offered mariners and soldiers between 1903 and 1919 entailed establishing residency, implying minimal relations of civility with local landladies and boardinghouse keepers who must attest to a man's mere physical presence during the residency period, if not his character.

84. Ellen Ross, "Survival Networks: Women's Neighbourhood Sharing in London Before World War I," History Workshop Journal 15 (Spring 1983): 4-27; idem., "Fierce Questions and Taunts: Married Life in Working-Class London, 1870-1914," Feminist Studies 8 (Fall 1982): 575-602. On daily practice as cultural production see E.P. Thompson, Customs in Common (New Press, 1991), especially "Introduction: Custom and Culture," 1-15.

85. This resembles Gillis's observation that marriages involved whole communities rather than two individuals, For Better, For Worse.

By Laura Tabili

University of Arizona
Table A Pace and volume of naturalizations in South Tyneside**

1800-1902 51 (incl 4 Jarrow)
1903-1914 23 men + 211 mariners*
1915-1924 35 men + 19 women
1825-1930 13 men + 4 women
1931-1935 101 men + 2 women
1936-7 137 men 1 woman
1937 78 men
1938 51 men
1939 28 1
1940-45 5 8
1946-47 25 1 +2 children

1800-1902 51
1903-1914 234 (2@Jarrow)
1915-1924 54 (3Jarw/1Heb)
1825-1930 17
1931-1935 103 (1Jarw/1EBo)
1936-7 138 (1Jarw/1EBo)
1937 78 (2 Jarrow)
1938 51 (1 Jarrow)
1939 29
1940-45 13 (1 Jarrow)
1946-47 28 (1 Jarrow)

*Between 1903 and 1915, mariners were admitted through a special and
greatly stream-lined process, as were soldiers during the first world
**Jar=Jarrow; EBo=East Boldon; Heb=Hebburn, a suburb of Jarrow. Nearby
East Boldon, Jarrow and Hebburn have been included both to enhance the
pool of evidence and for purposes of comparison.

Table B Naturalizations in South Shields by Place of Origin, 1879-1945*

 total men (1915-1939 only)

Russian 68 68
Germany 70 55 15
Netherlands 10 10
Denmark 59 57 2
Sweden 135 130 5
Norway 78 76 2
Swed & Norway 2 2
Austria 6 5 1
Portugal 1 1
Italy 6 3 3
Spain 7 7
Estonia 24 23 1
Greece 7 6 1
Brazil 1 1
United States 6 6
No nationality 10 10
France 2 2
Ottoman Empire 3 3
Latvia 20 19 1
Chile 1 1
Belgium 1 1
Uncertain 2 2
Yemen 122 122
Arabia 107 107
Roumania 2 1 1
Lithuania 1 1 *
Poland 2 2
Egypt 2 1 1 *
Luxemburg 1 1
Japan 1 1
Finland 8 8
Switzerland 1 1
Argentina 1 1
Indian States 1 1
Total 768 733 35

* Most women naturalized were British-born but those marked with * were
not. All the men were foreign-born.

Table C Reasons given for seeking naturalization 1879-1915 (23)

British born-wives and/or British-born children 21
real property or aspirations to property-holding 19
desire to improve existing business, business connections 17
long service in British ships or British industry 17
prior contract with state, e.g. maritime qualifications 13
desire to exercise the franchise and/or hold public office 11

Table D Referees for Naturalizations by Social Class 1879-1924 (38)

 1879-1900 1900-1924

I. Professional 24 13% 14 6%
II. Intermediate 87 48% 127 54%
III. Skilled 68 38% 78 33%
IV. Semi-skilled 1 .05% 6 2.5%
V. Unskilled 0 -- 9 4%
Total 180 234

Table E Referees' relationships to Memorialists 1879-1924 (65)

 Referees Memorialists

 business transactions (last 1904) 11 11
 same trade Total: 29 23
 master mariners 9 8
 butchers 13 9
 other 7 5
 professional relationship Total: 20 20
 family doctor 3 3
 union representative 5 5
 teachers 3 3
 Board of Trade officer 4 4
 postman 2 2
 Norwegian Consulate 1 1
 Building Society Secretary 1 1
 vicar 1 1

NEIGHBORS Total: 53 34
 same street (rel. not specific) 21 16
 residence in same street 8 7
 business in same street 13 7
 business in proximity 11 4

 shipmates 7 5
 workmates 6 3
 employer or supervisor 10 8

 relatives 5 4
 home visits 13 9
 "meeting him in company" 3 (19thC) 3
 introduced by in-laws 2 2
 introduced by wife 5 2
 landlord/landlady 6 7
 Church/Synagogue/Chapel 10 5
 same lodge 4 1
 Totals: 184 137
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Author:Tabili, Laura
Publication:Journal of Social History
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 22, 2005
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