Video: Anger and Reason in the English Coal Lockout of 1893

Dr Quentin Outram examines the emotions at play in one of the largest industrial disputes ever to take place in Victorian England

In the summer of 1893, mine owners sought to reduce wages across the coalfields organised by the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain – including Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire. The lockout developed into what was then the largest industrial dispute ever known in Britain, with about 300,000 workers involved across 16 long, hungry weeks from July 28 to November 17.

In this two-part video presentation, titled From ‘Amicable Understanding’ to ‘Tear him from Limb to Limb!’: Anger & Reason in the English Coal Lockout of 1893, Dr Quentin Outram examines the emotions raised by the dispute as an initially calm situation gave way to disturbances and, on September 7, the Featherstone Massacre, in which a large crowd of miners were confronted by armed soldiers, the Riot Act was read, and one miner was shot dead, another mortally wounded, and still others injured.

This presentation forms part of a collection of content on this site on the theme of Emotions and Labour History.

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Please note: Part 1 (above) lasts 44 minutes, 14 seconds; Part 2 (below) lasts 38 minutes, 40 seconds.

Download The Featherstone Massacre and the People’s Martyrology: An Exploration of Christian Culture in British Coal Strikes, a conference paper by Dr Quentin Outram for the European Social Science History Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, 2018, and further illustrations from the presentation.

Dr Quentin Outram is Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds Business School. An economic historian and specialist in the history of the UK coal industry and its people, Dr Outram is also Secretary of the Society for the Study of Labour History.

‘The coal miners’ strike: the inhabitants of Streethouse, near Castleford, digging for coal among the refuse at the pit’s mouth (The Graphic, 23 September 1893).