Scottish Labour History Society

"Welcome to the website of the Scottish Labour History Society. We are an independent organisation unaffiliated with any political party, but have enjoyed strong practical, moral and financial support from the broader trade union, labour and co-operative movement for over half a century. We aim to strengthen these links, and we welcome new members and affiliates who can help us to: Promote labour and working class history; form and run regional labour history groups and workshops; expand our […]

North West Labour History Society

The North West Labour History Society was formed in 1973 to promote and popularise the knowledge and study of all aspects of labour history in the north west of England. Members and contributors to our journal include Trade Unionists, academics, students – ordinary people with a passion for our history. Our aims include the following: bringing together those interested in the history of the working class and its organisations, unions, co-operative societies or political bodies publishing an […]

North-East Labour History Society

"Founded in 1967, the North East Labour History Society is Britain's oldest regional labour history society. It is dedicated to the study of working people's history in the region, particularly during the modern period. We have a committee drawn up from labour historians and activists in the region. We encourage an atmosphere of debate and discussion on both historical and contemporary issues."

Bristol and the Labour Unrest of 1910-14

Bristol and the Labour Unrest Front Cover
1910 saw a renewed outbreak of industrial strife as significant sections of the trade union rank-and-file began to express their frustration at the lack of progress made in their struggle for better working conditions and a new social order. Strikes reached levels not seen since the ‘new unionism’ upsurge of 1889-92. Worker unrest combined with clashes over Home Rule for Ireland and the militant tactics of suffrage campaigners added to the problems of the ruling class who, confronted by these […]

Remembering the Dublin Lockout 1913-2013

On 16 November 1913, the Bristol Trades Council held a public meeting at the Empire Music Hall in support of the workers locked out by their employers in Dublin. Some 2,000 people turned up to hear William Partridge of the Dublin Trades Council condemn the attempt to destroy the militant Irish Transport and General Workers Union and starve 25,000 workers, men and women into surrender. The Dublin employers had the full backing of the Liberal government with Bristol MP, Augustine Birrell, Chief […]

Bliss Tweed Mill Strike, 1913–14

Causes, Conduct and Consequences

Bliss Mill Front Cover
Eighteenth of December 2013 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the commencement of the Bliss Tweed Mill strike in Chipping Norton. The years 1910 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 witnessed an upsurge in strike activity in Great Britain and Ireland involving many thousands of workers. By the summer of 1914, strikes, in the coal, cotton, transport, metal, engineering, shipbuilding and building industries, were viewed by the government as a crisis of severe proportions. This […]

Friendly Societies Against The Big Society

The National Health Service founded in 1948 was inspired by a self-help system which Aneurin Bevan had participated in as a young man. After working as a coal miner in South Wales, he served on the hospital committee of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society which ran hospitals and convalescent homes for miners as well as employing family doctors and even providing benefits for the dependants of the members. Later as a Labour MP for Ebbw Vale he took up the idea which was familiar to him and, as […]

Tolpuddle And Captain Swing: Hidden History?

In 1834, six Dorset farm labourers were condemned to transportation to Australia for forming an early trade union. These 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' have become an iconic part of modern British history. But three years before the events in Tolpuddle, rural England was rocked with a massive upr1sing of farm labourers known as the 'Swing Riots'. Dr. Ball analyses why 'Tolpuddle' has lodged in popular memory and the far more significant events of 'Swing' have been distorted and forgotten. W.l. Hall, North […]

Werqin’ 9 to 5

Article: Werqin’ 9 to 5: cursory notes on antiwork politics from Dolly Parton to Shangela Laquifa Commet: Coincidentally, I have been reading Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the last days of the working class (J. Cowie 2010) which looks at the changes in labour relations that occurred between the 1960s and 1980s (i.e. the assault on the 'Keynesian' social contract by the US working class, the rightward shift of sections of the white working class in the late 70s, and the struggles over ethnicity […]

Why Blackadder Goes Forth could have been a lot funnier

Black Adder Goes Fourth
Tommy Atkins' hidden tactics to avoid combat on the Western Front in WW1 or why ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ could have been a lot funnier (and more subversive)… A young Army, but the finest we have ever marshalled; improvised at the sound of the cannonade, every man a volunteer, inspired not only by love of country but by a widespread conviction that human freedom was challenged by military and Imperial tyranny, they grudged no sacrifice however unfruitful and shrank from no ordeal however […]

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