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Migrants and the media in nineteenth-century Liverpool

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2014
JournalLocal Population Studies
Number of pages14
Original languageEnglish


Migration is a controversial topic in twenty-first century Britain, and similar debates were equally visible in the nineteenth century with ample evidence that migrants from Ireland and Europe faced stigmatization and discrimination in British cities. Today the media plays a major role in fuelling such debates, but little is known about the impact of newspaper reporting on public perceptions of migrants in the past. This paper focuses on the reporting of cases brought before the police courts in Liverpool in 1851, 1871 and 1891 and, through the use of nominal record linkage to census data, examines the extent and manner in which migrant origin was commented on in one major Liverpool newspaper. It is demonstrated that, perhaps surprisingly, this media outlet largely ignored migrant origin in its reporting, and thus was not a significant factor in shaping public perceptions of migrants in the city.