The Economic History Review

Businessmen and land ownership in the late nineteenth century

Volume 52 Issue 1
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Pages: 27-44Authors: Tom Nicholas
Published online: January 22, 2003DOI: 10.1111/1468-0289.00117

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This article analyses the proportions of personal to real estate wealth for a group of 295 businessmen profiled in the Dictionary of business biography. It shows that businessmen who owned land on a large scale in the late nineteenth century were a comparatively small group who retained a small proportion of their total wealth in landed assets. Low levels of social mobility are identified as a function of land purchase, and new insights are given into the relationship between wealth, status, and land ownership. Any integration of business and landed wealth in this period was not a consequence of businessmen becoming landowners.