Masters and Servants: Class and Patronage in the Making of a Labour Organisation : the Durham Miners and the English Political Tradition

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Rivers Oram Press, 1994 - Political Science - 403 pages
The Durham Miners' Gala has traditionally been a central festival of the British labour movement - a tribute to the pivotal role of the Durham Miners' Association, which at its peak accounted for a quarter of mining union membership. This was the cradle of a trade unionism which aimed to secure workers' rights rather than to protect a craft. But Durham was quite unlike the world of class known to Marx and Dickens. It was a world of small, initially semi-feudal industrial villages; its natural leaders were strongly religious, and politically Liberal. This made it a source both of strength and of division in British class politics.
Masters and Servants, a pioneering work of historical sociology, develops an analysis of trade unionism which extends beyond the workplace. Drawing on primary sources, Huw Beynon and Terry Austrin trace the development of the mining communities and of their solidarity. The people, speaking through contemporary reports, official evidence, autobiographies and through the authors' own interviews, are at the heart of their account. It provides a new and detailed understanding of mining society, and the complex ways in which both public and private life in the communities was regulated through custom and formal organisation.

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The Old Establishment
Bonded Labour and Independent Miners

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About the author (1994)

Huw Beynon is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester and Director of the International Centre of Labour Studies.

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