Author

Wohlberg

Date of Award

6-2003

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Dale H. Porter

Second Advisor

Dr. Judith Stone

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael J. Chiarappa

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Traditionally, steamboats and their history have belonged to the area of antiquarians. Many sources in my bibliography focus on the design and use of the boats and neglect the social and cultural impact the boats had on mid-Victorian London life. Steamboats, however, were an important transportation system in mid-Victorian London, so that a study of steamboats can provide an insight into mid-Victorian times. In this thesis, I will place steamboat design construction and use in the context of the social and cultural worlds of mid-Victorian London and the River Thames.

The results of my research yielded a thesis describing the main design features and evolution of Thames steamers during the nineteenth century. My thesis examines the fights surrounding the jurisdiction of the River Thames and of the steamboats themselves to reveal the social and cultural worlds of mid-Victorian London and the River Thames. It also relates the design and operation to issues of Victorian social class and gender, such as steamboat accidents and their responses. The growth of suburbs and other transport networks are examined and placed in the Victorian context as well.

Steamboats, as seen through my thesis, were an important part of Victorian social and cultural life.

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