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The Useful Knowledge of William Hutton
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The Useful Knowledge of William Hutton: Culture and Industry in Eighteenth-Century Birmingham

Susan E. Whyman


The Useful Knowledge of William Hutton shows the rapid rise of a self-taught workman and of the city of Birmingham during the two major events of the eighteenth century—the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment. Hutton achieved wealth, land, status, and literary fame, but later became a victim of violent riots. The book boldly claims that an understanding of the Industrial Revolution requires engaging with the figure of the ‘rough diamond’, a person of worth and character, but lacking in manners, education, and refinement. A cast of unpolished entrepreneurs is brought to life as they dri ... More

Keywords: Industrial Revolution, Enlightenment, Birmingham, William Hutton, literature, history, autobiography, provincial culture, social mobility, economic change

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198797838
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198797838.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Susan E. Whyman, author
Independent Historian, formerly Princeton University