Published regularly since since 1967, the Journal of the North East Labour History Society* gives us a rich source of reading about the history of popular and radical politics of the North East. The core team of Norman McCord, J. F. Joe Clarke, Archie Potts, Margaret Callcott and others produced what now looks phenomenal in terms of the range and quality of the articles, the archive bibliographies. This was made possible by many of them working together at the Polytechnic, now Northumbria University. They were a combination of academics and activists. The former were not locked in an ivory tower. Many were activists themselves. They valued the contributions of the growing community historians. They contributed not just through academic and Journal articles but in popular pamphlets as well.
Archive deposits have continued to be made in the decades since, so there is more material to be looked at which will enable the work of these pioneers to be built on.
A very important aspect of the Journal was summaries of talks at Group meetings and half-day schools, and reviews. The reviews in particular are often very important because they suggest not only strengths and weaknesses in studies but also identify questions that need to be answered and lines of future research.
Sean Creighton, Compiler, June 2016
*Originally named the North East Group for the Study of Labour History
Issue 1: October 1967
Issue 2: October 1968
Issue 3: October 1969
Issue 4: November 1970
Issue 5: October 1971
Issue 6: October 1972
Issue 7: October 1973
Issue 8: October 1974
Issue 9: October 1975
Issue 10: October 1976
Issue 11: 1977
Issue 12: October 1978
Issue 13: 1979
Issue 14: 1980
Issue 1: October 1967
- Lead Miners
The Lead Miners of the Northern Pennines. C. J. Hunt. Summary of talk. 13 May 1967. (No.1. October 1967
A Tribute to Sam Watson. Sid Chaplin.
Papers of Robert Allen (1883-1966) – Tyneside Engineer. J . F. Clarke. Allen was active in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, Secretary of the ASE Widows and Orphans Provident Society from 1947. Papers inc. early diary 1901-1923, outline history of W&O Society, TU account books. Clarke is able to plot the rise and fall in wages of skilled workers from 1914 – March 1955. (No.1. October 1967)
The Keelmen. D. J. Rowe. He uses the following manuscript sources:
* Newcastle City Archives 1700-1830
- Public Record Office. HO 40/17, 41/5 & 7, 42/99, 42/196 &7.
- Northumberland County Archives. Minutes of Coal Trade of Tyne and Wear
- NE Institute of Mining. Beland Watson collections. Miscellaneous Trade Papers 1812-34 (ZB20) handbills and addresses.
- Newcastle Reference Library. Letters of John Buddle. Seymour Collection. Records of Keelmen’s Hospital.
- SANT (at Northumberland Collections). Handbills and songs.
- Shipwrights and Shipbuilding
The Shipwrights. J. C. Clarke. This includes the full text of:
- Articles of the Shipwrights Association of South Shields 1795
- Working rules of Tyne Shipwrights 1850
- General Laws of Wear Shipwrights Benevolent Society 1860 (Sunderland Ref Library. Local pamphlets Vol 4. LO42/154)
- Wear Ship builders and Shipwrights Board of 1853-4.
He also uses extracts from Sunderland Herald. Clarke’s thesis had been Labour Relations in Engineering and Shipbuilding on the North East Coast in the second half of the 19th century’ (Newcastle 1966) (No.1. October 1967)
Issue 2: October 1968
Local Records for Labour History. Tape recordings
March 1968 with Sir William Lawther. Contains extracts.
- Lead Mining
A brief list or the study of the labour history of the lead industry of the Northern Pennines. C. J. Hunt
- Blackett/Beaumont mines in Allendale and Weardale, 1723-1888. (Newcastle University Library)
- London Lead Company NEIM&ME)
- Fallowfield mine 18th-19thCs. NCRO. Blackett(Matfen MSS)
- Derwent Mining Co, 1820-1881. Huntsanworth Mine. Durham.
- Greenwich Hospital records. RO Admin 66
- Hexham manorial papers (New Uni Lib)
- Thomas Bell collection (New Uni Lib)
- Parliamentary Papers: Poor Laws 1834; Employment of Children in Mines 1842; Select Committee on rating of Mines 1857; R. Com on State of Popular Education in England (1861); Conditions n Mines (1864);
Labour in Shipbuilding on the North East Coast 1850-1900. J. C.Clarke includes a shipwright’s family budget as presented by G. Gasmby, Wearside Trade Union leader, for a man with a wife and four children from Sunderland 7 November 1854. Charts showing age of death of members of the Boilermakers’ society on N E coast 1878, 1891 and 1906. (No. 2. October 1968)
- Interwar Years
The Trade Unions and the Crisis if the Early 1930’s. Sidney Pollard. General talk. (No. 2. October 1968)
- Books and periodical articles. Of particular interest:
- J W Allan. North Country sketches. Newcastle 1881;
- G Dickenson. Allendale and Whitfield (Newcastle 1903)
- J L Dobson. Charitable education in the Weardale district of County Durham (1700-1830). Durham Research Review. Vol 2. 1955/59
- K C Dunham, Geology of the northern coalfield Vol 1. 1948. Inc comp list of all the mines
- Sir F den. The State of the poor 1797
- J R Featherstone. Veradale men and manners. Durham 1840
- Greenwich Hospital printed reports of the estates 1805, 1813, 1815, 1821, 1822
- J W House. North eastern England. Population movements and the landscape since the early 19th King; College Department of George Research Series 1. 1954
- Macrae. The improvement of waste lands. Jnl of the Royal agricultural Society. 2nd series. Vol 4. 1868.
- F. S. Methodism in Allendale. Methodist Magazine 1872.
- F J Monkhouse. The Greenwich Hospital Smelt Mill at Langley, Northumberland, 1768 to 1780. Trans. Instit Mining & Metallurgy Vol 49, 1940.
- F J Monkhouse. The transport of lead and silver from Langley Castle to Newcastle. 1768-1779. Proc Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. 4th Vol 9. 1939/41
- W M Patterson. Northern Primitive Methodism, London 1909
- H L Pattinson. An account of the methods of smelting lead etc 1831. Trans Nat Hist Soc of N/land, Durham & Newcastle. Vol2. 1831. Inc working conditions
- Practical illustrations of the benefits to be derived from well-documented friendly societies.Newcastle 1852
- B W Richardson. Thomas Sopwith. With excerpts from his diary of fifty seven years. London 1891. Microfilm of original diary 167 vols in new Unit Lb.
- W Robinson, ??? miners and their diseases. Newcastle 1893.
- A Steele. History of Methodism in Barnard Castle and the principal places in the Dales Circuit. London 1857
- W Turner. Account of a short tour through the lead mine districts in 1793. (Trans Lit & Phil Soc of N. Vol1. Pt 1. 1831
- R Watson. Poems and songs of Teesdale, Darlington 1930.
M Hughes. Lead, land, and coal as sources of landlord income in Northumberland between 1700 and 1850. Durham University PhD 1963
C J Hunt. The economic and social conditions of lead miners in the Northern Pennines in the eighteenth and nineteen centuries, Durham MLitt thesis 1968
A E Smailes. The dales of Northeast England. London Uni MA. 1932
D Thompson, The rural geography of the West Durham Pennines – Derwentdale, Weardale and Upper Teesdale, Manchester Uni MA 1962
Labour Problems in the Durham Coalfield: A Critical Bibliography. W. R. Garside. The importance of this article is the author’s view son ‘which future studies can be most usefully made if the importance of the labour movement in the coalfield is to be fully appreciated.’
- ‘More research still needs to be made of primary sources other than those readily available amongst the records of the miners’ associations themselves.’
- ‘A close study of the fortunes of the inland and export trade in Durham in the period before 1914, for example, could go a long way towards explaining, far better than has been done so far, the nature and consequences of movement sin wages and the price of coal; the timing of strikes and lock-outs; the social condition of the miner; and the factors affecting the supply price of labour.’
- A study of the Joint Committee, Arbitration, Sliding Scales of the Conciliation Board ‘should jot as in past works … be approached simply as question of their influence upon the Settlement of disputes and the achievement of industrial peace.
- The primary concern of these bodies and agreements with the settlement of wage rates and consequently attention must be directed to their effect upon the movement of wage rates. Such a study must assesses the theoretically weaknesses of sliding scales, the crier caused by arbitrators in making their awards and the restrictive nature of conciliation boards with long term agreements and emphasise on compromise. This question cannot be separated from the movements in the economy as a whole, especially o prices and the cost of living, since it can be argued that the movement of prices have as great an influence upon real wages of the miners as the reductions and advances they were formally awarded. The success or otherwise of the Union can only be judged in this respect if an analysis is made of the effect upon wages of the adoption of a policy of conciliation.’
- ‘none of the previous studies mentioned provide adequate details of the organizational, social and political developments in the country. Who were the miner’s leaders? What was their background and ideology? How democratic was the struction of the miners’ Association? What was the relationship between the Durham Miners’ Association, the lodges and other Working-class organizations? How did the Association’s finances fluctuate? What were its investments, how liquid were its resources and how this influence Union strength and bargaining power? How rigid was the structure of the organisation in the light of the economic, social and political pressures it had to face?’
- ‘More research is needed into statistics of housing, poverty, accidents and the extent of colliery amenities and education. How important was the influence of nonconformity and the established church upon the activity of the miners and their leaders. Who were the coal owners and what direct influence did they have upon social conditions?’
- ‘What was the precise effect of syndicalism amongst the Durham miners? … Is there evidence of other attacks upon the local miner’s leaders similar to that made by George Harvey Wilson, a Derbyshire miner, in his pamphlet Does John Wilson, M.P., serve the Wooing Class (1912) What were the reasons which lay behind the staunch liberal attitude of the most influential Durham miners’ leaders. What was the relationship between the Durham Miners’ Association and local political organizations and how effective was working-class representation within the County?’
The Tyneside Conciliation Board – 1875. J. F. Clarke. Inc. text of rules of the Tyneside Shipbuilders’ Board of Conciliation (1875)
MacDonald-Ritson Letter. A.Potts. Re-letter (25 August 1931) from Ramsay MacDonald to Joshua Ritson (1874-1955), City of Durham MP 1922-1931; 1935-1945) (re-the National Government). Full text of letter.
The Northumbrian Agricultural Labourer. This explains the basis of annual hirings and living conditions., age rates etc. Mrs J. Campbell. Northumberland County record Office. The Bibliography :
- E. Kebbel. The Agricultural Labourer 1870
- W Hasbach. A History of the English Agricultural Labourer. 1908.
- J Bailey and G Culley. General View of the Agriculture of Northumberland 1794
- E Mackenzie. History of Northumberland. Vol 1.1825
- W White. Northumberland and the Border. 1859
- J Grey. View of the past and present state of agriculture in Northumberland, 1840. Trans Royal Agric Soc of England. 1840
- T Colbeck. On the agriculture of Northumberland 1847. Ditto 1847
- J Grey. On the Bukosi ng of Cottages of Farm-Labourers. Journal of RAS Vol V, 1845
- S Donkin. The Agricultural Labourers of Northumberland, their physical and social conditions.1869.
- Report of the Committee of the Cottage Improvement Society for North Northumberland. 1842
*Report to the House of Lords on the Condition of the Labouring Poor, 1831
Reports of the Special assistant Poor Law Commissioners on the Employment of Women and Children in Agriculture, 1843
Returns of Agricultural Labourers’ Average weekly Earnings, 1861, 1871, 1873 (returns of the Poor Law Unions)
Report of the R Comm on Employment of Children, Young Persons, and Women in Agriculture, 1867-8, 1868-9
Blackett Maften MSS
Quarter Session papers. Age list of Alexander Young, framer of Outchester. 1723 (Vol 58. Mch 1772)
Simposon ZS1 56
Middleton ZS1 72
Belsay ZMI 12/XII
Issue 3: October 1969
The Regional Problem in Retrospect. Re-economic aspects of North East Coast. Prof E Allen.
The Royal Commission on Trade Unions 1867-69. C G Hanson. Summary of talk.
Methodism and the Woking Class in Durham. Robert. Moore. Summary of talk. Important critique of existing studies ( W E H Lecky History of England in the Eighteenth Century (1902) Bol III; E P Thompson The Making of the English Working Cass (163), R F Wearmouth. Methodism and the working Class movements of England 1800-1950.
Chartism in Northeastern England. W H Maehl. Maehl was at the Univ of Oklahoma. He makes some very important points:
Inc text of document To The Middle-Classes of the North of England by the Council of the Durham County Charter Association. 1839
Labour History of the Railways in Durham and Northumberland to 1900: sn introduction to sources of bibliography. R. M. Gard. Manuscript Sources
North Eastern Railway Company v their workmen. Shorthand notes of arbitration before R Spence Watson. 1889
J F Tone and Robert Nicholson railway engineer papers Northumberland RO.
Inc txt of petition of |NERC footplatemen for reinstatement after strike 1867. From Bagwell The Railwaymen p. 42
National Labour Federation. T P McDermott, WEA. Tyneside and SE N/land based. Serious decline form 1892. Formed 1886. Material in Newcastle Ct Archives. Articles, membership, and income and expenditure.
The Papers of Henry Havelock Robson (1858-1929) – Durham Colliery Engineman. A Potts. Born 1858 Newcastle. Secretary Newbottle branch of D Colliery Enginemen’s Association 20 years. Details of 1892 coal disputes From notebooks held by daughter Mrs M A McGovern of Houghton-le-Soring.
The General Strike in the North East. A Bibliographical Sketch. A Mason. Aim of Mason to donate collection foo hot copies of research items to Central Library. Inc Northern Light, The Workers Chronicle, The Workers Searchlight, The Noter Searchlight. The British Worker. Strike Bulletin (Spend & D T&L),
Issue 4: November 1970
South Shields Labour Movement in the 1830’s and 1840’s. John Foster. Summary of talk. Plus interim bibliography.
- D. Maurice (1805-72) – A Short Biographical Study. D W Lindsay.
No local information
The introduction of the Poor Law Amendment Act on Tyneside. Norman McCord. Summary of talk.
Poor Law Administration in South Shields (1836-1847). Pamela Mawson Summary of talk
??? The Hndon and Pwellheli Unions 1835-1871. Ray Grace. Summary of talk
The General Strike on Teesside. A Mason
He North Eastern Daily Gazette and the General Strike. J . W. Leonard.
J Feeney, retired locomotive driver member of first strike committee in Middleborough in 1926 recorded at Group meeting and extracts.
A Comment by James Stephenson on Winlaton. Member ILP after FWW. Chairman Victoria Garside Miners. Secretary Rowland Gill Miner’s Lodge. Inc 1926. Secretary Blaydon Burn Lodge. Member Gateshead BoG last five years. Blaydon Cllr36 ears. Involved in BBC broadcast on 1926 General Strike. Tape recording interview by John Anderson.
The Notebook of an Engineering Craftsman H. Gardener. Eralings date 1881-1893. J F Clarke.
Book Review. A. Potts. The DMA. E Allen
William A Moyes. Mostly mining
Eric Forster The Death Pit
Archie Teaching Units and Labour History. Univ New Educ Dept published Archive Teaching Units ed J C Tysen.
1.Coals from Newcastle
2. Railways in the Making
3. Popular Education 1700-1870
4. The Tyne 1800-1850
“Genuinely Seeking Work…” J F Clarke.
From records of Gateshead Poor Union Boated 27 July 1926 considered applications form 2 male attendants for the Mental Hospital wards 203 applications. Analysis of. 6 shortlisted. Appointments made 7 September
Issue 5: October 1971
Joseph Cowen – The Northern Tribune. Keith Harris. Summary of talk. With Cowen’s Early Years: A Select Bibliography.
The Nine Hours Strikes of 1871 in North East England. Norman McCord.
Education and the Working Class in the 19th century. Talks at half day school.
- Schools for working class children in County Durham in the Early Nineteenth Century. Ray Pallister
- The Gateshead School Board 1870-1914. J M Thew
Memories of a Domestic Servant in the First World War. Oral history interview with Mrs Rippeth. Born 1901 in Addison Colliery Village. Interviewed by Barbara Rowlands.
Mrs Mary Duffy of Teesside – Domestic Service in the Early 1920Ms. Extract from talk.
Dr Helen Mellor – Woman and Society in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century. Summary concentrating of
- ‘the immense differences between feminine life in the various social classes’
- ‘It is difficult to take into account the debilitating effects and social consequences of constant childbirth. This if course was the lot of nearly all married women until the adoption of contraceptive practices.’
- ‘The predominance of the Victorian spinster (in public life) as opposed to the married woman, cab be understood only in relation to this phenomena (sic)
- ‘t was one source of the ambiguity in the attitude of women t their femininity: an ambiguity for whose resolution the world still waits.’
Labour History Additions to Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic Libra. K G Harris. List of microfilmed Howell and Holyoke papers, ILP, Newspapers (inc Merlin reprints).Beehive, Commonweal, The Socialist, 19thC Parliamentary papers.
Skilled Time workers’ Rates in the Shipbuilding and ship repairing industries since 191. Duncan Bythell.
Dan Smith An Autobiography (1970). Review by Edward Allen.
Newspapers of Northumberland and Durham. Maurice Milne (. Review by Paul Stigant. Stigant raises the interesting question: ‘Did the press in the North East, however, succeeded in influencing public opinion …?’
The Miners of Northumberland and Durham. Richard Fynes. (1971). Review by Archie Potts. 1st edition 1873. 2nd pub by Thomas Summerbell 1923. ‘Fines’s history may now have been superceded by more scholarly accounts of the early struggles of the Northumberland and Durham miners, yet his book was a work of some influence its its day and many people will welcome the issue of a third edition.’
Issue 6: October 1972
Socialist Mythology and the Paris Commune. Temple Willcox. With selection bibliography
Labour and the First World War. Half day school
- Trade Unions and the First World ar. Gordon Phillips. Summary. General
Coalowners and Ironmasters. Half day school.
- The Third Marquess of Londonderry as an employer. P A. J. Heesom. Assessment suggesting a reassessment.
- The North Eastern Ironmaster. A Potts. Inc select bibliography.
Gun-Running from the North East Coast 1905-7. Raymond Challinor. To Russia.
The Northumberland Pitman: Observations on an exhibition of original records on coal mining industry in N/land, with notes on manuscript sources for the study of labour relations in the cos industry deposited in the Northumberland Record Office. Robin Gard.
W R Garside. The Durham Miners (1971). Review by E Allen.
The North East Engineer’s Strikes of 1871. E Allen, J F Clarke, No. McCord and D. J. Rowe. Review by Duncan Bythell. Northumberland and Durham – Industry in the Nineteenth Century (1971). N McCord and D J Rowe. Review by J F Clarke
Advert Archie teaching Units No. 7 General Strike 1926
Issue 7: October 1973
Arthur Henderson: A Liberal-Labour Politian. Summary of talk by William Purdue
Concludes: The Barnard Castle by-election of 1903 ‘can be seen as underlining the failure of the Liberal Party to provide adequate opportunities from working class leaders and as pointing to strong divisions within that Party, rather than as a positive triumph for a new political party with an independent identity.’ (p. 3)
The Tyneside Sailors’ ???? in 1851. Summary of talk by Steve Jones.
Some notes on conversations with aged mariners. Re- National Maritime Museum oral history project. By Campbell McMurray
The Public Health Movement in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Summary of talk by H J Smith.
Housing and Public Health in Gateshead in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. F. M. Manders
The Wear Shipwrights and the Arbitration Court of 1853-54. J. F Clarke. Draws mainly from newspapers, Parliamentary papers and secondary works.
The Northumberland Pitmen Part II
Ned Cowen. Of Mining Life and All its Ways. Review by E Allen
Sid Chaplin. A Tree with Rosy Apples. Review E Allen
David Douglas. Pit Life in County Durham: Rank and File Movements and Workers Control. (1972) Review by E Allen. J F Clarke and TP Macdermott. Newcastle & District Trades Council 1873-1973. (1973) review by Raymond Challinor.
The authors ‘have failed to consider why Newcastle Trades Council did not play a more positive role – say, like its Liverpool counterpart. Probably it was inhibited by lack of strength: the powerful Boilermakers@ Society, feeling no need for a trades council, remained outside its ranks, as did the miners, and at times, the engineers. Even those who joined do not appear to have been linked by the same tight bonds of solidarity as the Mersyside men. Moreover, the class struggle may well have been fought with less ferocity, as a rule on Tyneside than on Merseyside. Hence, the need for mutual assistance seemed less compelling.’ (p. 46)
‘Another interesting topic that could have been explored is why there was such a wide divergence between the attitudes o works on the Tyne and Clyde during the First World ar. Both were engineering and shipbuilding areas, heavily dependent on munitions. The tensions of war, one might have thought would have been felt with equal severity in both places. But whereas there was the famous “revolt on the Clyde”, there was hardly a mutter of protest on the Tyne. In December 1915, Lloyd George addressed a cordial meeting of workers in Newcastle. When he went to Glasgow, he was subjected to indignities, probably the greatest ever endured by a minister of the crown. ‘ (p. 47)
When Henderson became a Liberal Councillor ‘there is no evidence in the pamphlet that he maintained links with the Trades Council or sought to further its political ends.’
‘In the same way, it is intriguing to ponder over the political conduct of Alexander Wilkie, leader of the Shipwrights.’ Member of NTC for many years, V-Chair of LRC ‘he does not appear to have played a prominent part in the struggle for independent working-class representation. Probably this was because of his strong Liberal sympathies.’ 1900 LRC candidate in Sunderland with the Liberal G.B. Hunter of Swan and Hunters. ‘At the same time as there was this electoral alliance, another organisation, the National Industrial Association, was being created. Sponsored by employers like G. B. Hunter along with trade unionists like Wilkie and Richard Bell, the L.R.C. candidate at Derby, the new body aimed to promote the common interests of employers and workers. In the eyes of these gentlemen, the National Industrial Association and Labour Representation Committee would largely complement each other; it was envisaged that class collaboration, both industrially and politically, would walk hand in hand.’ (p. 47)
Issue 8: October 1974
Workers in the old Tyneside Chemical Trade. WA Campbell. Summary of talk. ‘The documentation of early union activity among chemical workers in sparse. There are fleeting glimpses of a Tyneside union in the 1860s, but this is likely that this was a similar body is known to have existed at Widnes in 1870. In 1893 the Royal Commission on Labour heard evidence from the Tyneside and National Labourer’s Union (founded in 1890, with national membership of 27,000, and branches at London, Belfast, Tyne and Wear). There were four thousand Tyneside members, comprising most of the unskilled labourers including those in chemicals and lead work, and they subscribed fourteens a week.’ (p.3)
1891 number of T/side factories reduced to 4. Of these only Allhusen’s survived into the 1920s and absorbed into ICI in 1926. ‘A proportion of Allhusen’s workers moved to Billingham to work on the synthetic ammonia plant and to make soda by newer processes less dependent on cheap Tyne coal.’ (p. 3)
Consett: The Development of a ‘Model’ Company Town, 1840-1900. Summary of talk by A. Wilson. Key points: a planned community; Quaker role; classes between Protestant English and Irish Catholics in 1840s; strikes 1849-1866 affecting Derwent Iron Company. By end of 19thC 2 local newspapers, two theatres, Town Hall inc reading room, library and 1,000 seat hall. (p.3-5)
Lady Bell and Edwardian Middlesbrough. Summary of talk by Jim Leonard. Flounce Bell’s survey of Middlesbrough published 1907 and then 1911. Father in law Isaac Lothian Bell. She died 1930. Critical review. G. of not mentioning trade unionism or the political labour movement. (p. 5-8)
The Labour |Party in the North East Between the Wars. Day School with to papers
Margaret Gibb, a former Labour Party Organiser in the Region: The Labour Party in the North East, and Parliamentary Elections in County Durham Between the Wars: The Making of A Labour Stronghold by Maureen Callcott.
Sources for Labour History in the Durham Record Office. Christine Hickey
Tyneside Chartists. D. . Rowe. This is an important contribution because it lists their names of every known Tyneside Chartist.
Issue 9: October 1975
The General Strike on Tyneside. Summary of talk by J. F. Clarke. Plus discussion. Largely drawn from newspapers and secondary sources. Discussion contributions from Charlie Woods (N&DTC) who had been member of the Blaydon Council of Action; Horace Green (Sec NE D CP) on Strike as a lad in Yorkshire who had the Minutes of the Community off the National Unemployed Workers Union of South Shields. (p. 6-8)
Libraries of the working classes in 19th century Newcastle. Joan Knott.
The Shipwrights: The History of the Shipconstructors & Shipwrights’ Association 1882-1963. David Dougan who had been asked to write the Union’s History.
The Foreman – a neglected figure in the history of industrial relations? J F Clarke. He draws attention ‘to the possible role of the foreman in trade union growth in the nineteenth century’; ‘the significance of the foreman for the day-to-day contentment of the worker and so a major factor in industrial peace Too much would not be claimed on the evidence so far but in the north east of England foreman in engineering and shipbuilding were most likely to be trade unionists and sympathetic rather than hostile to trade union advance.’ (p. 28)
Memories of a militant. Jack Parks. Oral History transcript by Raymond Challinor. Tapes. 1975. Parks was a friend of George Harvey and there is a lot of information about Harvey. (34-42)
The North East Engineers’ Strike of 1908. Richard Croucher.
Northumberland Miners’ History. J Davison & Democracy in the Mines & Banner Parade. Review by Ray Challinor.
Democracy in the Mines published by Spokesman Books includes George Harvey’s Industrial Unionism in the Mining Industry and Industrial Unionism versus Guild Socialism.
Archive Teaching Units No 9. Trade Unions 1795-1914 J F Clarke & A Potts.
Religion and The Durham Miners and Pitmen Preachers and Politics, both by Robert Moore. Review by E Allen. Allen reproduces a table listing ‘The Quebec rebels’ mainly Miners and mainly Primitive Methodists. ‘As PM’s (Primitive Methodists) they would be likely to carry forward the traditional emphasis of Methodism on personal moderation, society and respectability: as founder members of Cornsay I.L.P. they could be expected to argue in systematic (ideological?) terms against the capitalist order and stress the primary significance of “group” or against “individual” responsibility.’ Allen particular highlights the need for a study of John George Harrison ‘one-time Primitive Methodist preacher, one-time Quaker, finally an energetic members of the Brotherhood Chance, who played such an important part in the formation of the Cornsay ILP: the information about him, and the author’s helpful comments, whet out appetite for more.’ (p. 62) Also school teacher. (p.60-62)
Issue 10: October 1976
Issue devoted to General Strike on the North East.
- W. Morris. The General Strike. Morris was a mechanic at Pelton Colliery in 1926
William Muckle. Cramlington. Muckle involved in de-railing the Flying Scotsman. Reprinted from Labour Monthly
Bill Carr. Memories of the General Strike. Joined CP in consequence. Reprinted from Marxism Today
Newcastle: the other side. Horace Green. Analysis of Government supporters. Re-printed from Labour Monthly
Chopwell – “Little Moscow” Connie Pickard. BCC researcher working on programme to be screened on BBC One in November
Obituary Sir William Lawther, 1889-1976. \Robin Smith who was working on a full length biography. Some points of interest:
- Interested in Burns and Shakespeare
- Grandfather (Edward) ‘was secretary of the Blyth chartists ad had been arrested and imprisoned after disturbances at a meeting at Cowpen in 1841)
- Key influence of mother, daughter of a South Shields river pilot
- Family mix of mores of Primitive Methodists , agnosticism and atheism
- ‘detested what he perceived as the monolithic conformity imposed by the Catholic Church’
- Important of membership of the Barington Miners’ Institute (with library)
- Influence of Peter Lee
- Attended Central Labour College 1911
- 1907-926 referred to himself at Chopwell as Marxist, syndicalist, anarchist and ILPer.
- 1912 written attack on John Wilson for conciliation
- Contributed to The Blaydon Courier
- Active in setting up study circles in miners lodges building the National Council of Labour Colleges
- By 1920s in Labour Party; 1925 elected to National Executive and Durham County Council
- Arrested and imprisoned in General Strike
- Stood for South Shields 1922, 1923, 1924
- Elected Barnard Castle 1929 unseating Lt Col Cuthbert Headlam
- Secured the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1931
- Headlam beat him 1931
- 1934 VP Miners Federation
- 1935 DMA agent and member TUC
- On delegation to Spain where his brother Clifford was killed at Jarama
- By 1939 President of MFGB living at Wembley returning on retirement in 1954
- After coalmine nationalisation believed the rules had been changed and noted the union to move from confrontation to co-operation
- His wife Lottie (m 1915. D 1962) supported him ; no children
Early Radical Newcastle. Peter Cadogan. Review by Ray Challinor. ‘This is an atrocious book.’
The Shipwrights. David Dougan. Review by Joe Clarke. History of the Ship-constructors’ and Shipwrights’ Association (1882 – merger with Boilermakers 1963). Key points:
- Boilermakers built in iron
- Shipwrights in mostly in wood.
- There is remarkably little about the relationship between Knight of the Boilermakers and Wilkie of the Shipwrights whose offices were within walking distance of each other in Newcastle. This is a pity because co-operation between these two men could have profoundly affected industrial relations in shipbuilding.’ (p. 34)
- ‘study of the shipwrights up to the 1880s is needed. (p. 35)
- 1908 Wear shipwrights were absorbed. (1650 members 1907) fumed 1845. P. 35)
- ‘Such persisting local strength and growth so near the association’s headquarters in Newcastle suggests just how strong a local tradition could be and how it was not obvious to all how “ineffective” the old forms were. However, the likeliest reason for the Wear men joining was the ending by the employers in 1907 of the Wear Shipbuilding Conciliation Board (formed in 1885 and so inadequacy treated on p. 63) but this is not mentioned.’ (p. 35\)
- Five General Secretaries: Alex Wilkie to 1928; William Westwood 1929-45; John Willcocks 1945-8); Sidney Ombler 1948-57); Arthur Williams (1957-1963)
- Wilkie elected as LRC for Dundee 1906
- Importance of Tynesider Joseph Heslop in building Union. 2nd full-time official from 1886.
- Dougan is very critical of Wilkie’s caution and alleged lack of democracy. Clarke: ‘I think we should accept that the policy was what they wanted, and indeed at times this is acknowledged. What an arrogance it is to suggest that these craftsmen were bamboozled by one man. ‘ (p. 37)
- A ‘major matter of internal development which is not adequately explored concerns the changes within the union.’ (p. 38)
- There were amalgamations with drillers and holecutters who were on piece work which the shipwrights opposed.
- ‘Although Dougan describes the early developments of the “new unionism” in 1886-9 he fails to mention he lost mushrooming of drillers societies on Tyneside which were to provide such an important part of the societies’ membership’ (p. 38)
Flames Across the Tyne. Gerard March. A history of the Newcastle and Gateshead fire service. Review by Archie Potts, who says that a book on the story of trade unions in the Tyneside fire bridge is needed. (;. 43)
Stand True – NCMA – NUM 1875-1975. A Potts & E. Wade. NUM Northumberland Mechanics, Blyth. History of the Northumberland Colliery Mechanics Association Review by E. Allen
Issue 11: 1977
Isaac Mitchell and the “Progressive” Alliance 1903-06. Bill Purdue. A study of Darlington labour politics.
Sidney Webb, Ramsay Macdonald, Emmanuel Shinwell and the Durham Constituency of Seaham. Maureen Callcott.
“Bevin to Beat the Bankers”: Ernest Bevin’s Gateshead Campaign of 1931. Archie Potts.
Sunderland Divison Labour Party balance Sheet for 1931
A Letter to the Members of the Women’s Section of The Seaham Divisional Labour Party from Beatrice Webb. 14 October 1931. Discusses the economic crisis. It was printed and published by Thomas Summerbell, 10-11 Green St, Sunderland.
The Organisation of Political Support in the North of England: The Work of Margaret Gibb 1929-1957. Maureen Callcott.
Book Review: Palmers’ Yard and the town of Jarrow, Vincent Rea; Jarrow March: 1936. David Dougan. Review by Joe Clarke. Rea’s includes a biographical note of Charles Mark Palmer. Clarke points to some inaccuracies . ‘However regrettable it is that we still without a hissy of Palmers.’ (p. 61) On the Jarrow March Clarke: ‘Surprisingly little stress sis placed on the grave problem inevitably surrounding a town based almost solely on a single commercial enterprise. No community should be subjected to the miseries experienced by Jarrow between the wars, and the itcures here should help a new generation appreciate those men who marched in hope of work, and only finally found it when the war drums sounded!’ (p. 61)
Issue 12: October 1978
Ashngton: The Growth of a Company Mining Town. 1850-1960. Colin McNiven. This draws on
- Portland Papers. Sample (Bothal) MSS ZSA 3/3/20 t NRO; 4/14/1-3
- Ashington Coal Company NCB/AS/2 NRO
- ZMD 54
- Northumberland Miners Mutual Confident Association NRO
The Putter of the Northumberland and Durham Coalfield. Eric Wade. A putter . This draws largely on Parliamentary papers conveyed coals in carriages from the pit face to a central collection point. And secondary works. Includes reproductions of some union rules in 20thC on putters.
The Northumberland Mining records Survey. Report on research project at NCRO. Isn M Ayris and David Vickerman. An archival aping and oral history project on mining from 1880 – 1950.
Average Weekly Earnings in the coalmining Industry, May 1943; MFGB Circular of 19 August 1943.
The Origins of British Bolsheviks, Raymond Challinor & Labour and the Left in the 190s . B. Pimlott. Review by Maureen Callcott. Challinor particularly focuses on Socialist Labour Party with its newspaper he Socialist.
Where the Wall Ends.- recollections of a Tyneside Town. Review by Joe Clarke. Polished by Wallsend Arts Centre. Based on recollections of 26 residents.
Waggon ways and Early Railways of Northumberland 1605-1840. C R arn. & Railways of the Northern Coalfield. Review by T P MacDermott. Nothing ‘substantial about the people who operated or controlled these early means of transportation’. (p. 48). ‘It would have been interesting to have had more about the horse drawn era, particularly about the men and their horses that provide the motive power. Sid Chaplin, whose forebears had links with the Charlton family from Tynedale, assets that there is good evidence that after the Union of Scotland and England many of those like his forebears whose occupation of border reiver had become redundant took themselves south with their Galloway ponies to the new waggonways and settled in to jobs in the new industrial proletariat.
Further, his sources assure him, that with the decline of the waggonways a century or more later their decedents moved across from the older forms of transport to the steam engines of the 19th century. Tis account, if substantiated, would fill ???? the gap in the labour history of the Northumbrian coalfield and be a useful adjunct to both of the booklets under review.’ (p. 49)
John S Clarke, Parliamentarian, Poet and Liontamer. Raymond Challinor. 1978. Review by Ray Grace.
Issue 13: 1979
Poaching and Property Rights on Alston Moor. Fiona McHarry. Draws on The Wallace letters (part of the Middelton estate papers) ZMI/S NRO; The Branding letters (part of the Ridley of Blagdon Hall papers (NRO) ZRI/39. Also draws heavily on C J Hunt. The Lead Miners of the Northern Pennines in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Newcastle Chronicle 1818-1819
Unionisation and the Building Trades: North East England 1875-1894. R G Roger.
The Tyneside branches: Newcastle, Hexham, Hebburn, Walker, Jarrow, South Shields, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Morpeth were of the Associated Carpenters and Joiners of Scotland (1860-1910). In the National Library of Scotland. ; and Minutes Books and Accounts held by the ASW HO Edinburgh, and Modern Records Centre (SS 78 collection).
Essays in Tyneside Labour History. Ed. Norman McCord for ME group for the SLH. Review by D E Martin
Essays in Scottish Labour History. Ian Macdouglass. Review by Ray Challinor
Picking up the Linen Threads. A Study in Industrial Folklore. Betty Messenger. Review by Duncan Blythell. No NE references mentioned
C P Trevelyan 1870-1958: Portrait of a Radical. A J A Morris. Review by Archie Potts. Potts emphasises that it ‘throws fresh light on several important themes, not least the decline of the Liberal Party and its replacement by the Labour Party in the 1920s. Particularly important was the anti-war contact between Liberal MPs like Trev and Morel and the ILP.
Chopwell’s Story. Les Turnbull. Review by Colin McNiven.
Up the Ladder. Adeline Hodges. Re-life in a Durham mining community.
Issue 14: 1980
Thomas Spence: The Poor Mans’ Advocate. R. A Franklin.
Labour in World d War One:
- Some Experiences in engineering and Shipbuilding on the North East Coast 1914-18. J Clarke
Cumulative Index to Bulletins Numbers 1 to 13. (1967-1979). Compiled by E R Jones. By Contributors; by documents printed, subject.
The Making of a Ruling Class. Two Centuries of Capital Development ton Tyneside. Benwell Community Project. Keith McClelland. While welcoming this contribution as a forceful statement of what so many ideologically ???? historians forget – that capitalism is a system which cannot work except through the systematic reproduction of economic, cultural and political inequalities.’ (p. 72)
‘Where the book is less firmly grounded is in the discussion of the wider social and political position of the leading families. Was this a class that riled, and, if so, how did it do so?’ (p. 73)
‘There can be little question as the centrality of the leading families to the structures of power in the local society and polity there are times when the authors overestimate the extent to which their constructed a monolithic block.’ There have been tensions and differences within the raking lass after all. … And, further, though it is rightly stressed that the large employers were extremely important in determining the shape of local politics what is estimated if the complexity of political forces. Politics is largely seen as directly reflective of the interests of the ruling class which inevitably understates the extent to which it has been a sphere of unequal negotiation between conflicting classes and sections of classes. Without grasping this it is difficult to see, for example, why Liberalism in the nineteenth century should bae been such a complex formation which could, for a time, win the adherence of both business and labour, of professional men and shopcrats. And it is necessary to see this in order to chart the shifting boundaries between power exercised directly in society and power exercised through the local and national State.’ P. 73)
He study argues that ‘the local ruling class constituted a ‘hegemonic’ class, ie one whose values were diffused throughout the society and whose power was maintained by consent from below. Crucial to this, it is suggested, was the ‘buying off’ of a ‘labour aristocracy’ through the creation of various institutions and means of control, like religion, education and the like. In my view this quite underestimates the complexity o, first, the divisions within the working class – which were not simply grounded in differences between skilled and unskilled – and, second, the acceptance of and resistance to capitalism by workers. At Elswick, for example, the skilled weeks were in the forefront of the Nine Hours’ Movement and in the development of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers in the area; they were also central to the creation of a radical Liberal political movement in the later 1860s and early 1870s, to which W G Armstrong was opposed. Of course, these movements did largely remain within the limits defined by capitalism: at the same time, they were not controlled in any simple sense by capitalists.’ (p. 74)
John McNair. Parish Diary. Review of Raymond Challinor. This is one chapter of a planned autography, on which Challinor had read ten chapters. Publication being vetoed by the ILP.
Gavin Purdon. The Sacriston Mine Disaster. Review by Archie Potts. 1903. 2 deaths.