The tide of democracy

Shipyard workers and social relations in Britain, 1870-1950

By Alastair Reid

The tide of democracy


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-8477-9760-5
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: July 2013
  • BIC Category: Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Social History, European history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History, Modern History


This comprehensive study examines British shipbuilding and industrial relations from 1870 to 1950, addressing economic, social and political history to provide an holistic approach to industry, trade-unionism and the early history of the Labour Party.

Examining the impact of new machinery, of independent rank-and-file movements and of craft and trade unions, The Tide of Democracy provides an authoritative account of industrial action in shipyards in the period and their effect on the birth and development of the Labour Party. This volume is clearly presented, elegantly written and suffused with a distinctly human touch which brings the technical material to life. Unique in the combined attention it gives to Scottish and English history, and drawing upon an impressive range of primary sources, this volume will be indispensable for specialist researchers, undergraduates and postgraduate students.


An original and successful blending of labour and political history.


List of figures
List of abbreviations
1. Markets and firms
2. Management and labour
3. Skills and trade unions
4. The impact of machinery: hullbuilders
5. The impact of machinery: outfitters
6. Conclusions to Part I
7. Leadership in the boilermakers' society
8. Robert Knight and industrial democracy
9. John Hill and the the Clyde unrest
10. Conclusions to Part II
11. Liberalism and socialism
12. Robert Knight and the origins of the Labour Party
13. Socialism and liberalism
14. John Hill and an independent Labour Party
15. Conclusions to Part III


Alastair J. Reid is a Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge

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