Title

Irregular Marriages: Unorthodox Working-Class Domestic Life in Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, 1900-1939

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2005

Abstract

English police personnel records provide a perspective on working-class marriages not available in standard sources. Police officers were respectable workingclass men expected to uphold the reputation of the force both on and off the job, and yet 119 cases of irregular marriages appear in police records in Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester. Their affairs, separations, cohabitation, and other unorthodox marital arrangements clearly demonstrate that attempts to impose a strict legal model of marriage on police officers could not displace the more flexible ideas of matrimony still common to respectable working-class culture in the first half of the twentieth century.