Free miners and colliers: custom, the crown and trade unionism in the Forest of Dean, 1788-1886
Fisher, Chris (1978) Free miners and colliers: custom, the crown and trade unionism in the Forest of Dean, 1788-1886. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1750182~S9
This thesis examines the impact of social and economic
change on the practice of "free mining" in the Forest of
Dean between 1788 and 1886, asking how and why the free miners'
"rights" altered over that period and what the consequences
of their survival were for the development of trade unionism
among the Forest miners. The thesis is divided into three
parts. The first of them discusses the free miners' rights
and argues that they should be seen as part of a group of uses,
including commoning and the occupation of Crown land, which
its inhabitants made of the Forest in the eighteenth century.
These uses came under pressure between 1788 and 1841 from
reforms in central government and the intrusion of strangers
from outside the Forest into the mining industry. A series
of Acts of Parliament between 1838 and 1841 consolidated the
new order in the Forest but the bargaining which preceded
that legislation resulted in the preservation - though in
a diluted form - of the miners' rights and of commoning.
Part two asks whether the partial survival of these customs
acted as a socially conservative influence which might have
explained the relative weakness of trade unionism among
the Forest's colliers. It is argued that the instability
of union may be explained by reference to the organization
of the industry and its markets, to the method of work
organization in the pits, which created divisions among
the miners, and to the inadequacies of "national" miners'
unionism. Though it is not necessary to invoke the peculiar
local rights and customs to account for the weakness of unionism in Dean, Part three will contend that they remained important
to many foresters. Renewed pressure from the Crown and from
the large coalowners, on both the free miners and commoners,
and the resistance of the foresters to change, are examined.
The character of that resistance took colour from the assumptions
and rhetoric of the union and in turn reinforced and
helped to make successful, a campaign by the union for the
separate representation of the working men in the Parliament.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
T Technology > TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Freeminers, Coal mines and mining -- England -- History, Labor unions -- England -- History, Coal mines and mining -- Law and legislation -- England, Forest of Dean (England : District) -- Economic conditions -- 19th century|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Social History|
|Format of File:|
|Extent:||543 leaves : ill., charts, maps|
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