AbstractThis thesis traces the growth and distribution of agricultural trades unionism in Shropshire and evaluates and explains developments using four key variables. After a discussion of the sources used and a description of union development involving the National Union of Agricultural Workers (NUAW) and Workers' Union (WU ), four chapters measure the relative importance of the variables which guide the whole study. These are the role of the local and national leaderships, the wider labour movement, the Shropshire agrarian economy and the domination of a conservative cultural ideology. It is found that leaderships were moderately important. It is shown that the relative strength of the NUAW village activists accounts for the longevity of that union compared to the rival WU, and that while the personal interest of national leaders in the county strengthened unionism, their inability to compromise led to destructive competition. It is shown that the wider labour movement, although existing in Shropshire, was of little importance to agricultural trades unionism, aside from a fruitful relationship between the NUAW and organised railwaymen. It is also shown that although variations in types of farming were of importance in explaining the overall level of trades unionism, no direct correlation can be established between union strength in particular districts and the complex structure of the Shropshire agrarian economy. However this study demonstrates that the cultural factors behind the dominant conservative ideology were paramount in explaining the overall weakness of trades unionism. They include such elements as the survival of gentry and farmer paternalism, whose ancient loyalties were reinforced by new post war village institutions, and the weakness of alternative nonconformist and socialist ideologies. This meant that the prevailing loyalty for Shropshire farmworkers was to a' local patriotism ' rather than to broader class based systems. This, it is believed, has possible important implications for future comparative research.
CitationMansfield, N. (1997). Agricultural trades unionism in Shropshire 1900-1930. University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/