The Labour movement in Nottingham 1880-1918

Wyncoll, Peter Harold (1982). The Labour movement in Nottingham 1880-1918. PhD thesis The Open University.



This study of the Labour Movement in Nottingham 1880-1918 sets out to examine the development in size, self confidence and influence of the working class institutions built by the men and women workers of Nottingham in a period when Socialism in all its variegated forms was becoming the established philosophy of the British working class.

Attention is given to the manner in which the Nottingham workers responded to the specific threats and challenges of the period. The main concern of the thesis, however, is to try to understand how it was that although in 1873 the vangard of the local labour movement could earn for Nottingham the description of "advanced" or ''banner town", its developed mass movement was in 1918 being described as "the despair of labour politicians".

Part of the explanation for this seeming paradox, it is suggested lies in demographic factors which, up until the First World War, gave'control of the Trades Council to an alliance ot aristocratic lace workers and newly urbanised colliers who tor many years were politically dominated by Liberal coal owners. It is also argued that political "accidents" of personality and geographical factors which ensured that Parliamentary "two member" alliances could not be struck with the Liberals need to be taken into consideration.

Less certainly, the geological conditions of the Nottinghamshire coalfield which may have dampened the militancy of the mining community are pointed to as a possible retarding factor. Similarly, it is argued that the appeal of protectionism for some lace workers, and the a-political or anti-political attitudes of the exceptionally large female proletariat were together with the attitudes of the casual poor important special elements in the Nottingham situation which helped to explain its relative backwardness.

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