Abstract

A new source, 1840s Admiralty seamenís tickets, is used to explore three anthropometric issues. First, did being born in a city, with its associated disamenities, stunt? Second, did being born near a city, whose markets sucked foodstuffs away, stunt? Third, did child labour stunt? Being born in a city stunted although the effect was limited except in the largest cities. In contrast, opportunities to trade did not stunt. Finally although adults who went to sea young were shorter than those who did not enlist until fully grown, going to sea did not stunt. Rather the prospect of plentiful food at sea attracted stunted adolescents, who reversed most of their stunting as a result. But child labour at sea was unique: wages were largely hypothecated to the child as food and shelter, rather than paid in cash that might be spent on other family members.