The author traces the emergence of the culture of the 'independent collier' in the years following the miners' emancipation from serfdom at the end of the eighteenth century. Previously unused sources are used to demonstrate how the early miners' 'Brotherhoods' drew upon this work culture to build up trade unions on the 1820s and 30s - unions which were among the most powerful in Scotland. But from the 1830s onwards the Lanarkshire miners' bargaining position was eroded by the rise of large mining and iron smelting companies, and by a rapid influx of new labour, especially Irish immigrants. The core of the book is a detailed comparative analysis of the impact of these forces in two mining districts: Coatbridge and Larkhall. Through this double prism, the changes in the work situation of the Lanarkshire colliers, and in the sociology and culture of their communities, are examined. The development of trade union organisation and policy is then analysed within this broad social context.
By drawing upon a wide range of primary sources, including the national and local press, Home Office papers, criminal records, census enumerators' books and marriage registers, this study combines the techniques of conventional labour history with those of historical sociology. This book will be of interest not only to specialists in the period, but also to those interested in the sociology of the labour movement and in social and local history.
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(234mm x 156mm x mm)
John Donald Short Run Press
Publisher: John Donald Publishers Ltd
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