Classics of Labour History

The Society for the Study of Labour History has published groundbreaking research, must-read commentary and analysis, and news from the front line of labour history since its launch in 1960. Here we republish a series of classic articles from the pages of the SSLH Bulletin and Labour History Review.

A research programme for the 1960s and beyond
In his opening address to the first ever meeting of the Society for the Study of Labour History in May 1960, Asa Briggs sets out what he sees as the challenges for labour history in the years ahead and invites responses… SSLH Bulletin 1(1), 1960. Read more.


The Story of Fabian Socialism
Eric Hobsbawm reviews Margaret Cole’s history of Fabian socialism, noting that the author ‘has the advantage not only of scholarship but also of more first-hand knowledge than almost anyone else now alive’. SSLH Bulletin 4(1), 1962. Read more.


Not by Bread Alone: The Making of the English Working Class
Professor Sidney Pollard reviews E.P. Thompson’s iconic work of labour history, judging it to be a ‘landmark in English historiography’, and adding, ’We shall never again be able to view this period, the critical years 1780-1832, without being influenced by this book’ SSLH Bulletin 8(1), 1964. Read more.


The Dictionary of Labour Biography (vol 1)
Royden Harrison reviews the first of what is now fifteen volumes, hailing the efforts of John Saville, Joyce M Bellamy and their authors as ’a public rather than a private enterprise and one which is still at the earliest stage of its development’. SSLH Bulletin 25(1), 1972. Read more.


John L. Halstead on the life of Royden Harrison
The labour historian Royden Harrison was a member of the Society from its earliest days and was influential in its development over many years, as his long-time friend and fellow historian John Halstead’s obituary reveals. Labour History Review 68(1), 2003. Read more.


Malcolm Chase and the story of Chartism
Stephen Roberts reviews Chartism: A New History, concluding that Malcolm Chase had created ’the richly-detailed, reliable, lucid, and considered narrative history of Chartism that was badly needed’. Labour History Review 74(1), 2009. Read more.


First meeting of the Society for the Study of Labour History
In ’The Road from Malet Street’ John McIlroy tells the story of the Society’s first meeting at Birkbeck College, and of its development over the ensuing half century. Labour History Review 75(1), 2010. Read more.


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