When Santa and his elves formed a union

In an era when every self-respecting town centre of any size had at least one department store, no December shopping trip would have been complete without a visit to Santa’s grotto. The experience left most small children with a smile on their face and a cheap toy, while the store owners were equally happy with the additional profits. But for the bit-part actors and bar … Continue reading When Santa and his elves formed a union

Forging a single union for the iron and steel industry

The organisational history of trade unions in the iron and steel industry is a complex one. The photographs here, published by the ISTC in the early 1980s as a series of postcards, show the banners and membership certificates of some of the organisations that form part of that story. Trade union membership in the iron and steel trades ebbed and flowed over the latter half … Continue reading Forging a single union for the iron and steel industry

SSLH backs drive to conserve historic Belgian trade union banners

The People’s Flag… is in need of a little care, writes Mike Sanders. Banners and flags have played a key role in Labour movement since its inception. Trades unions and political protesters alike have marched behind banners proclaiming their objectives and values using both word and image. Nor has their symbolic importance escaped the attention of those opposed to the Labour movement. At Peterloo, the … Continue reading SSLH backs drive to conserve historic Belgian trade union banners

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

Fifty years a labour historian: SSLH President Keith Laybourn on half a century at Huddersfield University

As a school leaver, Keith Laybourn was told, “Don’t be too ambitious”. This year, the SSLH President marks thirty years as a professor and fifty as an academic at the University of Huddersfield. We asked him about a lifetime in labour history Continue reading Fifty years a labour historian: SSLH President Keith Laybourn on half a century at Huddersfield University

Walter Citrine’s dealings with communism and communists

Walter Citrine served as TUC general secretary from the time of the General Strike to the arrival of the post-war Labour Government. Though sometimes seen as a hardline anti-communist, his relationship with communism in the UK and internationally deserves a more nuanced understanding, as his biographer Dr Jim Moher explains Continue reading Walter Citrine’s dealings with communism and communists