The textile industry of 19th-century Lancashire and West Riding was the setting for crucial developments in the history of British industrial relations. It was in these cotton mills and factories that the most effective early trade unions developed.
Throughout the 1800s, Lancashire mill owners exerted innumerable repressive measures upon their employees. However, from the 1870s onwards, the workforce organized itself into increasingly powerful federations to agitate for change. The emerging trade unions soon dominated local culture and industrial relations.
This collection reproduces some of the key records of two of the most important workers' organizations in the cotton industry, the Amalgamated Weavers' Association and the Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives. The first in particular is recognized as one of the most important sources for industrial relations, revealing how workers responded to a period of dramatic change in the industry. Both federations were highly active in negotiating for fair wages and better working conditions, at times competing directly with each other for membership and finance.
These records document in detail the often volatile relationship between capital and labor underpinning the industry which dominated the economy of the north of England for more than a 100 years. As well as enhancing any study of industrial relations, they also yield rich insights into the development of working class politics in general.
Part One: Minutes and Reports of the Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives, 1888-1940
Part Two: Central Committee and General Council Minutes of the Amalgamated Weavers' Association, 1885-1941
Complete Collection: 26 reels