Chapter 5: “Peaceably, If We Can - Forcibly, If We Must": trades unions, the working class and Chartism in Derbyshire in the struggle for economic and political liberty
1 The Birth of the Charter (1839)
2 Chartism's Second Phase (1840-42)
3 The Final Phase - Decline of Chartism and Growth of Unionism (1843-66)
5 Chapter 5 Notes and References
1 The Birth of the Charter (1839)
GNCTU's collapse caused despair and defeatism amongst many; others, however, realised that the root cause of the failure of 1834 was the absence of political power in the hands of the working people. No more effectively was this highlighted than by the savage sentences of deportation to Australia passed on the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Generally, it seemed that the lessons of the reform movement had underlined the need to carry the political struggle to new levels. An important aspect of this tendency was the campaign to win a free press at a price available to all. One of the local Derby papers, the 'Reporter", cost seven pence, four pence of which was due to Stamp Duty; it was a tax that was aimed quite consciously to restrict the access of working people to the press, for seven pence was a very considerable sum. Skilled workers' wages varied from 20/- to 30/- per week. It was as if a modern newspaper was priced at twenty times the present average cost.
The 'Derby Mercury' considered the reform movement a dangerous phenomenon and thus gave it little notice and no support. Walter Pike, to serve the cause of reform in Derbyshire, with some success, had established the ‘Reporter’ as early as 1823. Circulation of the 'Mercury' was 1,296, and the 'Reporter' 1,086, in 1839. The latter, however, aimed to channel the activities of the movement into a 'safe' direction. Newspapers that challenged the 'stamp' laws by offering their papers as unstamped followed a more radical approach. There was, in particular, the 'Poorman's Guardian' which was supported by the independent working class reform body, the National Union of the Working Classes, (NUWC). The 'Poorman's Guardian' sold well in Derby.
The struggle to repeal the duty lasted years and saw many casualties. Some five hundred sellers and printers alike were imprisoned for selling these unstamped journals. One of these, Henry Robinson, was fined £20 in Derby and, in consequence of his inability to pay (it represented half a year's wages, or several thousands of pounds in today's terms), was imprisoned for six months. In another instance, a national leader of the Chartist reform movement, Julian Harney, speaking at Derby in 1839, complained that three years earlier he had been "dragged from my home without the least notice and consigned to a dungeon by the magistrates of Derby, because I had committed the heinous offence of selling an unstamped newspaper". He was imprisoned for six months because he dared to give "the working classes that untaxed knowledge which they have the right to enjoy". 
Whereas groups of workers in coffee shops and pubs had pooled together to buy one copy of a stamped newspaper, which would be read aloud to groups of listeners, the unstamped papers were cheap, the Pioneer for example sold at one penny per copy. Only as the unstamped radical newspapers began to outsell the legally stamped liberal papers, did the Government cut the duty in recognition of the need to boost the more `moderate' journals. By 1836, the stamp was reduced from four pence to one pence and the battle was more or less won. Nevertheless, at the same time the establishment strengthened and extended its penal powers over the press.
A fresh alliance had emerged between the newly prosperous manufacturing employers and the established ruling class; this alliance hastened to follow up their Reform Act deal of 1832, which had excluded the working people. There was an electorate of less than two thousand people in the borough of Derby in the 1830s.
year number of electors
The latter figure of 1,820 voters represented the 1,375 houses with a rateable value of more than £10 per annum.
The passing of the Poor Law Act in 1834 enormously reduced the levels of public relief granted to the unemployed and poor. The Act abolished outdoor relief (i.e. public benefits which did not require institutional residence) and introduced entry into the unpleasant and undignified workhouses, thus, changing the practices that had prevailed since Elizabethan days. The large scale manufacturers had a vested interest in such a move, for able-bodied domestic workers were now deprived of their last chance of working at their own looms, subsidised by outdoor relief. Thus, they were driven into the new factories that were hungry for labour. The abolition of the parish workhouses and the introduction of the 'union workhouses' (nothing to do with trades unions!) were greeted with much concern amongst the poor. In particular, the requirement to live within the workhouses, which separated children from their parents and husbands from their wives, caused a massive petition of over four thousand signatures in Derby. The 'Poorman's Guardian' wrote of the bill, that it was a "wicked, tyrannous, dishonest and diabolical measure", in its 11th April 1832 issue. The dual lesson of the 1832 political reform movement and the 1834 defeat for trades unionism, revived interest in political action, but with a difference. This time it would be expressed in sharp class terms, via Chartism.
Chartism, so named from the charter of political and democratic reforms that it demanded, gripped the imagination of the workers. However, as Friedrich Engels put it, "Chartism was from the beginning chiefly a movement among the working men, though not yet sharply separated from the bourgeoisie".  Chartism was not a force independent of the Liberals. In the first borough elections in Derby under the new Reform Act, which took place on the 26th December 1835, the Liberals were in the absolute majority. The 1835 General Election saw little uplift in the size of the town's electorate over the first contested election, three years previously. Edward Strutt and the Honourable J G B Ponsoby, both Whig/Liberals, had been elected with 903 and 724 votes respectively over the sole Tory, The Honourable F Curzon, who polled 525 votes. In the county's other seats, a division of influence between Tory and Liberal prevailed. In Northern Derbyshire, The Honourable G H Cavendish and T Gisbourne represented the 4,175 electors unopposed. A similar situation had prevailed when another Cavendish had been elevated to the Peerage, as Earl of Burlington - in a by-election the year before. There was however a contest for the Southern Derbyshire seat in 1835. The two Tories, Sir G Crewe, Bart. and Sir R Gresley (Bart being the abbreviation for Baronet!) beating the two Liberals, the Hon. G J V Vernon and Lord Waterpark, by roughly two and a half thousand votes to just under two thousand. The 1837 election on July 25th in Derby saw the same candidates joined in the contest by Sir C Colville, with the Liberals again taking both seats. But 2,608 had voted compared to 1,478 two years earlier. In Northern Derbyshire a contest took place, with an Arkwright standing for the Tories being easily beaten by Cavendish and his partner. The electorate in this constituency had risen to five and half thousand, compared to only a little over four thousand, three hundred in 1832. Two Tories were returned unopposed in Southern Derbyshire.
The Chartists were not initially an independent political force in the sense of a political party, being rather more of a pressure group; but they rapidly developed as a political force of some substance. As times grew more difficult, the political unions, which had largely grown dormant, revived. The liberal 'middle class' had been satisfied with the Reform Act and the working class had flirted with trades unionism, moving away from being directly involved in politics, but in 1836/37 the alliance that had existed prior to the Act was renewed as Chartism emerged as a major political force.
In 1836, a group of London workers founded the 'Workingmen's Association', which had the goal of an independent working class political expression. A programme, or charter, of six points was adopted:
1 Universal manhood suffrage from 21 years of age
2 Annual parliaments*
3 Secret ballots
4 Equal electoral districts*
5 Salaries for MPs
6 Abolition of the property qualifications for MPs (which, at the time, was ownership of £300 worth of land)
Two aims* have yet to be achieved; parliaments have a life of up to five years and, while the Boundary Commission in theory aims for equal constituencies, an enormous disparity actually exists between the largest and the smallest. Salaries for MPs took slightly more than another seven decades to achieve.) The first big leap forward in the campaign – a further and partial extension of manhood suffrage in 1867 – took three decades to win and was in any case not even complete for another two decades. Extending votes to women was achieved in two stages between the First and Second World Wars. One person, one vote, said by many western liberal democracies in the latter part of the 20th century to be the test of true democracy was not in fact achieved in Britain until as late as 1948 and in the United Kingdom as a whole until 1972, with the abolition of extra business and academic votes. It is salutary to recall that the British ruling elite only permitted the slow and incremental development over a period of what passes for democracy in our country, of 140 years; yet our media and politicians spent and spend a great of energy belabouring countries they disapprove of for their laggardness in introducing democracy!
This 1836 programme became the Charter and it represented the first clear, independent political expression of mass working class opinion. The demands were in the main to be achieved after intense political and economic struggle. In no sense was the democracy that Chartism forced Britain to accept 'handed down on a plate'; it was won by ruthless force, accompanied by intense social conflict. The bedrock of modern British democracy is, without any doubt, far more the experience of Chartism and not the oft-quoted charter of liberty, the 'Magna Charta' (Latin for `Great Charter'), which simply gave the local and rather acquisitive barons a share of the King's power, despite the fact that the Charter emotively recalled its predecessor. Chartism began a process that could bring ordinary people into the Halls of Westminster irrevocably.
Despite the fact that Chartism was deficient in that it did not demand the vote for women, they were strongly involved in Chartist agitation. Moreover, it did not demand a democratic republic, or a single chamber parliament, (or, at least a democratically elected upper chamber) and there were no social or economic aims contained in the Charter, nonetheless it was in itself the greatest progression in the direction of class action in Britain to that date. Many of the activists from the trades union movement in Derby were intimately involved in the burgeoning Chartist movement. In particular, Matthews, the Derby Smith's secretary and a veteran of the NAPL and GNCTU, was one of the provisional committee of thirty that was set up nationally to launch the newspaper, 'The Charter', in September 1838. 
The period 1837 to 1847 was to become known as the 'Hungry Forties', for it was a time of great commercial depression. The consequent mass unemployment affected the ability of trades union to grow. However, the Chartists began to build a massive and effective propaganda movement. Many impressive demonstrations, often held at night, were an effective form of this propaganda, so much so that torchlight meetings were expressly declared illegal. Additionally, laws prohibiting all but local associations were passed, making national structures subject to charges of high treason! The mood of defiance was strong and some openly expressed the demand for the people to take to arms. Skulls were painted in banners and slogans such as "More Pigs, Fewer Priests" and "Fight to the Knife for Child and Wife" were common and reflected the belief that militant political action was necessary to resolve economic problems. 
A huge meeting in Manchester, attracting some 100,000 people resolved to send a national petition to Parliament and this was a task that would occupy the movement for some time. The Chartist Convention, in effect the national conference of the movement, was called for February 1839. The idea of the Convention was rooted in American and French revolutionary experience, as the very choice of name implied. It was composed of delegates from all over the country. John Skevington, a Primitive Methodist preacher, was elected as Derby's representative at the Convention (although he actually lived in Loughborough), along with the twenty-two year old national leader, Julian Harney. Skevington had led the creation of the Loughborough Co-operative Society as early as January 1829. This had 54 members three years later and £400 capital to its name. LCS operated a retail store and co-operatively manufactured lace and hosiery products, so Skevington would have been seen as a key regional figure in the East Midlands. He had represented the area at the week long `Great' London Co-operative Congress of 1832
The other delegate for Derby, Julian Harney, was one of the prime advocates of the "physical force" strategy of the movement that, contrary to the "moral force" notion argued that if the aims of the Charter could not be won peaceably, then revolution or insurrection would be inevitable if the programme were to be achieved. "Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must" became their war cry. Harney represented three provincial towns at the Convention, mainly on the grounds of expense, the costs being pooled. One was Norwich, a prominent centre for radical activity, and the second was Derby, where the "Chartist left-wing was in the ascendant". The other town was Newcastle. The numbers of delegates to the Convention was not only restricted on cost grounds - attending lengthy proceedings far away from home meant losing wages and naturally imbalanced the social composition of the event. There was also the question of legal restrictions on large gatherings.
It is sensible not to get too carried away, as some commentators are wont to do, with the idea that Chartism's two wings were incompatible. All Chartists ultimately and theoretically accepted the possibility of a resort to armed resistance. The division of Chartism into moral and physical force advocates was an artificial observation imposed on the movement by some middle-class elements content to see it split; whilst the authorities were always quick to read into everything the presence of two camps, as a means to divide and discredit Chartism. This artificial division of Chartism into two wings poses moral and physical force as if exclusive of each other, rather than complimentary strategies about which there was necessary debate about finding the right moment. 
A massive and enthusiastic meeting had been held at Chester Green in Derby on the 28th January, to adopt the delegates to the Convention. Harney won loud laughter and support as he compared the aristocracy and bourgeoisie to bed bugs:
"If bugs molest me as in bed I lie,
Shall I desert my bed for them? Not I,
I will arise and every bug destroy,
Now make my bed and all its sweets enjoy." 
The authorities, aware of Harney's reputation, enrolled thirty-nine extra special constables for the occasion but there were no disturbances, for he had mass support an essential point of physical force that the authorities always seemed to miss. Harney took up their charge that he was the spokesman for violence. "Again I say, we are for peace, but we must have justice … we must have our rights speedily; peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must ... 
Against this background, the state had to reassess its armoury of repression and control. In the period of civil unrest associated with the rise of French revolutionism, it developed a new force, the police, to deal with the specifically British variety of radicalism it now had to face. While the police system in London dated from 1829, it was not until 1839 and 1840 that Acts were passed providing for the appointment of the county constabularies which formed the basis of today's police force. Although, in Derbyshire, the parish constable system prevailed, on the grounds of cost savings, until the late 1850s, when the standard county constabulary was finally adopted.
Derbyshire may boast of having the first police strike on record when, very soon after the force was set up, PC No 1, Charles Cotterill, went home and took off his uniform, refusing to do any more duties until he received his full wages. One day's wages had been stopped to pay another officer who had covered for him while he attended the Quarter Sessions at Derby to give evidence. The Watch Committee could not allow this kind of behaviour, which seemed to take a leaf out of Chartism's book, and he was promptly suspended and subsequently dismissed. No doubt the lesson was taken, for Cotterill's act was an isolated one. The authorities would be able to cushion their forces from the effects of working class militancy for a very long time. Indeed, it would be 1919 before the same spirit could be discerned again in the Derbyshire Constabulary. The County's first policeman may well have set the example, but not the pace for those who followed him! 
The civil unrest of 1839 was to climax in an unsuccessful armed rising in Newport, South Wales. On the 3rd November, thousands of miners from the Monmouth valleys marched to seize Newport as part of a plan for a concerted uprising, centred principally on Bradford, Birmingham and South Wales. However, they were surprised by deadly fire from troops sheltered in the Westgate Hotel. Fourteen people were killed and fifty were wounded before the attempt was abandoned. During the course of the next few days, one hundred and twenty five people were arrested and the initiative and co-ordination with other areas was lost. Three men were charged with high treason and sentenced to transportation as leaders of the Newport events. These were John Frost, Zephaniah Williams and William Jones. A great campaign for clemency developed and, as part of this, on December 11th 1844 a meeting was held in Derby under the auspices of the mayor to make an appeal to the Queen. Such militancy was widespread and real, scaring the Belper textile manufacturer, Strutt, to such an extent that he fortified his mills with cannon and had an armed troop of horsemen always ready, throughout the period. 
Early in 1839, the National Chartist Convention began to waver when faced with the turn of the movement towards this militancy. The launching of a massive petition for the six demands was decided upon, but the majority line of the Convention was that, if Parliament refused the petition, then a boycott of rent and tax payments should begin all over the country on the same day. Workers were to withdraw gold savings from banks in exchange for paper money and to refrain from alcoholic drinks (which were taxed). The left wing argued in vain against such irrelevancies on the grounds that only one weapon could be effective - a general strike, with political demands. After all, almost no workers had deposits in banks and simply failing to drink beer would not bring the Government down!
The physical force minority at the Convention posed a strategy of a general strike, accompanied where possible by defensive armed action. Minority they may have been at the Convention, but amongst the working class at large there was significant and substantial support. The Convention adjourned to agitate in the country, but the authorities moved swiftly - meetings were forbidden under force of arms and arrests were made. Birmingham was subject to marital law and the city was in the hands of the people for three days. Despite all this provocation, the Convention majority waited for the response of Parliament to the one and half million-signature petition, instead of trying to take the initiative. When the petition was, predictably, rejected by 235 votes to 46, the Chartist movement somewhat floundered and a discernible, but temporary, demoralisation set in.
The Convention did not believe that a general strike was feasible in that the masses were not yet prepared. However, when, twenty five thousand miners in the North East of England led the way with a political strike, the Convention was encouraged to recommend a general strike for the 12th August. The response was varied, in some areas the strike was very effective and, in others, it was sadly ignored. Realistically, of course, the Convention was not in a position to confidently call a general strike; no organised movement existed to co-ordinate such action, which could only have come about spontaneously, if at all. A demonstrative strike of two or three days was declared, but it was not a great success and the Convention dissolved itself in September, amid intensified Government attacks.
The experience was not to the taste of the "moral force" leaders of the movement. Chartism was a tremendously varied force: as well as industrial and agricultural workers there were home workers, artisans, petty manufacturing classes, small scale farm owners, Irish nationalists and free traders amongst its ranks. Sections of the small and middle scale manufacturing classes were drawn into the movement as a way of abolishing the Corn Laws that imposed high tariffs on imported wheat. The Anti-Corn Law League (ACLL) was founded in 1839 and focused the attention of the middle class radicals on the philosophy of free trade; Manchester capitalism, in particular, was the spearhead of the ACLL campaign. The Chartists, however, were actually divided on the issue of the ACLL. Some thought free trade useful, but universal suffrage was more important because it could bring that about. Some others, like the "physical force" leader, O'Brien, favoured protection because it meant that domestic wages were not beaten down in the name of competition with foreign imports. Most, however, were opposed to the diversionary activities of the League, believing the vote to be much more important that the fortunes of trade. The ACLL stepped into the public eye in the temporary pause of activity after the collapse of the first stage of Chartism following the Newport rebellion. It was a well-founded, well-organised body. A League had been established in Derby in February 1839; it concentrated on stage-managed large-scale public lectures and was, throughout, strongly influenced by Manchester free traders.
Elsewhere in the county, perhaps slightly influenced by the boldness of Chartism, the BelperACLL engaged in large-scale publicity activities in May 1841. Petitions against the Corn Laws were placed at some of the chapels on Sunday, but not at Wesleyan chapels. As we have seen, in the account on the 1833-1834 Turnout, church authorities generally supported the established order. The Wesleyans had resolved in 1839 that any Methodist linked with the Chartists should be expelled. In consequence the Primitive Methodists, who held tolerant views on politics, but firm views on religion, more than doubled their following during this period. The action of the Glossop Primitive Methodists in holding a Chartist meeting (with Richard Oastler as main speaker) at their premises was by no means untypical.
During the course of this aforementioned BelperACLL activity, in May 1841 three loaves were exhibited in the market on Saturday - an English one, an “American” one and a “French” one. Priced the same, the sizes varied according to the cost of wheat; naturally, the English loaf was tiny in comparison to the others. The ACLL in Belper was strong, with much liberal bourgeois support, both financially and organisationally. John Strutt gave £20 to help in the formation of the local committee which produced petitions to Parliament appealing for the provision of "cheap bread, cheap sugar, cheap coffee, good trade and better wages", by revising the tariff on import duties. Needless to say, the petition won widespread support for its demands and for low prices and high wages, if not for the somewhat complex issue of tariff reform. 
The real attitude of the employers towards the misery of the unemployed workers was unwittingly described in 'The Times', of all places, on 14th December 1841: "The Millowners, or, as they have been not ineptly designated, the millocrats, of the Midland counties assembled on Thursday last at Derby, in what is called by them a "Great Conference", for the purpose of clubbing their information respecting the influencing of the Corn Laws upon their manufactures, and after a morning consumed in detailing the suffering of the unemployed artisans these gentlemen proceeded to celebrate the public distress which had brought them together in an excellent dinner, provided by the landlord of the Royal Hotel." 
In Chesterfield, the ACLL was fairly inactive. John Murray of Liverpool spoke to an open-air meeting on Thursday, 16th June 1842, to an audience of two hundred. The Derby Mercury claimed that the subject had "excited little interest in Chesterfield".  So the ACLL and the Chartists remained distant from each other, at least in Derbyshire. By this time the ACLL seemed to many to be adopting a distinctly radical tone. By stages, formal unity was established between the Liberals and sections of the Chartist movement. As Engels colourfully viewed it, "The working-men were to take the chestnuts from the fire, to save the bourgeoisie from burning their own fingers".  Not long after the Corn Laws were repealed the Derby ACLL was dissolved, on the 7th July 1846. No longer was there any diversion from the central aim of Chartism - political liberty. But, so much had happened in the meantime and it was too late to save the movement from the course it would embark upon.
2 Chartism's Second Phase (1840-42)
Chartism entered a second phase after Newport. In January 1840 there was much economic distress among the stockingers, silk weavers and others in Derby. Public subscriptions were organised to relieve the problems of the unemployed and destitute poor in the town. The wealthy and philanthropic were not the only ones who contributed. Workers organisations like the Brushmakers and others made donations. When the fund closed on 6th May, over £1,500 had been raised and relief provided to:
men women children
2,710 2,589 5,793 
The economic crisis and the experience of 1839 combined to produce a new view of the strategy Chartism ought adopt over the next few years. Many thought that there had been a willingness to take action, but that the absence of a national leadership able and willing to direct and gauge the mood of the rank and the file had been a decisive factor in the defeat of the first phase of Chartism. A more centralisedorganisation was thus absolutely necessary and the National Charter Association (NCA) was set up at a delegate conference in Manchester in July 1840. The NCA proved to be overly bureaucratic in character and unable to enact it decisions on the ground. Nonetheless, its foundation was of considerable import. This was, in reality, the very first 'labour party' anywhere in the world. Within two years the NCA had 40,000 members and very many were working class trades unionists. However, there were many trades unionists who were not Chartists, and vice versa. A survey of the occupations of the prominent Chartists (based on an analysis of nominations to the General Council listed in the Northern Star) shows that the candidates were overwhelmingly working class and that textile workers were predominant: weavers 130; shoe makers 97; tailors 58; frame knitters 33; others 535 (includes a very wide variety in ones twos and threes).
An important new feature of the NCA was the creation of Chartists' Clubs of workers in particular trades that complemented the existing concept of locality clubs or branches. The first clear sign of the activities of the NCA in Derbyshire was the holding of public meetings in early 1841. In March a "Requisition from the Chartists for the use of the Town Hall"  was sent to Francis Jessop, the Lord Mayor. It was, in essence, a petition to ask "...her majesty the Queen (Victoria) to grant a free pardon to Feargus O'Connor Esq., and all other political prisoners". O'Connor, the prime advocate of the physical force policy, had been sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment at York Castle for seditious libel in the aftermath of despair arising out of the first phase of Chartism. His release was seen by some as essential to providing the NCA with backbone. 54 local people, including many prominent liberal elements, signed the Derby petition to the Lord Mayor. It appears that the mayor convened a Town's Meeting on Thursday 11th March at 12 noon to discuss the whole affair, "at which the Chartists attended in great numbers and carried an adjournment to seven-o-clock this evening". No doubt to ensure an even bigger turnout of working people, by virtue of it being after most had finished work. However, no sooner had the meeting finished than Mayor Jessop wrote, at 2.00 p.m., to the military in Nottingham, sending the message with his own son, "it is possible that a row may be the consequence" of the developing Chartist agitation, Jessop wrote, asking the Officer in Command to send some of his men across.
Some ten days later, on Saturday 20th March 1841, the Town's magistrate held a secret meeting to consider the impact of a handbill, then circulating the town, announcing that a 'sermon' would be preached in the Market Place on the Sunday, at 10.30 am "by Mr Bairstow in reference to the death of Mr Clayton". John Clayton was a Chartist leader who had died of ill-health in the harsh conditions of Nottingham goal while serving a sentence for offences arising out of his membership of the movement. As for "Mr Bairstow", this is likely to be Jonathan Bairstow, a wool-comber from Queenshead, near Bradford, who was deeply involved in the preparations for armed struggle in Dewsbury and elsewhere in Yorkshire in 1839. Religious style meetings were a frequent Chartist tactic, used to avoid the bans on political gatherings. In 1842 a magistrate at Alfreton was driven to ask the Home Office for guidance on dealing with these events which went under the guise of religious meetings.
As for the Derby magistrates, faced with Bairstow's challenge that March in 1841, they met "to determine upon the measures to be adopted in consequence thereof for the preservation of peace". Sensing the mood of the populace, it was their opinion that it would be "imprudent" to attempt any interference by trying to prevent the meeting taking place. However, "every provision within the power of the magistrates as regards the civil power should be made to suppress outrage and preserve the peace". Thompson, the superintendent of the police, was asked to have all the permanent police force of the town ready, and "such a number of the special constables as he may deem necessary". The Mayor went to see Captains Dixon and Campbell of the Nottingham military, for the assistance of forces under their respective commands. He also paid a visit to Captain Storey of the Derby and Chaddesden troop of cavalry.
About four hundred men and women assembled in the Market Place the next morning. A secret informer named Sheppard was amongst them. In his report to Thompson, the police superintendent, he wrote that the meeting gathered, "just when all the public houses are closed for Divine Service." In contrast to this secret aside, implying atheism, Bairstow made a long and religiously inclined sermon, threading into his oration a political message. He prayed for "the assistance of the Almighty in bringing about the adoption of the principles of Chartism and the removal of all tyrants and persecutors of Chartists". God was called upon to "bear witness to the sufferings and deprivations of the poor". Making a lengthy reference to Christ's role as an opponent of the moneychangers in the temple, Bairstow described Him as "a great reformer in religion and that in consequence of his being so, he met with great persecution". The priests of Christ's day had become so "corrupt and so debased that they lost sight of all the best practices of their religion, looking only to profit, persecuting the poor". The parallel with things as they were then was obvious and Bairstow underlined it, pointing out that Christ was "himself poor...and advocated equality in all things". In an allegorical reference to a new Chartist hymn, which began: "The lion of freedom comes from his den", Bairstow declared that "the lion of popular opinion already gnashed its teeth and whisked its tail, and unless these concessions were made in time, its rage could not much longer be enchained".
A collection was taken for the widow of the Chartist martyr, Clayton, bringing in £115s 8 1/4s. The farthing (or one quarter of a penny) being put in by a widow, "it being all she had", reported the spy, Sheppard. He was not on his own at the meeting, another informer, one Joseph Wright, was there. His report was in a similar vein, although he rather unsuccessfully tried to emphasise the bloodthirsty nature of the sermon.
Derby had become a major centre of Chartism, perhaps not in the same league as other more infamous - or is it better studied? - locations. Understandably, the movement spread from the town to other villages and towns nearby. The Mercury was distressed to record that Burton-on-Trent had begun to adopt the wayward habits of Derby's radicalism. "It is with great regret that we have to announce that the hitherto quiet and peaceable town of Burton has at length been annoyed by a lecture from a Chartist demagogue". Two men from Derby had attracted an audience of 150 to an open-air meeting on the Charter. The paper was inordinately perplexed as to how this state of affairs could have arisen. Its style of simplistic Toryism enabled it to conclude with ease, in an editorial, that the rise of Chartism could be simply attributed to the Whig-radicals who held a "deep responsibility ... (for the) ... revolutionary dogmas of the Charter". The unsettled climate was by no means restricted to Derby; popular opposition to the gradual implementation of the 1834 Poor Law erupted in Belper in October 1841, when the workhouse was damaged by fire in suspicious circumstances. The large crowd that gathered to look at the blaze not only refused to assist in putting out the flames, but also threatened those who did. 
Formal membership of the NCA now began to grow quite rapidly in Derbyshire. Some 370 NCA cards were taken out in Derby and 290 in Belper between March 1841 and October 1842. (18) There was also a growing membership in the north of the county, in the Glossop and New Mills NCA branches, though naturally these tended to be linked to Manchester Chartism. Derby and Nottingham had 25 `localities' of the NCA between them and, even though the latter city was a stronghold of Chartism, clearly a significant number of branches had taken root in Derbyshire itself. (19) No doubt, there was some satisfaction at this growth in the face of repression.
The establishment, of course, saw all this rather differently. Somewhat complacently, local dignitaries attempted to gloss over the growth, making the mistake of judging active NCA membership against the size of the overall working class element in the community. The Mayor of Derby wrote to the Marquis of Normanby, then the Home Secretary, in May, that "the number of Chartists here is not great, not exceeding perhaps 100 in the whole". (20) Nonetheless, he was agitated enough to refer to the Chartists' activities, on behalf of the local magistrates, to Normanby, asking for his instruction. The government responded one month later, when a civil servant wrote back on behalf of the Marquis, concerning the "Sunday morning discourses of J B H Bairstow". The Home Secretary's advice was that "as yet it would not be proper...to interfere with the holding of these meetings". The point being made was that the time was not yet ripe for outright repression, but that the government aimed to be in a position to act when necessary. The Mayor was instructed to "keep a watch" on the situation and to "obtain evidence against individuals of seditious language", continuing in the meantime to report to Normanby. Government interest in Bairstow can be assumed to have been strong, since for example he spent some time lecturing in the Black Country in April 1842, having particular success in Wolverhampton.
The boldness associated with the growth of Chartism enabled some activists to begin flirting with an increasingly inquisitive and critical social view. The new philosophy of socialism, strongly influenced by French radicalism, German philosophy and British Co-operativism and working-class agitation, began to get an airing locally. In late May, a Mr Brindley began to lecture on what the local press saw as the "enormities of socialism...to large audiences and with great success". (22) A couple of weeks later, a debate between J Brindley and a Mr Lloyd Jones took place at the local theatre on the merits and demerits of socialism. The Mercury was furious that the town had been "visited during the past week with that worst of moral pestilences mis-named SOCIALISM", going on to virulently abuse Robert Owen, the Utopian socialist. (23)
The paper had been unable to contain itself throughout the visit; "Our town has been most shamefully disgraced by the blasphemous bills that are still going on its walls, proclaiming the socialist defiance of all that is virtuous and holy". (24) No wonder that the local notables were over-enthusiastic at the prospect of obtaining the fullest possible details of the activities of the Chartists - with a view to using it as evidence against them!
A report on the language used by a Mr Martin was filed early in June 1842. Released from Northampton jail only seven weeks previously, he had been on a speaking tour, addressing some 60 public meetings by the time he got to Derby. Martin's radicalism had not been blunted by his experience. Speaking of the Tories and the Liberals, he revealed himself "no more friendly to the one than the other, both parties are rogues". Poor Law commissioners were receiving £70,000 a year "for their trouble" and the proposal to reduce the cost to £50,000 had been opposed by the "Liberal Whiggs". Martin told the crowd that the reduction would have been "not one farthing too much". At the same time Parliament had voted "£100,000 a year for the wife of William IV, for Prince Albert £50,000 a year, while an extra £16,000 had been allocated for the education of Victoria". These were the "acts of the bloody, tyrannical, imbecile, scoundrels - the Wigges".
Referring to the Corn Laws, Martin believed that a "fixed duty on corn would not give cheap bread". He identified the root cause of the problems of the poor as being the fact that "manufacturers say: - `huge profit for s and low wages'". It was for comments such as this, which might be determined as seditious, that the civic authorities decided to keep full reports of the "language used by Chartists", recorded by their agents and kept by the superintendent of police.
The Chartist who most concerned the authorities was Bairstow, who railed at the editor of a "certain paper" (i.e. the Mercury), which perpetrated - Bairstow thought - the "most infamous falsehoods ever published". Bairstow kept up a barrage of abuse against the press at his meetings. While it must be clear that the informers' brief was to record inflammatory language, it must be noted that Bairstow's tone and intent, as recorded by them, becomes increasingly more violent. A much sharper sense of the role of the State in containing Chartism emerges. On the 14th June he talks of dungeons and death:" ...while I can breathe the sweet air...I am the unflinching advocate of the people". He calls the police "Blue Bottles" - in an extremely derogatory tone - and declares that the working man had "no occasion (i.e.. need) for a standing army". Government interest in Bairstow can be assumed to have been strong, since he had long been a roving agitator. He had spent some time in the Black Country in April 1842, having particular success in Wolverhampton. Moreover, he called upon himself particular attention as a target after being elected to the five man executive of the NCA in June 1842.
The Chartists' local organisation was based at a house in Devonshire Street, where they met as a club and ale was available. The club was called the "Northern Star", after O'Connell's journal. Each Sunday morning, open-air lectures now ended with an invitation to listen to the "true principles of Chartism " at Devonshire Street, where members met every Sunday and Monday evening. Admission to the Chartist branch was two old pence, inclusive of a membership card, and one penny per week thereafter. Although, at times, speakers were apt to say "join the Chartists, if you have no money, come without, we will take you in".
By July 1841, there were regularly in excess of five hundred in attendance at the Market Place meetings, where a Mr Farnsworth took the chair and Bairstow the main speaker. A deep split with the Liberals was revealed on the 18th July, when Bairstow made a vitriolic attack on the "Derby Reporter", which he dubbed the "Derby Rag". The paper had sneered at Bairstow for standing in an election at Nottingham and, it was claimed, letting the Tory win in consequence. Bairstow defended himself by reasoning that the Liberals were "treacherous", for they promised one thing and did another. At least you knew where you were with a Tory. They were "highwaymen", whose motto was "your money or your life". The Whig-Liberals were "snakes in the grass", with "liberty and freedom on their lips but treachery in their hearts". Police informer reveal in their contemporary reports that Derby Chartists debated sophisticated electoral tactics. Where a Chartist candidate could be fielded, support from the Whig-Liberals would be sought. Where Tory support was elicited, it was a device to frighten the Liberals into closer working relations. There was little love lost for the Whigs, since locally they were principally manufacturing capitalists.
Chartist influence grew strongly in Derby as the effects of a recession hit hard. Bairstow expressed himself "very sorry to find Derby people in such a distressed state, the stockingers and glovers I found on average cannot earn more than from 10 to 11 shillings per week by working 14 or 15 hours per day". Such starvation wages were paid while the Duke of Devonshire, a prominent local Liberal, got £300,000 a year.
A national leader, Peter Murray MacDouall, a young Ramsbottom, Ashton-under-Lyme, doctor, gave a lecture in Derby's Mechanics Hall on 16th September. (The spy's notes call him `MacDowell', but this was obviously the editor of "The Chartist and Republican Journal", who toured much of the Midlands and the North of England at this time. MacDouall was militant in political strategy and was the strongest advocate of linking Chartism with trades unionism. Born in Wigtownshire in 1815, he was lost at sea whilst emigrating to Australia in 1854.) This appearance in Derby was the start of a series of lectures over three days. MacDouall called upon the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy to set an example to the lower classes by moderating their life styles. In particular, he suggested that the Queen might give up half a million pounds of her "salary" annually, to relieve the poor. At the close of his speech, a Mr Knightley got up and spoke, giving us an insight into debates within the Chartist camp. Taunted by the references to the Queen, Knightley said that, as a socialist, he "was not got up to find fault with the lecturer, Mr MacDouall, only that he did not go far enough for his part. He could see that the time was fast approaching when we should dispense with both Kings and Queens, for there would soon be none. The rich have gone on in their luxuries and extravagances until it cannot be borne, while the poor are starving to death". Knightley thereupon challenged MacDouall to a debate - "Socialism versus Chartism". Socialist views were beginning to be more and more freely posed. "A female in the body of the hall" spoke at a public meeting called by Francis Jessop, the Mayor, and Strutt, the MP, shortly after the Knightly/MacDouall exchange. She spoke in the name of socialism and caused the Mercury to describe her speech as containing "the usual sophistries (i.e. false reasoning) and misrepresentations deepened by a touch or two of Chartism which would have become the most revolutionary demagogue". (25)
The Chartists had increasingly become bolder. In January 1842, a public meeting held to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Wales, at which the "principal gentry of the county" were assembled, was disrupted by some two hundred Chartists who aimed, the Mercury claimed, to propose a resolution at the gathering in support of the Charter. (26) Throughout early 1842, a series of ambitious meetings were held by the Derby Chartists. Feargus O'Connor visited Derby on Tuesday 22nd February. "A carriage drawn by four greys, preceded by a band of music and green flags (the `party' colour of the Chartists) and a procession, amounting to near 1000 persons, met him at the railway station at half past three". O'Connor spoke at a meeting at the theatre in the evening and again at packed meetings on the 19th May and 16th June. (27) (O'Connor [1796-1857] was of an Irish republican background and founded the "Northern Star", he is credited with keeping Chartism intact following the state's assault after the 1842 mass strike.)
These campaigning meetings were used to great effect to spread Chartism amongst specific groups of workers and particular areas in and around Derby. For example, the historic discontent of the framework knitters was much expressed in the activities of Chartism.Ilkeston Chartists marched to hear O'Connor locally, three days after his first Derby meeting. The growth of the movement seemed to parallel the stark conditions experienced by the ordinary people. By March, almost one and a half million paupers were officially registered as a serious crisis gripped Britain after the poor harvest of the previous year.
The Royal Commission on the Employment of Children and Young Persons made a systematic study of child labour in the mines in 1842. The Commission considered the details of conditions in the Alfreton district, where fourteen to sixteen hours a day were worked and the mines were inadequately drained and ventilated. Young boys were used as pit ponies, pulling the coal-tubs o all fours, the tubs were dragged by iron chains attached to dog collars around their necks. The harsh metal naturally tore at their bare flesh. One boy testified that often, having worked all night, he was forced to work all through the next day. 
The Chartists believed allowing workers access to the political system could only relieve the distress. To that end they determined to prove massive support for that view. In a gesture towards old style tactics, not always favoured by every section of the movement, a monster petition of Parliament was planned for 1842. The collection of signatures was systematic; towns were divided into districts. Derby obtained 3,700 signatures to the petition, while Glossop went better by reaching 5,600.  Harassment of signature collectors took place; one John West was arrested in Derby on a charge of sedition, but was acquitted at his trial before Baron Alderson. This was possibly the Macclesfield John West, a physical force Chartist. On another occasion West was denied the chance to speak in Derby, the magistrate, J Strutt, being fetched out of church on one Sunday to enforce a ban.
Three and a half million signatures were won nationally and sixteen men were needed to carry the petition to Parliament. The petition pointed out that of twenty six million people in Britain, only 900,000 were permitted to vote. While the Queen received £16417s0d daily for her private use, "many thousands of the families of the labourers are only in receipt of 3 3/4d per head, per day". Naturally, the petition was thrown out, one MP commenting that universal suffrage "would be fatal to all purposes for which Government exists". Moreover, and more to the point, that "civilisation rests on the security of property".  The rejection of the petition threw the Chartists into confusion - the Convention hesitated - but a spontaneous response emerged from the working class. The economic depression and this rejection coincided to produce a storm of protest. The Chartist leadership did not have the organisation or the sense of strategy, let alone the will to co-ordinate or direct the strike movement that spread across the North of England, starting in Manchester. A strike without clear demands began. The Chartists tried to take advantage of the mood by sending into some areas key figures that would try to lead the spontaneous action.
A report on the language used by a Mr Martin was filed early in June 1842. Released from Northampton jail only several weeks previously, he had been on a speaking tour, addressing some 60 public meetings by the time he had got to Derby. Martin’s radicalism had not been blunted by his experience. Speaking of the Tories and the Liberals, he revealed himself “no more friendly to the one than the other, both parties are rogues”. Poor Law commissioners were receiving £70,000 a year “for their troubles” and the proposal to reduce the cots to £50,000 had been opposed by the “Liberal Whiggs”. Martin told the crowd that the reduction would have been “not one farthing too much”. At the same time, Parliament had voted “£100,000 a year for the wife of William IV, for Prince Albert £50,000 a year”, whilst an extra £16,000 had been allocated for the “education of Victoria”. These were the “acts of the bloody tyrannical, imbecile, scoundrels – the Wigges”. Referring to the Corn Laws, Martin believed that an “axed duty on corn would not give cheap bread”. He identified the root cause of the problems as the poor as being the fact that “manufacturers say: `huge profits and low wages’”. It was for comments such as these, which might be determined as seditious, that the authorities decided to keep full reports of the “language used by Chartists”, recorded by their agents and kept by the superintendent of police.
The strike took particular effect in the mining districts of northeast Derbyshire and in the textile regions as well. Aiding the process in the latter, a large number of factory hands from Manchester visited Derby on Monday 15th August. The next day, John West spoke at a meeting in the town centre. Four hundred men marched into Derby from Duffield, calling unemployed framework knitters to join them in support as they passed. Some two thousand workers assembled that night to listen to speeches from a wagon situated in the centre of the Market Place, part of the 2nd Dragoon Guards were drafted in from Nottingham.  The excitement continued and by Thursday a crowd of a couple of thousand assembled to hear speeches from West. A resolution that "all the Chartist operatives of the town should leave off work and combine in a general strike", to take effect from the following Saturday evening, was put and enthusiastically carried. It was 1833 all over again, the spirit of the Turnout was once again present in the town, but with the added element of a certain political sophistication. A meeting was arranged at the start of the strike at eight o'clock on Monday morning on Holbrook Moor.
The authorities responded with alacrity, there was only one way to stop the strike, to use armed might from the start. The Radbourne Yeomanry Cavalry, the Derby Hussars, the 2nd Dragoon Guards and the Derbyshire Militia all turned out in an impressive display of military power to prevent the assembly. As the striking workers arrived most were turned away, forced home by the military. However, by one o'clock there was still a sizeable body of some 600, mostly colliers, which managed to come together into one group. The troops charged and, physically dispersing the crowd, arrested some strikers. Such a display of brute force, in the absence of a clear body of leadership, ensured the collapse of the strike in Derby. By the following day, having made their protest, most resumed work as normal. It was the most violent strike Derby would ever experience.
At Buxton, about 400 colliers and lime-burners turned out, while as many as 7,000 turned up at the New Mills, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, to lead out the operatives on strike. The crowd grew as it moved to Walsh's print works at Furniss, then Wright and Hodgson's Cotton Mills and the Peak Forest Canal Company's lime quarry, both at Bugsworth. At each point, men and women turned out to join the gathering. Others followed - the paper works at Whitehall, Bridgeham Green Mills, Kirk's Iron Works, both Blackhole and Devonholes limestone quarries and many others. It was the most effective stoppage in the county and was obviously influenced by the big Manchester turnout. 
The strike wave especially affected the mining districts of the county. Moves had already been made to establish some sort of union in the previous year, when men employed by Stephenson and Company at Clay Cross turned out for an increase in wages. Seven of the leaders had been committed to Derby gaol for not giving the proper notice when leaving employment and, in consequence, the strike had fizzled out.  That it should prove easy to stimulate industrial action amongst the miners in 1842 should by no means prove a surprise. Conditions of work and wages were appalling. Women were not then generally restricted only to employment on the surface in the loading and transportation of tubs of coal. The employment of women at the face, with all that meant in terms of "peculiarity of dress" (or, to be more accurate, "undress"!) and "all sense of decency" offended the prudish sexual mores of the time. 
Yet the employment of small children was not frowned upon. A sense of humanity for the weak had nothing to do with the outrage of the philanthropists who introduced laws controlling labour in the mines. The `middle-class' worried about coal-black, bare breasts and animal practices in the dark! Only as the contradiction embarrassingly revealed itself did some genuine compassion emerge. Life was harsh for the children. Samuel Richards, a forty-year-old collier employed at Ainsworth Colliery in Derbyshire, reported to a Royal Commission that the only reward for little lads was the stick. He had only recently seen a nine-year-old boy beaten by a butty (a small scale sub-contractor, employing labour for the mine owners) until he had wetted his breeches. Richards had seen boys beaten until they were black and blue. "Their parents dare not complain," he told the Commission, "for they would be out of a job."  The Commission noted that the food eaten was "poor in quality, and insufficient in quantity". There was no money for clothes, "children were covered with rags" which "kept them at home on Sunday... (for) they have no clothes to go (out) in".
There was no provision for education for the children. In Derbyshire, where there were few `free' or `national' schools, those that did exist were dreadful. In Kniveton, one master in the 1840s was described as being "utterly incompetent and unfit in every sense of the word for his post. The school in its present state is a positive injury to the parish".  Amazingly, colliers children were formally excluded by the rules of free or national schools. Thus, the ratio of children working in the mines was very high. Compared to every 100 male adults employed in the county's pits, there were 400 children, 167 of them under thirteen years of age. The youngest were employed as `trappers', sitting all day in the dark pulling a string on the doors to ventilate the shafts. Others were `pushers' and `fillers' of coal tubs. The Derbyshire coalfield was considered to have the worst attitude to child labour. As much as a sixteen hour day could be worked, compared to the `leniency of twelve hours in other areas. Those who suffered most were the children from the workhouses, for they had absolutely no alternative. Failure to work in the mines would mean automatic imprisonment. The owners seemed heedless, for the thin winding seams of eighteen inches lent themselves to the use of small children. Infants of eight years of age were given the enormous responsibility of letting down and drawing up the miners. Accidents and death were common, for human life had a low priority.
The 1842 Commission reported that in Derbyshire and other northern counties "each generation of this class of the population is commonly extinct soon after fifty".  A fifty-nine year old miner, Wheatley Straw, gave an account of his half a century in the mines to the Commission. He had first worked as a trapper, earning 10d for a thirteen-hour day. At ten years old he drew empty coal tubs for a shilling a day, graduating to loaded wagons for double that amount. As a loader he got 3s6d a day. "The last 30 years he had been butty", the Commission recorded.  A Commissioner, reporting on the physical state of the children in Derbyshire, noted that the men developed a premature look around the age of forty, after such a life as that, unless they were loaders who looked old at the age of twenty-eight or thirty! He put this down to "the hardness of labour in having such great weights to lift, and breathing a worse atmosphere than any other in the pit". 
Against this background, Arthur O'Neill (left), a Scottish Chartist based in Birmingham, had no problem in winning the Clay Cross miners to support the strike; colliers at Tupton came out first, for a day or two. On Wednesday the 24th two hundred stockingers assisted by crossing the border from Sutton in Ashfield into Heath, Bolsover and Glapwell, trying to get the strike going there. Bands of up to a hundred strikers roamed around Alfreton and South Wingfield. O’Neill revisited the Clay Cross collieries during this week and again turned out the men in one body. Even the historically `moderate' coalfield of South Derbyshire was seriously affected. The dispute was "mixed up altogether with a rise in wages and the People's Charter, as it was called, and beer", according to the sarcastic analysis of one witness to the Royal Commission on Trades Unions a quarter of a century later in 1862.
Meanwhile, hundreds of special constables were enrolled to fill the gap caused by the return of the militia to barracks:
Bakewell 700 (taking the total here to 2,000)
New Mills 260
The strike wave had involved some half a million workers over that summer of 1842; it had been a momentous occurrence. Some 1,500 were arrested throughout the North. This repression combined with the hunger that gave rise to much of the protest in the first place and the lack of organisation and aims that characterised the strike wave to ensure the fading away of the moment. But the sense of struggle was still there. On Wednesday 1st September an attack was made on Cooper's mill by a large crowd, which succeeded in driving out all the hands from the workplace, while a protest took place as some workers started back in Glossop. A similar attempt at Shepley's mill was thwarted by a large group of special constables, only to draw the attention of hundreds of aggrieved operatives as Shepley turned his shotgun on the crowd. Four men were seriously wounded and only the arrival of the Dragoons and a company from the 58th Regiment ended the inevitable disturbances that followed. Mr Shepley was not, it seems, arrested.
Henry Vincent, a skilled print worker by trade and a founder member of the London Workingmen's Association, was billed to speak in Derby on Thursday 1st September at the theatre. But the proprietor, threatened with a fine of £100 if he allowed the meeting, left the theatre closed up. One hundred and fifty people eventually managed to crowd into a meeting room, to no avail. Yet, despite a public insistence that no attempt had been made to curtail free speech, the town's elders were clearly embarrassed by their handling of the affair. 
The repression only served to underline an overall despondency with the failure of the strike movement. By the end of 1842, Chartism's fortunes began to wane as no real profound result was to be seen for the agitation. Rural workers, however, faced with serious problems and an absence of trade organisation resorted to an old form of defensive action - to set fire to the masters' hayricks. A wave of activity spread across the countryside, mostly in the eastern counties. A steady erosion of farm workers' earnings was at the root of the discontent:
Year Estimated General Wage
In the absence of an organisedlabour movement in the countryside, the rural workers' favourite method of "social warfare" was incendiarism.  In towns, however, even though some workplaces faced similar pressures the existence of open collective organisations aided confidence. A revival in trade between 1843 and 1846 eased the circumstances of working people, although the framework knitters gained little from the generally improved conditions. A general meeting of the trade was held in Derby on Monday 7th August 1843, which resolved that a delegate meeting of the county be held the following week to consider "the best means to stop the infringements that are being made by some of the manufacturers".  In particular, the silk stocking makers had been suffering considerable distress and a massive petition of 25,000 signatures was presented to Parliament, calling for action. The delegate meeting resolved to form a union in each district to which men in wok would pay one penny a week and women and youths half a penny. Framework knitters were getting six shillings and sixpence for 72 hours work in Derby in 1845, so the contribution levels were fairly comparable to today's situation.
The problems dragged on, unsolved, into 1844 and 1845, but in most industries relative peace reigned and activists had to reappraise the movement's strategy. From early in 1843, Chartism became a "purely working-man's cause", as the radical direction the movement was taking forced the Liberal and middle-class element to veer off in a different direction.  In 1843, a series of evening debates were announced in Derby, between Mr R Cooper, as the advocate for socialism, and Mr W A Pallister, as its opponent. Mr Vincent Heaford of Ockbrook acted as Chairman for the Socialists. Cooper identified the new balance of forces in the movement, remarking "on the progress which Socialism has been making in the town of Derby".  As Chartism declined as a mass force it still left large numbers of thinking activists concerned that the mini-boom had not really altered anything at all. For the employers, while 1842 had technically been a defeat for the working class movement, the establishment was sufficiently worried to introduce the pacifying Ten Hour Day Act, which limited hours of work in certain instances.
3.The Final Phase - Decline of Chartism and the Growth of Unionism (1843-60)
A third and final stage of Chartism began in 1844 as the movement developed in two ways. Firstly, it became more associated with the world of work and interest in unionism began to flourish as Chartism floundered. Secondly, O'Connor started to adopt a rather strange notion of a national land plan, which was popular but something of a blind alley. His idea was to establish estates of independent smallholders, who would be self-employed and self-sufficient.
As their negotiating position improved with an economic upturn, the working class at large turned their attention consciously to trades unionism. Politics as such had not been a total success. Moreover, the memory of the potential of 1842 was still very much alive. In October 1843, colliers at Clay Cross wrote to the Northern Star, asking for details of the Miners' Association, which had been founded two years earlier in the North of England and Yorkshire. Few joined at first and by January there were only 169 members in both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Aiming to rectify this position, an organiser was sent to Chesterfield, where he rapidly made success in recruiting the men.  The visit of two Miners' Association delegates was reported in the local paper, which thought the men had "little grounds of complaint", but then it was always a thoroughly partisan journal.  The agitation brought positive results, for by March as many as 3,265 members were reported to have been enrolled, out of about four thousand colliers.  Clearly, however, a firm organisation had to be created.
The men had no revolutionary demands, but to achieve their aims a union was absolutely necessary. The owners decided to act ruthlessly, to nip this development in the bud, by simply refusing to employ union men. "The masters are resolved not to employ colliers who belong to the union, and this is the great cause of the contention", reported the local paper early in April, as several collieries ceased work. A group of some eighty strikers from Alfreton visited Derby on Monday 8th April, "preceded by a band of music". They met at the Derby Market Place to listen to speeches. Several hundred passers-by stopped and contributed to the miners' relief fund, evidencing the popular support that existed. Thomas Vernon, a miner, explained that all they wanted was "a fair day's work for a fair day's pay". Fifteen years earlier, colliers at the Butterley Mines were earning between fifteen shillings and a pound a week.  Whilst the average daily adult miner's wage in the county was now three shillings for twelve hours work, despite the rises in the prices of household necessities. 
The strike spread - three hundred men assembled at Brimington Common, near Chesterfield. A cart was used as hustings and Smith of the Nottinghamshire Miners argued that though the "blood red guillotine of martyrdom was to be his lot, he should still advocate the cause of the colliers". At Snibston the men had been turned out of their jobs for joining the union. The masters acted, the colliers thought, like "negro drivers". Thomas Vernon of Somercotes told the cheering men tat the "universal feeling of Derbyshire and Nottingham shire was to stand out yet".  Funds were promised from solidarity collections, which would be held throughout the two counties. Mycroft, another local leader, told the men that the great Chartist solicitor, W P Roberts of Bristol, would be visiting Chesterfield to put a stop to the sending of men arrested during the course of the dispute to the Derby gaol by local magistrates, who had been refusing to allow the men to speak in their own defence.
Roberts was immortalised in a vast number of contemporary miners' popular songs, many of which are reprinted in A L Lloyd's "Come all ye bold miners; ballads and songs of the coalfields" (Lawrence and Wishart, 1978). Dubbed the "Attorney General" for the Chartist miners, Roberts was on the road for trade unionism for much of the year, in defence against judicial repression. He was empowered not only with the handling of individual problems of miners faced with charges in the courts, but also with the drawing up of agreements with the masters.  Arriving in April, he condemned the "conduct of the local magistrates who had sent four men to Derby jail without suffering them to speak for themselves". 
Roberts had previously been very much involved in attacking the truck system, still much in evidence despite some new laws. Companies had an absolute dread of Roberts' appearance in their locality. William Walker, secretary of the Derbyshire Miners, had requested the use of Roberts' services, for he knew the coal owners to be afraid of his talents - "the very name of Roberts strikes terror to their very souls".  When he had arrived in Belper, Haslam's, a firm that operated truck, issued the following notice for public record, to make it clear that earnings were not paid in kind and that employees were free not to use the company store if they so desired. The mere mention of Roberts had prompted this nervous precaution, such was the terror his name engendered.
" N O T I C E
Pentrich Coal Mine
The MessrsHaslam think it necessary, in order to prevent all mistakes, to announce that all persons employed in their colliery will receive their wages wholly in cash, and may expend them when and as they choose to do. If they purchase goods in the shops of MessrsHaslam, they will receive them as heretofore at wholesale prices, but they are not expected to make their purchases there, and work and wages will be continued as usual whether purchases are made in these shops or elsewhere." 
Meanwhile, the strike continued. Only Shipley had returned to work the week after the Brimington Common meeting. But Whitwick and Snibston remained firm. By 1st May there had been a weakening at the very heart of the new union, when sixty men left the organisation and resumed work at Clay Cross. But all the pits in the far north of the county bordering on Sheffield were still solid. In the ninth week of the dispute, new workmen were engaged at Messrs Comber and Cottam'sKillamarsh Collieries, to provide fuel for the company's Renishaw furnaces. Strike-breakers were treated to the usual community ostracism. Two men, Taylor and Bowskell, were met by a crowd of a hundred people about three-quarters of a mile from the village, as they returned from work. The crowd was mostly composed of women and children who "struck up a well known air. `March in Good Order', seconded by yells, hoots and groans of the most furious description". The men were thus greeted on their return from work, but as consolation for this their employers "pledged their word to stand betwixt their workmen and danger. Liberal rewards are offered to any person who will give such information as will bring the offender or offenders to justice". 
As the dispute progressed, attitudes as always hardened. An attempt was made on 27th May to blow up the house of the manager of the Oxclose Colliery, near Dronfield. Booker, the coal owner, had offered the men an advance of 8d a dozen tubs, if they would abandon the union. The men rejected this, demanding a two-shilling advance. Strike-breakers were introduced in large numbers, causing much bitterness. The usual harrying of strikebreakers by women with tin cans and sticks, accompanied by singing and shouting took place. This culminated in the unsuccessful bombing of pit property, which was clearly the work of an experienced miner. A foot long pipe, three inches in diameter was filled with gunpowder. The company offered a reward of £10 for any information, to no avail.  Little wonder, for the men of Dronfield and Killamarsh held out the longest of all.
With attitudes so sharp some owners made some slight concessions to the men in order to win a return to work. Many took the opportunity to accept on the basis that a stronger negotiating position now existed for the future. Some employers, however, determined to b much more firm and many miners were obliged to continue in dispute. Several hundred were still out up to mid-June and colliers from Dronfield took a wagon-load of coal, given to them by sympathetic miners from elsewhere, into Sheffield to sell at a "penny per bucketful, or as much as the purchaser chose to give". 
With no union benefits being available, resources grew thin and in those pits still out, then men were forced to return, the union more or less in a state of collapse. Despite this, the organisation was still strong enough to call a meeting of three hundred miners at the Queen's Hall in Ilkeston in November. But no long-term organisation from this phase of the struggle survived and similar battles took place in other parts of the county - one by one. Within two or three years the Association was in tatters. For the miners there still remained the arduous, poorly paid and, above all else, dangerous working lives.
A letter from an anonymous but obviously educated correspondent in 1845, posed the question - why had so little been done to alleviate the hazards of mining? A recent and serious accident at West Hallam gave rise to the concern. The correspondent, calling himself "Rusticus", revealed a string of local tragedies. Nine lives at Loscoe and ninety at Haswell amongst them. An annual death rate of 2,500, Rusticus argued, demanded some action. Firedamp, or methane gas, was pinpointed as the main culprit and Rusticus accurately commented that it was "better that the mining company make less profit than hundreds of industrious workmen should loose their lives and their wives and children should be thrown on the charity of the country".
While the miners failed to establish a permanent organisation, their initiative spread to other sectors. A draper's assistant wrote to the Derby Mercury in May 1844, pleading for some curtailment of the hours of labour in the trade - an unheard of complaint. "Draper's Assistants are employed in the shops for fourteen, fifteen hours and, in many cases, Sixteen and seventeen hours in the day...the Assistant therefore respectfully proposes that...the Drapers shops in derby be closed at eight-o-clock during spring and summer and seven-o-clock in winter and autumn." 
In 1845, the framework knitters had been exerting much of their energy on pressure for parliamentary regulation of the trade and their wages. In the absence of effective legislation, they were easily won to the ideas of Chartism. However, the weight of their evidence at the various commissions set up to head off their demands, forced some action, in particular in the area of the truck system. At its height there were more than 250 truck masters, or bagmen, in the East Midlands. One man grew so rich through the practice that he was able to gain admittance to the exclusive Quarndonfoxhunt. Eventually, truck in framework knitting was prohibited in 1831 by a combination of pressure from the workers, the public and the big hosiers at a time of improvement in the trade.  It was, however, still very much in operation in the 1840s, with employers finding all sorts of loopholes. One hosiery employer in Heanor, Thomas Hogg, operated a tommy, or truck, shop in 1845, although he defended himself as acting legally because his father owned the shop!  Derby had become increasingly less important as a hosiery centre, as firms like Wards and Brettles in Belper expanded. Almost three thousand knitting firms were scattered from Ockbrook across East Derbyshire by the mid-Thirties. There were almost six thousand frames in the various branches of the trade by 1844: 
Silk hose 756
Silk gloves 698
Cotton hose 3,900
Cotton cut-ups 255
Cotton drawers 225
Wool goods 2
The development of the cotton industry in Lancashire, which grew rapidly over the early part of the 19th century, weakened the strength of the industry in Derbyshire, although there were still eight mills in Derbyshire in 1836, with almost a couple of thousand workers supplying yarn for cotton hosiery. It was this aspect of the textile industry that boomed.  By 1845, Ward, Brettles and Ward had 400 silk and 2,500 cotton hose frames, with an output of 100,000 dozens yearly, making the newly combined firm the biggest in the world.  Despite all this, the average wage of framework knitters employed by Brettles in 1844 was only between seven and fifteen shillings per week. At the same time, some workers there were able to earn much less; down to as little as two shillings and sixpence per week! Such a big variation in potential earnings depended on the sort of frame used and the product being knitted. A contemporary estimate revealed that average earnings in Belper were only seven shillings, one and three farthings (7s 1 3/4d), whilst a further survey of 116 people produced an average of seven shillings and four pence, both before payment of frame rent, which generally would have been in the order of some shillings.  All this at a time when the owners, who lived geographically cheek by jowl with their workers, could reckon on a personal income of perhaps two hundred times as much. The stark nature of this inequality seemed to cry out for action.
The framework knitters resurrected their organisation once again early in 1845, meeting at the Pheasant Inn in Derby. Chaired by Samuel Corden, the meeting resolved that only an abolition of frame rents and the establishment of local boards of trade to oversee prices and quality of work would alleviate the periodic distress of the workers in the industry. The knitters decided to invite framesmiths, setters up, sinker makers and needle makers to join with the knitters in one "consolidated union for mutual protection".  Corden was elected delegate to attend a Three Counties meeting, preparatory to establishing a joint negotiating body with the employers.
This done, the process of resolving their old problems began. Late in May, a general meeting was held in the Old School Room at Duffield, to appoint a deputation to solicit the still separate firm of Brettles and Wards for an advance of sixpence a dozen on selvage (edge or bordered) glove manufacture. The workers' representatives called on both firms, Brettles promising the advance "upon all common selvage gloves, but not on supers". This caused as standstill among the workmen, who declared they would not work until the request was complied with. Wards, however, agreed to give the advance on all selvage gloves for one month only, making no distinction between common and supers. The workers accepted this offer, provided that it was agreed that "at the expiration of one month, should the trade remain in the same flourishing condition, the advance is to be continued". Wards conceded fairly easily, while Brettles were forced to come in line. The concessions were given in the right vein, at the right time, thus heading off any development of an effective long-term organisation. The danger to the employers of a union cutting across skills and trade within the textile manufacturing industry had been seen clearly and was skilfully avoided.
But the disputes were not over, for the immediate effect of the success of the Belper framework knitters was a `copy-cat' wave of similar action throughout the glove trade In August 1845, a dispute broke out in Derby. Both manufacturers and workmen appealed to the public via printed handbills, an early example of contrary propaganda efforts in an industrial relations conflict. A commission of inquiry in 1844 had revealed very low wages in the area, the various glove makers paying quite a variety of wages: 
Employer Average weekly wage
Fergusson7s0d to 8s0d
Hancock9s0d to 14s0d
Dallison only fully employed his workers for four months of the year, while Gorse only gave full work for three months. The hours were twelve a day. The desperation engendered by this experience once again was expressed in industrial militancy and secured some marginal and temporary respite.
Yet other evidence of a rising interest in trades organisation was the agitation evident among the HorsleyWoodhousenailers in October 1845. Trade union delegates were reported to be working for a strike. A novel means of preventing strikebreaking was adopted when the nailers simply collected in the tools of the trade. An argument for social ownership of the means of production that was not lost on the employers! A swift solution must have been found for this dispute for the action was stunningly effective. Over the next few decades, nailers’organisation would prove its worth.
There is a real sense that faith in a political solution to the problems of workers was beginning to fade and that a re-affirmation of trade union responses was taking place at this time. Older established craft societies had maintained their organisation throughout the Chartist period; some were aloof to the struggle for political rights. The coachmakers society, the UKSC, had been ticking over in most towns since 1835. Now the Leeds Society sought to renovate the strong links that had once existed between the various local societies. After an initial national meeting, at which Derby was not represented, a general circular went round to convene a national delegate conference in April 1848, at which a delegate from Derby was probably present.  The Derby lodge was certainly well established by 1847, since an annual dinner is recorded as having been held in November.  A local UKSC had been established in Nottingham in 1823 and it seems certain that some form of organisation was in existence in Derby between then and 1835. By the time of the 1848 national conference, the Derby lodge must have been considered important, for when two Leeds members of the newly elected national executive committee were dismissed from their jobs, a delegate from Derby was one of the three-man investigation committee appointed by the UKSC to look into the matter.
Print workers were well organised - and there was a strike of paper workers at Darley Paper Mill, near Derby, in 1845. The paper industry employers were generally tolerant of the Society of Paper-makers, which had been established in the county for almost two decades. However, a foreman had been taken on at Darley Mills, who was not a member of the Society. Apparently, he understood machines generally and was taken on to supervise the vats, although since he had not been trained in the industry, a fact that would be guaranteed by membership of the Society, the move concerned its membership. Unfortunately, the dispute was not totally successful and eventually the mill began to employ non-society men as well as paid-up members.
Despite this, in the print industry proper, the closed shop began to be generally introduced, especially amongst typographers. Legislative changes in the late 17th century enabled the printing industry to expand outside of London. The Northern Typographers Association, established in 1830, which in 1844 merged into the National Typographical Association, had branches at Derby and Chesterfield, probably with no more than a few dozen members. The Association's main aim was to establish control over the trade - especially apprenticeships. Print workers were concerned about the widespread practice of apprentices not completing their seven-year service and starting at other printers as `time-served', but being paid well below the proper rate. The largest gathering of printers to that date was held when a delegate conference, called the "Printers' Parliament", was held on Monday 15th July 1844, at Derby, for four days. A truly national union was set up arising from this, with a national and district organisation and unemployment relief of six shillings a week, instead of tramping. But, by 1848, it had dissolved in disarray, and Derby printers - the Derby Typographical Association - remained a single town society, in common with other northern towns.  The Bookbinder's Consolidated Union founded a Derby lodge in 1847, although again no real central co-ordination existed. The Derby lodge was, like many local organisations, strongly critical of the Central Committee, which was in fact a roving body, alternating between the lodge committees of towns
Chartism was thus somewhat eclipsed by trade union developments, but it was not yet a spent force. Major developments on the political scene revitalised ideas of resolving problems via parliamentary representation Sir Robert Peel, the Tory Prime Minister, split his party by repealing the Corn Laws, utilising Liberal parliamentary support. Karl Marx observed that "The year of 1846 brought to light in its nakedness, the substantial class interest, which forms the real base of the Tory Party...the repeal of the Corn Laws...merely recognised an already accomplished fact...the subordination of the landed interest to the moneyed interest, of property to commerce, of agriculture to manufacturing". A measure of the virulence which traditional Tories meted out to those in favour of the repeal is revealed by a poster produced in Derby and signed by "A Protestant" in opposition to the free trades, it proclaimed them all to be part of the "extreme Radical Party" and desiring the daily import of "FOREIGN CORN, FOREIGN CATTLE, FOREIGN MANUFACTURES". "A Protestant" scribed their views to the adherence of Jews, Catholics, Mohammedans and Infidels to the principle of free trade. 
Following the new situation, a resurgence of interest in political action could again be observed in 1847-48. The Land Plan seemed less relevant to many and an economic slump in 1847-48 diminished the interest of some in unionism. Moreover, the revolutions of 1848 in Europe stimulated the imaginations of others. O'Connor was elected MP for Nottingham in November 1847 and there was a general revival of enthusiastic protest. However, the main thrust of this final stage of Chartism was confined solely to the unemployed. In some parts of the country, violent bread riots enabled the Government to make elaborate military preparations. But the Chartism of this period proved barren - old strategies and old demands prevailed.
The `revival' was evidenced in Derbyshire when a Chartist meeting was had at Belper Market Place, which resolved to campaign for the Charter. Significantly, a further call of the meeting was for the "middle-class and the working class to unite". But in May 1847, “chiefly members of the operative class” attended a meeting in support of the Charter held at the Lecture Hall in the Wardwick. The absence of a restraining influence from the middle class is clear to see, for there was a strongly radical flavour to the local campaign as in 1842. Responding to the latest imperial intrigues in Ireland, the Chartists in Derby organised a petition "against any coercive measures for Ireland". Over eight hundred people "signed it in the course of one day and it was sent off the same evening to Feargus O'Connor for presentation at the House of Commons. 
During the General Election of 31st July 1847, the Chartists engaged in an intensive campaign. Nineteen candidates stood specifically supporting the Charter and a central election committee was set up. One of the candidates, Philip McGrath, succeeded in poling 216 votes in Derby against the victors, Strutt and Gower. In a `victory' celebration over three hundred people attended a Chartist tea and ball in his honour, which was also attended by Ernest Jones. Jones was a major national figure in this late stage of Chartism and was moving towards a strongly socialist and internationalist position. He would become a close confidante of Marx and Engels. The result was
E Strutt (Liberal) 880
E F Leveson-Gower (Liberal) 852
H Raikes (Conservative) 300
P McGrath (Chartist) 216
The election was, however, declared void on account of accusations of bribery and a fresh contest was ordered, the winning candidates thus being unseated.
Noting the very real electoral appeal of Chartism and being swept by the tide of intellectual revolutionary fervour evident amongst radical Liberal elements in 1848, the local Liberal leaders in the Derby constituency, Michael Bass and Lawrence Heyworth, "for a season fraternised" with the Chartists - as their deadly enemy, the Derby Mercury, put it. In Northern Derbyshire, perhaps continuing to reflect the largely rural nature of the county outside of Derby, two Liberals were returned unopposed and in Southern Derbyshire, two Tories were returned equally unopposed.
The Chartist aimed to present a super-monster petition - six million signatures was the aim. At a meeting to propagate the petition in April 1848, G W M Reynold said that "an admirable spirit animated the people of Derby. They were tired to petitioning and had said that this should be the last time they would have recourse to that mode of expressing their demands and claiming their rights...recourse must be had to physical force. There were not more than 5,000 troops in London and the multitude that would meet on Monday to present the petition would be more than enough to produced a change in Government before eight-o-clock on that evening". 
This must have been George Reynolds, who was to found `Reynold's Weekly', a newspaper that lasted for almost a century as a radical voice - later becoming the co-operative Sunday Citizen, defunct since the 1960s. Reynolds was initially a novelist and republican journalist who had played a major role in supporting the French Republic that followed the February revolution in 1848. His remarks represented a long-standing suspicion in radical Chartist circles that petitioning was a device to evade insurrectionary tactics. Such dreams apart, the movement had in any case overestimated the potential support. In the event, the national demonstration to present the petition was quite small by previous standards - thirty thousand turned out in London. It was a pretty massive affair by modern standards, given the much smaller population levels of the day. But was it enough to challenge the power of the State and were Chartist aware enough of the extent of this power and its class basis? Despite the fact that the aim of the Chartist leadership was to prove something to the Government, rather than overthrow it, vast military forces were turned out, many more than anticipated by Reynolds; the military more than exceeded the Chartists and the protest went unheeded.
From here onwards the story of Chartism was one of unbroken decline, but only slowly so. In June, a Chartist demonstration was held in Derby.  A man went round with a bell on one Monday morning, announcing a town's rally at 10.30am. However, at the allotted time, the three organisers, William Chandler, William Short and Henry Gorse, were prevented from starting the meeting and taken to the magistrates. These only had authority within the borough, but had received clear instructions from the Government to prevent such meetings. So the Chartists innocently left the Town Hall with this information and started up the meeting outside what was then the borough's boundaries at Chester Green. By that time, it proved difficult to obtain a large turnout, especially as it had started to rain - but the meeting went ahead. The main speaker was John Shaw, one of the "temporary commissioners" who aided the NCA executive of five elected at the last great convention, the National Assembly, in 1848. He noted that: "Distress prevailed ... throughout England, though, from what he heard scarcely any town was doing as well as Derby". He pleaded for his supporters locally to be "more united, and to be more in public than they had been".
Attempting to respond to the criticism of their inaction, the local Chartist continued agitation, only to attract the most vitriolic disapproval in the Mercury. A group of six Chartists (Henry Gorse, Thomas Briggs, Joseph Briggs, Peter Ward, John Skevington and Thomas Thorpe) signed a handbill in reply to these savage attacks. The Mercury, on the one hand felt that Derby was "the greatest and most orderly of the manufacturing towns", yet, on the other, that the Chartists had arranged imminent revolution. Such a contradiction was no doubt a calculated Tory hysteria related to the forthcoming by-election, to be held on 2nd September. While the anti-Tories were effectively Liberals, the Mercury viewed them with sufficient reserve to dub Bass a "Whig Radical" and Heyworth a "Chartist". The latter had of course identified himself with Chartism for much of 1848, but how much he was truly still so must remain in doubt. Heyworth remained in politics and was in later years very much an establishment Liberal.
The journal "The Non-Conformist" in August 1841 revealed an outrageous example of intimidation in the local election scene, such as it was. A letter was sent from the Tory campaign headquarters in Wirksworth to a Thomas Frost of Middleton-by-Wirksworth. The correspondent expressed his regret that he would be likely "to offend your old master by allowing your son to vote for Gisborne and Waterpark (unsuccessful Liberal candidates for the Southern Derbyshire constituency in the 1841 General Election); because he has spoken to me about obtaining for you the premium for long service at the next agricultural meeting, in which I should assist him; and I should be very sorry if you should lose 4L4s (i.e. £44s0d) by any such proceedings". 
This was by no means an isolated incident, much underhand and dubious strategy was resorted to; the Tories produced a poster to the electors of Derby, advocating support for Freshfield and Lord, as they were "not truckle to the paltry revolutionary spirit of the age". On the other hand, Bass and Heyworth were "for uprooting the very foundation of society". The age-old technique of damaging the opposition by ascribing their motives to violent and outrageous principles was gloried in. "Pause the, ere by voting for Radical Revolutionist, you plunge our country into the same state as our neighbour France." But if the electors wanted the "ancient walls of your borough not to be stamped with the black mark of Chartism", then the answer was clear - vote for Freshfield and Lord.
What was, for the times, arguably an even more malicious accusation, stirred the radical camp. The Tories claimed that their opponents were anti-religious. This provoked a response against this "slanderous report", that Heyworth was an infidel (a non-believer in Christianity) and that both he and Bass thought the Bible to be an "idle tale". All sorts of Christian churches and schools were quoted as receiving the support of Bass in the reply of the Liberals to this infamy. Heyworth's thirty-year record as a subscriber to the Bible Society was cited as evidence of his piety. The whereabouts of the current contributors' records of the Society were pointed to and the inquisitive would have found that Heyworth had reached the level of contributing £100 per annum by this stage. That the Liberal -Radical camp responded so sensitively to the smear was no over-reaction. As we have seen in earlier chapters, very few people thought in non-religious terms at this point in history.
The electoral machines continued to seek to slur their opponents and a to-ing and fro-ing of claims and counter claims marked the election. A poster was produced, signed by "an old soldier and Independent Elector", protesting that "some evil disposed Tory or Tories have wantonly and maliciously claimed that he had promised his vote to them". Although why he should wish to remain anonymous, if that were so is not explained! Perhaps the Liberals were subtler in their electioneering ploys? For a £100 reward was supposedly offered in the poster, although no clear details of what the reward was for, or where it could be claimed, were provided. Assuredly, it was no more than an eye-catching device to cloud the name of the Tories.
Yet the result was decisively anti-Tory, their two candidates being easily beaten:
M T Bass (Liberal) 956
L Heyworth (Liberal) 912
J W Freshfield (Conservative) 778
J Lord (Conservative) 760
Even so, the election of the Liberal -Radicals did not solve the economic or even the political problems of Derby's workers. A strike was reported as "likely" amongst the framework knitters at Belper and Heanor in September, because of an "abatement of ninepence or one shilling per dozen", a wage cut in other words. At regular meetings, the Chartists tried to repeat their success of 1842 by inking economic hardship with the absence of political power. Reynolds appeared at the Guildhall in October and McGrath spoke at the Town Hall in April of the following year. 
But amongst many Chartists interest in the perhaps eccentric ideas of O'Connor in his Land Company scheme, diverted the movement. His theory was that political liberty lay in a more democratic ownership of what was then seen as the key to Britain's power - land capital. O'Connor had set up the National Land Company in 1847 and early on there had been a meeting in the Town Hall in Derby where William Dixon, one of the five directors of the company, claimed 40,000 men were now united by the strong tie of self-interest. By mid-1847 there were seven branches of the Land Company in Derbyshire, with most of the members confined to Derby.  (It has been credited with stimulating the whole building societies' movement.) Derby backers sent the vast sum of £26 in one week in April 1848, but this did not indicate large numbers concretely behind the scheme. There was, however, much anxiety to become paid up members and thus be able to take part in the "ballot" (perhaps lottery would be a more suitable description) for land allocation.  Only 250 members, out of 70,000, eventually obtained land before the company collapsed.
One of the few developments actually started and purchased, for £12,200, in November 1847, was at Snig's End in Gloucestershire, which opened in June of the following year. Some seventy people or family groups shared plots of two, three or four acres each. Stephen Needham and W Colston of Derby were among those successfully obtaining land.  On 20th March 1850, very near the end of the Land Company, Feargus O'Connor spoke in Derby, where he proposed that all the solutions were in his scheme. "The Charter the means, the land the end", he sloganised. His idea was that the workers compete with capitalism within its own system on its own terms. Indeed, he argued at Derby that "this talk about the community of property in land...is an upshot of French Communism which is becoming fashionable among a certain class of politicians" 
O'Connor's theory was not some sophisticated refinement to a new level of Owen's co-operativism, rather it was to apply capitalism `democratically'. He believed that small-scale intensive farming could be more productive. He repudiated co-operativism, socialism and communism, basing the plan on contradictory principles of individuality of possession, but capital collectivism. Predictably, the Land Company was wound up as insolvent shortly after O'Connor visited Derby and, in 1852, he was declared insane. Clearly, “the failure of Chartism was partly a result of the weaknesses of its leadership and tactics”.  But, as the Chartist mass movement faded, its stars hurtled in different directions. Against O'Connor's `brainwave’ must be placed the radicalism of Ernest Jones, who saw the role of class as an economic force within history, variously a lawyer, lecturer, poet and journalist, Marx thought him the most consistent of the lot. Jones had no doubt that capitalism was the foe and he called for a movement of `class against class'. An amalgamation of class was, he thought, impossible where an amalgamation of interest was impossible also. Under his influence the NCA adopted a socialist programme in 1851 and in 1854 founded a "Labour Parliament".
As the peak of depression faded and the impact of `foreign' revolutionary ideas receded so did support for Chartism. There had been important and fundamental differences between the 1842 and 1848 agitations. Whilst attempts at organisation had been made after earlier defeats, full recovery had not been attained. Many workers had been placated by reforms - the Ten Hours Act and concessions on wages, for example, in 1848, only the unemployed and the activists were roused.
Chartism declined as a political force. In many places activity dwindled, perhaps restricted to nostalgic ceremonials, for example, Derby Chartists invited McGrath to a `tea' in April 1850. But it would be too much of a mistake to relegate Chartism in these years as an entirely spent force. Apart from its impact on newer, developing forces the movement had deep roots in the working class. One of the few significant Chartist meetings held in 1850 was the `camp meeting' decided upon by delegates meeting at Swanwick in Derbyshire. Two meetings were subsequently held at Holbrook Moor, also in the countryside, the fields were crowded with people. As Chartism receded, the thoughts of parliamentarians turned to how to manipulate the exiting political system to their advantage, Without the purity of Chartism, corrupted carried on unhindered. Bribery for votes was rampant in elections in Derby in the early 1850s. A Select Committee reported in 1852 that "an organised system of bribery had been carried on in the borough". The price varied from one to three pounds a vote. 
In the keenest and closest fought election to date, the first Tory in a hundred years was narrowly elected alongside a Liberal on the 8th July 1852; perhaps as a result of such practices, after all, at the going rate, Horsfall's majority of seven votes would have only cost him, at the most, £21!! Interestingly, it looks as if the Tories had earmarked Heyworth as the Liberal to most attack, hence earlier references to his supposed radicalism, the result certainly showed him to be more vulnerable than Bass:
M T Bass (Liberal) 1,252
T Horsfall (Conservative) 1,025
L Heyworth (Liberal) 1,018
Fortunately for the Liberals, during the campaign their chairman was tipped off about the Tories' bribery and he took a contingent of police to the County Tavern, where £300 in gold, a list of voters and an incriminating letter was found on an election agent! The letter was from Major Beresford, the Secretary of State for War, and it revealed that a commercial firm was being used for the purpose of providing election funds for bribing voters. Spates of similar acts of corruption were reported throughout the country in twenty-five constituencies, including of course Derby itself. 
On 9th March 1853, a House of Commons Committee investigated the whole affair. Horsfall, the Tory, was unseated and Heyworth declared elected in his place. A similar petition from the Tories against Bass's election was dismissed. With that, the scene was set for Liberal dominance of the town, and much of the county, for forty years or more. The 1852 election had seen two Liberals elected for Northern Derbyshire and two Tories for Southern Derbyshire - all unopposed. The fact that only one election out of six had seen a contest in the north and only two out of six in the south of the county since 1832 might lend suspicion to the thought that the two parties had an informal understanding, which avoided political controversy. In the seven elections in the north from 1853 to 1880 only once did a Tory win in a contest and only then by the wafer thin margin of 61 votes. In the south, in the 1852 election the Tories were unopposed, but in the seven elections from 1857 to 1880 the Liberals only lost the two seat constituency on one occasion. All other contests saw either both seats falling to the Liberals or at least one.
In 1858, there was much agitation around the campaign for a further extension of the franchise. In February a meeting of the "inhabitants of Glossop was held ... for the purpose of passing resolutions favourable to Parliamentary Reform". Meanwhile the Liberals called a Reform Bill public meeting in Derby's Guildhall. They insisted on a step-by-step approach, contrary to the "no-surrender Chartist ... (who) ... were annoyed at their desertion by the old Whigs". Some thirty people at the Liberal meeting voted for a Chartist motion that supported the modest reforms then under consideration, but indicated that they would "never cease agitating till the People's Charter becomes the law of the land". For their part, in as clear an assertion for reform rather than revolution as any popular expression could put it, the Liberals argued "their Chartist friends would not go without bacon for their breakfast till they could get a whole pig to eat". 
Chartism was all but dead, a mere shadow of its former self. The leadership expended their energies on producing newspapers as platforms for their views. Jones, for example, produced the People's Paper, which claimed numerous friends in Derby. But no local organisation existed when, in 1860, most of the journals ceased publication. Chartism finally entered the pages of history. Meanwhile, the winning of such a popular vote as now existed began to exercise the minds of politicians. Further reforms were won, little by little. Trade unions were often strongly behind such reforms. Interestingly, a union banner is the focus of John Holland's painting, "Election Day at Derby", painted in the 1860s. Major extensions to the franchise had been achieved, but the political views of the working class were not to be as excited as they had been by Chartism until the early part of the 20th century. Politics became dominated by a two-party system of Tories and Liberals, with the workers' movement coat-tailing the latter.
The Tories became identified as the party of gentry and church, seeking working class support though snobbery, social climbing and imperial pride. Whigs, Radicals and a breakaway from the Tories led by Robert Peel coalesced into the Liberal Party in 1859. By the time of the 1880 general election, the party had adopted a distinctly reformist tone in its message designed to appeal to the aspirant working class. By 1886, most Whigs, the aristocratic fringe, deserted the Liberals over Ireland and a recognisable class identity had set in as far as party allegiance was concerned.
The Conservatives, aided by a spilt in the Liberal ranks, took one of the two Derby seats in the 1865 general election, but in 1868, 1874 and 1880, Bass and Plimsoll, the Liberals, each won decisively. Samuel Plimsoll was the inventor of the famous Plimsoll Line, which avoided over-loading of ships and Bass was the founder of the brewing empire that took his name, although most brewers and increasingly pub landlords backed the Tories, as capitalists drifted towards the Tories by virtue of their support for imperial expansion to buttress trade.
Workers took their allegiance to the Liberals very seriously. In 1866, there was a riot outside the Clay Cross polling station and fifty policemen had to be drafted in from Birmingham and Derby to restore order and to allow Tories into the polling station to vote. "The polling booths from opening were surrounded by a great number of colliers, men and boys arrayed in pieces of yellow paper and ribbon, who pelted all the Conservative voters with innumerable missiles."  Those who displayed blue were attacked without hesitation. The arrival of the police only served to inflame the crowd, which attacked the Tory committee rooms at the New Inn and the Queen's Head public house, where the landlord was known to be a Tory.
It would be another four decades before such vigorous participation could be channelled into independent working class politics. Extension of the franchise and population changes doubled the number of electors in Derby during the quarter of a century from 1832 to 1858, almost tripling that figure in the next decade. Thirty years on from the Reform Bill agitation, the electorate had increased sevenfold. The numbers steadily rose, so that by the turn of the century the electorate had increased some fifteen times over. Population growth had also been strong, but in the forty years from 1831, Derby's size had only doubled. Self-evidently, a major change in the nature of British politics had taken place in these years and this was reflected in the county as elsewhere.
Derby's Registered Derby's Population
1847/8 2,177 1851 40,609
1858 3,479 1861 43,091
1868 9,240 1861 44,058
Even so, candidates still reeked of wealth. Famous or privileged local, or even national, names such as Bass, Mackworth, Chandos Pole, Strutt, Curzon, Leveson-Gower and Duncannon, Cavendish and Waterpark litter the records of elections in the mid 19th century. Although, gradually, the Tories observably began to moderate the tenor of their political intervention to field less obviously blue-bloodied candidates, in an attempt to woo the popular vote.
Was the end of Chartism then truly dismal, as this undistinguished trail into oblivion implies? Its essential aims were achieved, albeit in dribs and drabs. Britain could never be the same again. Capitalism was only able to survive and grow by the creation of a formidable civil society, in which dissent was channelled into constitutional and not revolutionary paths. There were consequences for the future of our country inherent in such a strategy that few could have predicted. Chartism had been full of diversions and weaknesses of leadership. There had been an absence of clarity as to the tensions between strategy and tactics. There were those who were aware that the 1842 strike movement had limited possibilities, given the undeveloped state of Chartist organisation as a political expression of the working class. The mass strike weapon was perhaps not clearly seen as having the political power that it might have and was conceived by physical force advocates as somehow pre-figuring insurrection and by moral force advocates as another element in the pressure campaign on the Government. It was, however, unarguably the start of a mass class-conscious politics.
In this sense, Chartism had been an important transitional phase of the development of British radicalism. It laid the basis for the development of the unique character of the British labour movement. Owenism had lacked the understanding or commitment to the idea that state power was a necessary pre-condition to the construction of socialism. Chartism revealed just how potent was the economic system which the British state gained sustenance from. In Derby and its environs, the working class had been at the forefront of every radical effort to challenge power and wealth over the preceding six decades or more. There was little evidence of the movement being any more moderate than anywhere else in the country; on the contrary Derby earned for itself in the 1830s and 1840s a name for militancy. However, the following decades saw the view develop in Derby as elsewhere that trade union struggle was a salvation only for a select few and that, in any case, this needed to be firmly segregated from political activity of whatever kind. This was no special, local moderation, but very much a product of its time.
Chartism had been, as Engels correctly characterised it (if we can excuse him the male chauvinism, reflective of his day!), "the first working men's party which the world had ever produced".  As such, it had been a glorious success. But newer lessons awaited the British worker. The belief that the vote automatically gave power was easily encouraged by the next seventy years of experience. It would be a period of phenomenal economic growth, much fuelled by the imperialistic conquest of captive and new markets in Africa and Asia. So relatively prosperous would life potentially be for many working people, that the organised working class would find capitalism amenable to pressure.
REFERENCES TO CHAPTER FIVE
1 Ed D Thompson "The Early Chartists" MacMillan (1971) p184
2 F Engels "Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844” George Allen and Unwin - London (1936) p229
3 original circular dated August 2nd 1836; A Tuckett “The Blacksmith’s History – what smithy workers gave to trades unionism” Lawrence and Wishart (1974) p40
4 "History of the Working Class II - The English Industrial Revolution and Chartism" Martin Lawrence (1932) p28
5 G D H Cole "Chartist Portraits" Cassell (1941) p274; John Baxter "Armed Resistance and Insurrection - The Early Chartist Experience" Our History pamphlet (Communist Party) No 76 (1984)
6 Ed D Thompson "The Early Chartists" MacMillan (1971) - quoting The Operative February 10th 1839
7 J T Ward "Chartism" Batsford (1973) p112
8 "T P Wood's Almanac - 1926" Chesterfield (1926) p288
9 The Charter 28th April 1839, quoted in M Hovell "The Chartist Movement" Manchester University Press (1925) p151
10 Derby Mercury 19th May 1841
11 J Kuczynski "A Short History of Labour Conditions Under Industrial Capitalism" - Vol One: "Great Britain and the Empire, 1750 to the present day" Frederick Muller (1942) p23
12 Derby Mercury 22nd June 1842
13 F Engels "Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844” George Allen and Unwin - London (1936) p231
14 Derby Mercury 25th March 1840; 6th May 1840
15 D Jones "Chartism and the Chartists" Allen and Lane (1975) pp30-2
16 Contemporary archives kept by the Town Clerk of Derby in 1841-2, consisting of a series of handwritten reports and notes on the activities of the town's Chartists, lodged in Derby Local Studies Department. The account of events from 11th March to Sunday 21st March 1841 is taken from these documents.
17 Derby Mercury 7th April 1841; John Knott "Popular Opposition to the 1834 Poor Law" Croom Helm (1986) p81
18 James Epstein "The Lion of Freedom, Feargus O'Connor and the Chartist Movement 1832-42” Croom Helm (1986) p231
19 ed. Asa Briggs "Chartist Studies" - D Read essay on "Chartism in Manchester” MacMillan (1959) p52
20 DLSL, copy of a letter dated 14th May 1841 in Town Clerk's papers
21 DLSL, Town Clerk's papers – letter from the government dated 19th June 1841
22 Derby Mercury 26th May 1841
23 Derby Mercury 9th June 1841
24 Derby Mercury 2nd June 1841
25 Derby Mercury 29th September 1841
26 Derby Mercury 26th January 1842
27 Derby Mercury - various issues cited in notes 21-6
28 R Johnson "A History of Alfreton" self-published (1968) p127
29 D Jones "Chartism and the Chartists" Allen and Lane (1975) p87
30 Mansard (3rd series) Columns 13-90 3rd May 1842
31 Derby Mercury 17th August 1842
32 all details of events of the 15th to 23rd August from Derby Mercury
33 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners – a study in industrial and social progress" George Allen and Unwin (1962) p89
34 K Marx "Capital" Dent Everyman (1957) p505
35 Parliamentary papers 1842 VolXVIIp307 quoted in E R Pike “Human Documents of the Industrial Revolution” Allen and Unwin (1966) p174
36 Parliamentary papers Vol XV pp255-259 quoted in E R Pike “Human Documents of the Industrial Revolution” Allen and Unwin (1966) p162; Pamela Horn "Labouring Life in the Victorian Countryside Gill and MacMillan (1976) p44
37 J L and B Hammond "The Town Labourer (1760-1832): The New Civilisation" Victor Gollancz (1937) p55
38 J L and B Hammond "The Town Labourer (1760-1832): The New Civilisation” Victor Gollancz (1937) p35
39 C Williams "A Pictorial History of Derbyshire NUM" Derbyshire NUM (1980) Plate 25
40 Commissioner’s Report "The Physical Conditions of Children and Young Persons employed in Coal and Iron Mines in Derbyshire" reprinted by Derby Archaeological Society Journal Vol X 1936
41 Derby Mercury 7th September 1842
42 G D H Cole "A Short History of the British Working Class Movement 1789-1947" George Allen and Unwin (1948) p134
43 F Engels "Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844” George Allen and Unwin - London (1936) p266-7
44 Derby Mercury 9th August 1843
45 F Engels "Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844” George Allen and Unwin - London (1936) p229-300
46 Derby Mercury 8th November 1843
47 R Challinor and B Ripley "The Miners' Association - a Trade Union in the Age of Chartists" Lawrence and Wishart (1968) p158
48 Derby Mercury 28th February 1844
49 R Challinor and B Ripley "The Miners' Association - a Trade Union in the Age of Chartists" Lawrence and Wishart (1968) p159
50 R H Mottram "Through Five Generations - The History of the Butterley Company" Faber and Faber (1950) p59
51 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners – a study in industrial and social progress" George Allen and Unwin (1962) “p91
52 Derby Mercury 10th April 1844
53 F Engels "Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844” George Allen and Unwin - London (1936) p253
54 Derbyshire Courier 6th April 1844
55 Miners’ Magazine March April 1844 - quoted by R Challinor and B Ripley "The Miners' Association - a Trade Union in the Age of Chartists" Lawrence and Wishart (1968) p102
56 F Engels "Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844” George Allen and Unwin - London (1936) p254-5
57 Derby Mercury 22nd May 1844
58 Derby Mercury 29th May 1844
59 Derby Mercury 19th June 1844
60 Derby Mercury 22nd May 1844
61 W Felkin “History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures” (1867), centenary facsimile reproduction David and Charles, Newton Abbot (1967) p457
62 W Page (ed) “The Victoria History of the Counties of England – Derbyshire” Vol II University of London Institute of Historical Research/Dawson (1970 facsimile reprint of 1907 edition) p368-9
63 W Felkin “History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures” (1867), centenary facsimile reproduction David and Charles, Newton Abbot (1967) p463
64 F A Wells “The British Hosiery and Knitwear Industry – its history and organisation” David Charles, Newton Abbott (1972) p57
65 S Glover "The Directory of the County of Derby" Mozley and Son, Derby (1829)
66 W Page (ed) “The Victoria History of the Counties of England – Derbyshire” Vol II University of London Institute of Historical Research/Dawson (1970 facsimile reprint of 1907 edition) p368-9
67 Derby Mercury 5th February 1845
68 Derby Mercury 20th August 1845
69 C Kinggate "History of UKSC" NUVB (1919) p21-3
70 Derby Mercury 17th November 1847; C Kinggate "History of UKSC" NUVB (1919) p22
71 A E Musson "The Typographers' Association" OUP (1954) pp4, 34, 56
72 K Marx article in New York Daily Tribune 21st August 1852 quoted in "Surveys from Exile - Political Writings" Penguin Books (1973) p257; original poster dated March 12th 1846 - DLSL
73 Derby Mercury 1st December 1847
74 Derby Mercury 12th April 1848
75 Derby Mercury 14th June 1848
76 Derby Mercury 30th August 1848
77 Original posters from April 1848 DLSL; Derby Mercury 27th September 1848
78 Derby Mercury 24th October 1848, 25th April 1848
79 Ed A Briggs "Chartist Studies" essay by J MacAskill "The Chartist Land Plan" MacMillan (1959) p317, MacAskill includes Mottram, near Manchester in the Derbyshire totals.
80 Ed A Briggs "Chartist Studies" essay by J MacAskill "The Chartist Land Plan" MacMillan (1959) p320
81 A M Hadfield "The Chartist Land Company" David and Charles, Newton Abbot (1970) p223-236
82 Derby Mercury March 27th 1850
83 A L Morton "A People's History of England" Victor Gollancz (1938) p426
84 A W Davison "Derby - its rise and progress" SR Publishers East Ardley (1906 – facsimile reprint 1970) p261
85 K Marx article in New York Daily Tribune 4th September 1852 quoted in "Surveys from Exile - Political Writings” Vol 2 Penguin Books (1973) p273
86 Derby Mercury February 24th 1858
87 C Williams "A Pictorial History of Derbyshire NUM" Derbyshire NUM, Chesterfield (1980) Plate 103
88 F Engels article in the Labour Standard July 23rd 1881, reprinted in "The British Labour Movement” Martin Lawrence (1944) p35
Pic: throwing (or spinning) by hand at the Silk Mill
THE 'SPRING TIDE' OF TRADES UNIONISM
Countdown to the Reform Act of 1832, the GNCTU and the Derby Turnout of 1833-4
1 "Blackguard villains of that now radical town"
The Whigs dominated Derby politics throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries, almost unchallenged. On one rather memorable occasion in 1776, Parliament reversed the result of an election in which the Whigs were accused of securing the member for Derby on the grounds of bribery. One hundred witnesses attended and investigating committee at the House of Commons which eventually found for the Tory, Daniel Parker Coke. It was the only time the Whig monopoly was broken. Generally, elections were uncontested. For thirty years before the passing of the Reform Act there was no contest for the representation of the 655 electors of Derby. At election times the local papers always displayed the paradox of a letter of thanks from the elected members, appearing in the same issue as the official advertisement announcing the nomination of candidates!
Pic: The Turnout of 1833-4 still remembered today by Derby Area Trades Union council in its banner, proudly displayed every May Day.
Elections were practically a family affair. H F C (Henry) Cavendish and Samuel Crompton had been elected unopposed in 1826 for the Derby seat. In 1830 and 1831, Henry Cavendish and Edward Strutt had a similar easy ride. For the Derbyshire seat, Lord George Cavendish and Francis Mundy were elected unopposed in 1826 and 1830. The following year, Lord Cavendish was joined by George Vernon and William Cavendish as unopposed MPs. The Whigs maintained their local supremacy whenever they looked like being outnumbered by the simple device of creating honorary freemen (who thus received the vote) from amongst their supporters, whenever they looked like being outnumbered (124 in 1806, 132 in 1819). Politics was still largely a kind of gentlemen's game, to be played between the Tory representatives of the landed aristocracy and the Whigs who acted for monied and propertied mercantile and industrialist classes. It was a system that excluded the mass of the people, more especially the wealth creating working class, newly being formed. The Whigs, however, had at least developed the political sensitivity to drop their rather aristocratic sounding name in favour of 'The Liberals' in 1828, in deference to the growing demands for political reform. (Although the word has nothing to do with wigs in its derivation, being probably an abbreviation of "Whiggamer", Gaelic for "driving a mare", a reference to Scottish rebels in 1648; it is suggestive of their attitude to the relationship between absolute monarchy and a constitutional democracy: i.e. the King should be `whiggamered', or driven along a route to be followed.)
The sheer absurdity of Britain's electoral system was appalling. Parliamentary seats were allotted without any regard to population; Derbyshire had only two members at the end of the 18th century, while thinly populated Cornwall had 42. The system was in no way an accurate reflection of reality. As a result of this basic unfairness, a very small number of voters were able to control Parliament. The 254 seats estimated to command a majority represented 5,732 people.  However, the political reform movement, which had earlier faded in the face of repression, began to re-emerge. The Birmingham Political Union (BPU), founded in 1830 by a banker, was designed to divert the rebellious discontent, borne out of the economic circumstances after the Napoleonic Wars, into a parliamentary reform movement. The election year of 1830 was characterised by sharp popular indignation at the undemocratic nature of the electoral system. Locally, this gave rise to personal attacks on those seen to be most profiting from the system.
Riotous behaviour was still very much the order of the day, as far as being a means of expressing popular opinion. Illicit direct action swept the southern and eastern counties of England in the winter of 1830-1 and this movement became known as the Captain Swing rebellion. This was a sort of agricultural labourers’ version of Ned Ludd and, whilst its focus was mainly to the south of the county, Derbyshire was affected to a degree. The destruction of threshing machines was one tactic employed that is redolent of Luddism, agricultural wages had dropped locally from 14s6d in 1815 to 11s0d in 1830. Threatening, anonymous letters were sent to important people in the county, backing the Swing movement and rick burning took place in villages near to Derby. At Breadsall, the school master, Samuel Rowbottom, identified the motives of the incendiarists as being dissatisfaction with their wages. A series of scattered incidents took place in the county, perhaps more reflecting solidarity with the more unsettled position in Lincolnshire. Although two strikes occurred in Derbyshire and, at the beginning of December 1830, a “gentleman” was the target of arson at Long Eaton. Another case of arson, against a maltster, was reported to have taken place at Ockbrook, close to Derby, in 1831. The one case of transportation from Derbyshire to New South Wales must have generated local resentment.
Only a few months after this, a political `riot’ against the failure of the authorities to progress political democracy took place in Derby itself but, before this could happened tensions built up. A contemporary account, written on 24th November by Edward Soresby of Brailsford Hall to his son, then at school at Rugby, told of a procession organised to 'greet' Sir Roger Gresley, an unsuccessful Tory candidate in the parliamentary elections, at the turnpike on the Burton Road.  A mile or two out of Derby there was an "immense number upon the road of the most blackguard villains of that now radical town. They began hissing and throwing mud the moment Sir Roger Gresley's carriage was in sight. When we got near the town, where stones and bricks were placed it appears on the other side of the hedge, the brutal work began and continued to St. Peter's Street".
Gresley's party was pelted with missiles and the "farmers threatened revenge...neither constables, militia or even the Radbourne troop...came to our assistance". Soresby reported that various local ‘gentlemen’ - Meynell, Curzon, Gell - all had "severe blows with bricks and stones". His wife, Elizabeth Cox, wrote on the back of the letter a short note to her son, Willie, in which she revealed that his "friend, Mr Deane, is a staunch Tory and was on horseback in the procession. He dealt blows freely with his stick on the radical villains, and while he was doing so a man named Tunnaling (a dancing master) called to him and said 'Sir! You are beating your friends'. This was a trick; they were not of his party". Tunnaling was, it seems, subsequently seen "aiding and encouraging the mob" and strenuous efforts were begun to "take away his commission as a member of the Yeoman Cavalry".
Such was the general mood of the ordinary people. The Liberals found themselves pressured by such enthusiasm and anger into proposing a Reform Bill in the Commons. A national trial of strength developed and a working class version of the political unions was formed - the National Union of the Working Classes - which merged the radical republicanism of earlier years with co-operativism and a vague moral socialism. While the former bodies aimed simply for some extension of the franchise, the NUWC wanted universal suffrage (i.e. the vote for all). Even more controversially, it adopted a socialist stance according to an unsympathetic contemporary and believed that: "Everything which was produced belonged to those who by their labour produced it and ought to be shared among them, that there ought to be no accumulation of capital in the hands of anyone to enable him to employ others as labourers, and thus by becoming a master make slaves of others under the name of workmen".  Tensions between the political unions and NUWC existed everywhere, for if the style of the latter did not feel totally uncomfortable in the face of the kind of hostility shown to Roger Gresley, the political unions favoured a much lower profile. One of the first expressions of this sedate style in Derby was the organising of a petition to the Duke of Wellington, the Prime Minister, signed by local magistrates, clergy and farmers, appealing for something to be done to improve the lot of the poor by means of relief. Pic: working a spinning machine, or `engine'
The second attempt to progress a Reform Bill through Parliament was made in 1831. The abolition of the rotten boroughs and the extension of the franchise to the middle-classes, tenant and leasehold farmers were proposed. But it all fell short of universal suffrage; despite this, the expectations of the people were considerable and all eyes were on Parliament. In Derby there was tremendous excitement about the vote on the Bill, especially as it reached the Lords - the last stage necessary to make it an Act and thus the law of the land. A great crowd gathered in the Cornmarket to hear the result on Saturday evening, 8th October. An express rider, travelling from London to Manchester, arrived in Derby about seven o'clock and was carrying copies of the special edition of the 'Sun' newspaper. The details of the rejection of the Bill by the Lords, with a vote of 199 to 158, were in the paper. 
As the realisation spread, there grew substantial discontent amongst the crowd. However, all was entirely peaceful until anti-reformers began to provoke them by giving three cheers for the majority. As a sign of their sadness the crowd ensured that the bells of All Saints', St. Alkmund's and St. Peter's churches began the muffled peals of traditional mourning, which lasted until three o'clock the next morning. Meanwhile, by ten o'clock on the Saturday night, an even bigger crowd was assembled in the market place and was again taunted by the anti-reformers. The crowd responded by attacking the shop of William Bemrose, a Tory anti-reformer who owned and edited the `Derbyshire Courier'. Bemrose had provocatively and enthusiastically displayed an anti-reform petition in his shop. Every window was broken with stones and damage caused to stock and premises. The crowd spilt into groups, which attacked the houses of prominent anti-reformers. Mr Eaton and the Reverend C S Hope of St. Alkmund's had windows smashed and doors and shutters damaged. Some tore down palisades to arm themselves with rough and ready `spears'. Thomas Mozley, a Tory solicitor, who had the anti-reform petition printed, had his house attacked; while some of the crowd moved to Sir Robert Wilmot'sChaddesden Hall, others went to the Mundy's Markeaton Hall on the Ashbourne Road where the mansions and grounds were attacked and damaged. Much of the furniture of the hall was thrown into the fishpond, but Mrs Mundy's main complaint later was that, as all the windows were broken, she could not undress for bed for four nights until the necessary repairs!
On Sunday, the morning after the outburst, C M Lowe the Mayor and the town officials met at nine o'clock to discuss the affair. While this was happening a large crowd gathered in the market place, immediately beneath the council chamber. There had been some arrests the previous night and the people had gathered to demand the release of those concerned. On the Mayor's refusal they marched to the borough gaol in Friar Gate where a lamp post was pulled down to break open the prison door. Immediately the crowd ensured the release of the 23 people in gaol. The populace then moved to the then new County Prison where Governor Eaton had an armed group of men to frighten them off. Several were wounded and a young man called Garner died that evening from his injuries. The crowd dispersed only to reform again that night. Some 1,500 made another attempt to release those held in the County Prison. A troop of the 15th Hussars had arrived from Nottingham and stood in the path of the crowd. The people then diverted across to Little Chester where they again began to cause damage to the anti-reformers houses. Throughout that night the soldiers marched the streets to stop further crowd assembly. The troops met with fierce resistance around All Saints' Church where great numbers of stones were thrown at them. In retaliation for this, one soldier deliberately followed one of the members of the crowd who had thrown a stone at his chest into King Street; there the soldier calmly and ruthlessly shot him in the thigh. Very soon the troops controlled the streets, but only by sheer force of arms.
On the following day, Monday, the people rallied yet again in the market place. This time the Mayor had stalls set up with a petition calling on the King to redress grievances and leaflets expressing the concern of the town. Such conciliatory measures could not make up for the fury of the people at the violence of the troops and those responsible for calling them out. The stalls were pushed over and the petitions and leaflets trampled underfoot. The Mayor hurriedly began to read the Riot Act, which in itself was always an incentive to violence; for the reading of the Act meant that troops would attack anyone still present in an hour’s time. The Mayor's action only generated the contempt of the crowd and, sensing this, the Cavalry charged straight away without waiting the hour stipulated by law. A man named Hicking, who was simply an innocent bystander, was shot dead in the melee. Many people received sabre wounds and the crowd melted away in fear of their lives.
In a letter dated 10th October 1831, written from Ockbrook, the Reverend Samuel Hay described the position at Derby to his son in Leeds. "The town had all the air of a besieged palace ... the Mayor was at the entrance (to the town) riding in haste between two Hussars". Every house in Queen Street was shut up, the "upper story windows defended with planks". At Lord Scarsdale's residence there were 150 armed men, and several pieces of cannon, placed to repel any potential marauding crowd. In one of the clashes, a cavalry officer cut off a man's arm at the shoulder with one blow of his sword. All public houses were closed for three days by military orders, and soldiers were instructed to shoot anyone seen on the streets after six o'clock in the evening.
Special constables patrolled the town all through Monday and Tuesday. Houses along the main street were ordered to light up at the front for the very few street lamps Derby then possessed had been broken in the street battles. At midnight on Tuesday two troops of Yeomanry arrived from Leicestershire to stay in the town for some time in a show of major military force. Some arrests were made and, at the Assizes in March 1832, eleven people were charged with breaking into the Borough Gaol. The jury found most of the accused 'not guilty' - to cheers in the crowded court. Two others, one of which was only 17 years old, were sentenced to seven years transportation for housebreaking and robbery. The events were so traumatic that the authorities decided it was necessary to reinforce the military security of the local prisons; eight Martello towers, each containing an arsenal of firearms, were erected over the new prison in preparation for any future attack. 
Such fury as these events revealed gave rise, subsequently, to a major stepping up of the campaign for reform a formally established Derby Political Union (DPU) began to act "without reference to Birmingham", after it was set up as an independent body with the BPU's assistance late in 1831. A crowded public meeting was convened at the Ship public house in Ford Street one Tuesday evening, late in December. A William Baker, of Bag Lane, chaired the meeting and called upon the two existing members of a political union (presumably the BPU) to speak. Mr Vickers, of Belper, proposed the formation of a local Derby Political union, receiving the support of Mr G Mart, probably George Mart, a pottery worker who became prominent in the Chartist movement in the Potteries area of Stoke-on-Trent in the late 1830s. He was also probably the Mart involved in the 1833-34 Derby Turnout, of which more later. An excited debate ensued, during the course of which a Belper activist, called Meakin, declared that he was "one of that class which Lord Brougham had designated the mob, and another statesman, the swinish multitude". Skevington, later to become a key figure in Derby Chartism, was elected the president of the DPU.
The 1832 Reform Act, which eventually followed, granted the vote to male urban inhabitants paying a rent of not less than £10 per annum. However, the total number of new voters nationally was only 130,000, for such a rent was only paid by fairly well to do people. Only 1,384 voters were created in Derby, slightly more than double the pre-reform electorate, in a population of 23,607. The working class, which had played such a decisive role in the struggle for reform, got little out of the advance; it only benefited their middle strata allies within the political unions. Yet the celebrations were in themselves occasion for the demonstration of the organising ability of the people, for it had been a big step forward. The election of 1832 was the first seriously contested election in Derby. The Liberals, Henry Cavendish and Edward Strutt were re-elected with 884 and 716 votes respectively. The sole Tory candidate for the two seats, Sir C Colville, gained only 430 votes.
A Reform Bill Rejoicings Committee was set up and held meetings at the Town Hall throughout December 1832. Over £900 was collected to enable the Committee to organise joyful celebrations. William Bourne's pottery firm of Belper and Denby, which normally manufactured ginger beer and spirit bottles, using clay from a local bed, produced a celebratory gin flask. This bore the likeness of the above-mentioned Lord Brougham, one of the key figures in the Liberal-Whig establishment behind much of the 1832 Bill. The bottle was labelled "Brougham's Reform Cordial"; while the likeness of Brougham bore a scroll entitled "The Second Magna Charta" (i.e. Carta). Brougham later proved his position on the 'mob' when, as Lord Chancellor he supported the prosecution of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
Some 24 trades unions appointed committees in Derby to ensure the biggest "display of flags and banners that was never witnessed before in this country". The printers of Derby produced a highly illuminated scroll in commemoration of the enactment of reform, on the streets and actually during the celebratory procession. The scroll greatly extolled the virtues of the freedom of the press. The procession was a huge affair - a galaxy of the trades: smiths, weavers, bookbinders, brushmakers, moulders, silk hands, lace operatives and compositors marched through the streets of the town. Everywhere throughout the county, victory receptions were held. At Wirksworth, a dinner at the Crown took place for the well to do, while 300 working men dined at different public houses in the town. 500 buns were distributed to the children and 300 women had a celebration tea. Similar events were laid on for 70 at Bolehill and 50 at Steeple House. At Newbridge the men dined on beef at the 'Working Miners' public house. At Wash Green, 30 men had a dinner at the Ship Inn, while 50 children had plum pudding and ale for their treat. Hatters, employed by Thelwall at Millhouses Green, had a feast and Evans' millhands did the same. A whole sheep was roasted at Matlock Bath while 40 sat down to a dinner. £300 was collected in Belper, and Strutt gave "2 fat oxen worth £60" for the feast. 
Even in the festivity, a symbolic, even perhaps practical, difference between those who had won the vote and those who had helped them to achieve it was underlined by the two-tier events that predominated. For many, the understanding that this was only the start of political reform was clear. The high to middle-income strata, which had the fruits of success, were satisfied and believed the issue to be settled. For they believed the mercantile and industrial basis of their trade enabled them to represent fairly the interests of the mass of the people who were often their own employees.
Whilst this was only a marginal advance, at least the elections were no longer "settled at the Bell Inn, Derby" as one contemporary put it. Previously, one MP had been "generally nominated by the Duke of Devonshire and one by the Tories".  Now some measure of democratic control had been provided, however slight. Despite this, the election that followed the Act was marked by stories of intimidation and violence. Lord Chesterfield's steward was supposed to have threatened the pottery firm of Floyd, Hill and Wilding at Chesterfield that he would pull down the works, which were on his land, unless they voted the right way. One of Lord Anglesey's tenants was threatened unless he voted for Anglesey's preferred candidate. 
Thus, the limited success of 1832 only served to stimulate the reform movement further and it reached a massive degree of support. 230,000 people attended one of the largest demonstrations ever held in the Midlands at Newhall Hill, Birmingham, on 20th May 1833. Many from Derby attended this regional demonstration. The battle for the vote was now to assume a distinctly different character. The political unions, which continued the suffrage campaign, acted quite distinctly from the trades unions, which had, historically, prohibited political and religious discussions at their meetings. This had been partly a protective measure designed, on the surface at least, to distance the trade protection societies from radical revolutionary activities and consequently ward off the unwelcome attention of the law. In the wake of the Reform Act, trades unionism was given a new lease of life. 
The resurgence of the trades union movement in 1830-34 was possible only because of the struggles of the earlier period of illegality. While many ordinary workers joined a union for the first time during the period of GNCTU's ascendancy, the organisations themselves were based on a core of trades unionists, schooled by the experience of previous years. A new courage was required of Derby's working class, one well described by Friedrich Engels, a sympathetic commentator and the political collaborator of Karl Marx, who believed it self-evident: "That courage is required for a turnout (i.e. strike or lockout) ... much loftier courage ... than for an insurrection". It was no trifle, he argued, to endure hunger and wretchedness for months with wife and children. This perseverance of the British working class developed that side of the character that, for Engels, "commands most respect". 
2 THE MARTYRS OF RIVER STREET
Twenty-five years of illegality had ensured that few had experience or knowledge of how to actually run an organisation. The massive body that was the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union (GNCTU), the first TUC or even perhaps the `one big union' of later, syndicalist years, was to rely strongly on the maturity of existing societies which gave support to the idea of 'general unionism', while retaining their own specific identity. As we have seen, in Derbyshire, the Friendly Iron Moulders' Society was amongst those who provided this source of strength. Even before the heady events of the Derby Turnout, the moulders had established themselves as a local vanguard. For example, when the textile employers at Ashton cut the wages of their workers, forcing action, in Derby it was the Iron Moulders who immediately set up a local defence fund.
The concept of GNCTU developed out of the ideas of Robert Owen, the philanthropic Utopian socialist. Himself a textile manufacturer - a cotton spinner and merchant - Owen grew to adopt co-operative ideals and transformed his New Lanark Mills into a model factory. Prior to 1817, he was no more than a philanthropic employer, but, as he looked at the world of work with a critical eye, he saw that the very system of competition was the cause of much of the misery of the working class. Influenced by French philosophers, Owen evolved a Utopian ideal rooted in concepts of co-operation and conciliation. He saw it as essential that the masters be convinced by the force of logic alone of the errors of the system that they benefited from. His own evidence to an 1816 enquiry revealed that, while his views on the degree to which child labour ought to be exploited differed from most manufacturers, he did not hold very modern views on children. He himself employed children from the age of ten upward, working for ten and three quarter hours exclusive of mealtimes - twelve hours at the mill. Owen believed twelve years of age was the best time for children to start work, but only for ten and half hours at the most! The unpalatable truth, for those who would bask in the distant glow of Owen's supposed socialism, that whilst his theories were based on co-operation, they were centred upon a "purely business foundation, the outcome, so as to say, of a commercial calculation. Throughout it maintained this practical character." 
Whilst Owenism was concerned with how to best employ the wages system, rather than a root and branch struggle against the system, it did not oppose combination as a means of working class improvement. For a time Owen saw trades unionism as an ally in his struggle for a more enlightened approach from the masters. In a sense GNCTU was at once a trades union and a co-operative society. Its aim was to supplant capitalism by a co-operative system of workers' control. At first a very informal body, it spread dramatically, enrolling half a million members in no time, thus increasing total union membership in Britain by 50% - a strength not attained again until the 1890's. Distrust of parliamentary forms of struggle was particularly strong in Derby after the partial advance of the 1832 Reform Act. Flirtation with co-operativism, however, soon cooled as Owenism's concepts of class reconciliation collided sharply with the practical experience of hardheaded trades unionists. Indeed, some unions refused to join GNCTU because of Owen's views and, as GNCTU grew, a conflict between the two views developed. Despite this, GNCTU's influence spread rapidly and it seemed that nothing could stop the trend. "The whole country is astir with what are called TRADE UNIONS..." wrote Cobbett, "Better call for a law to prevent those inconvenient things called Spring Tides."
Clearly, from the employers’ point of view this massive body had to be stopped, or it could undermine the entire system. The masters, or as Marx dubbed them, the Millocracy, recognised the importance of the outcome and chose their battleground carefully. In November 1833, the employers in Derby, where GNCTU was just becoming very strong, presented a 'document' to their workers. It was a tactic of presenting a statement renouncing the union; those who refused to sign would be locked out. The use of the `document' tactic had sharply increased after the 1825 repeal of anti-union legislation. The choice of Derby as the site of battle was possibly no accident, since it was quite a centre for textiles, lace and silk in particular. While the invention of new machines deprived thousands of employment elsewhere, it created an entirely new field of employment, especially for women, in Derbyshire. In 1830 there were thirteen silk mills in Derby and five or six in Glossop and Chesterfield. By the following year there were some forty lace manufacturers in the county, employing almost 5,000 people. 
Pic: working a machine for fixing tags to laces at the Silk Mill
The industry thrived on exploitative child labour. Doherty, the founder of the GNCTU's immediate predecessor, the National Association for Protection of Labour, had found that "in the area of Glossop...not more than one manufacturer obeyed the law". At Hatfield in Derbyshire, he saw children going into factories at five o'clock in the morning and not returning until nine in the evening. The children told him that they were "stopped 2d for every ten minutes they were late".  Karl Marx described the silk manufacturers in particular as believing they had "special seigniorial (feudal rights of the Lord of the manor) rights over the children of the proletariat". They uncaringly ensured the day-long spinning of silk "out of the blood of little children, who had to be placed on stools" in order to work. Only in 1833 was the employment of children under the age of nine years prohibited by statute, much to the rage of the silk magnates. The campaign of pressure began to win legislation to control hours of work of all textile workers to eight hours and won much support amongst all the hands. But the masters had already found ways around even the first restrictions, particularly the sections limiting the employment of under-14 year olds to nine hours a day. The manufacturers "howled out in threatening fashion (that) 'if the liberty of working children of any age for ten hours a day were taken away, it would stop their works'"; for the masters claimed they would not be able to find enough youngsters to work the mills. One report on the death of a girl who had reached the age of fourteen only to die of 'fever', revealed their conditions of life. Working at Milford or Darley Mills for 15d a week, starting work at 4am and finishing at 8pm, the "deficient sustenance and clothing obtained by the miserable pittance of her wages were causes quite sufficient to render this poor child unusually liable to fever." Somewhat lamely, the report recommended porter or black beer, which would supposedly give added strength, as a solution to the problem. 
Against this background it proved easy to win the textile factory workers - men, women and, yes, children - to the idea of taking matters into their own hands. Robert Owen found a sympathetic, indeed even adulatory hearing, initially, amongst the newly organised working class. The new and powerful Builders' Union saw in Owenism a theoretical justification to their practical activities, while Owen saw them as a basis for a broader unionism that would in turn be the catalyst for his ideas. The Builders actually held aloof from a formal merging into GNCTU, but it proved very popular with unorganised textile workers in Derby, where by November 1833 societies had been formed under the GNCTU umbrella for "framework knitters of plain silk hose and the shoemakers".
Pic: cutting and hollowing tags at the Silk Mill
The precise organisational form of GNCTU remained somewhat uncertain - even after the founding conference it was unclear - some societies saw themselves as at once members of GNCTU and still independent bodies. The "rallying of the bricklayers and plasterers to the Builders' Union" was in this category and was particularly noted in Derby. James Morrison, the Birmingham builders' leader, speaking in London in early 1834, recalled that those seeking to create GNCTU had "great prejudices to contend against, arising from the partiality of many or the operatives to their own particular trades, and from the pride which had sprung from the possession of large funds, which had also given rise to the feeling that (such societies) ought to have superior power" in the larger consolidated union. Moreover, massive recruitment came in so fast that it proved impossible to effectively control the new membership. The first Derby lodge met at the 'Pheasant', started with 37 members and rose to 1,500 within seven weeks. Derby had a town's committee of two delegates from each lodge. Particular trades had their own lodge - silk throwsters, weavers, hosiery workers, building operatives and ironworkers. The Friendly Society of Weavers, a lodge of GNCTU, met for example at the 'Fox and Owl'. The town's District Secretary was John Hall, and the GNCTU's journal, "The Pioneer or Trades Union Magazine", circulated widely in the town. 
Pic: part of a modern mural celebrating the Turnout
The immediate cause of the 'Derby Turnout' was when a workman at a City Road silk mill refused to accept a fine for disputed faulty work. The employer, the Derby silk manufacturer Frost (of Frost & Stevenson's, Queen Street), dismissed the man, without hesitation, on the 21st November 1833. Immediately 800 workers came out in solidarity, a vast number considering Derby's population, then some 24,000 of which perhaps not more than perhaps a couple of thousand were factory workers. Even more were to turn out. Representatives of the twenty employers in Derby from the silk trade met at the Kings Head on 25th November. A decisive resolution was adopted [see appendix A to this chapter]. While superficially acknowledging the right of workers to withhold their labour, they argued that unions damaged trade. Moreover, they objected to what they saw as dictation to them on matters at work - what today we would call management prerogative. Pre-empting the example of Tolpuddle, the employers concentrated on the secret oath which bound trades unionists - a mystical ceremony calculated to "overawe the minds of credulous and unsuspecting men, and render them the unconscious slaves and ready tools of their more crafty leaders". 
This was used as an excuse to immediately lock out not only the 800 'turnouts', but also all who were in support of GNCTU unless they signed what the 'Pioneer' considered the "scrawl of ignominy". In the process, a few workers were, quite falsely, believed to be unionists and wrongly locked out. Such an attitude merely served to alienate an entire community. The document tactic didn't work either; not only did the 'turnouts' and those locked out remain firm, but by the end of November other workers had struck in solidarity. They included the GNCTUorganised builders, pottery workers, weavers and also the iron moulders of Britannia Foundry. By the 4th December 1,300 were out and strike pay of 7/- a week was being paid. Clearly, finance would be crucial to the success of the dispute.
While a troop of the 2nd Dragoon Guards was immediately stationed in the town and large numbers of special constables were sworn in, the "public peace was not in the slightest degree interrupted."  There was no need for violence; the frustration that usually fuels such a response did not arise since the town's workers were solid. Early in December a very few workers went back at S J Wright's, but it was mostly new employees that helped start the mills up again. Generally, the masters remained inflexible, refusing to take any union members back. Indeed Wright and Baker's silk mill in Agard Street was more than honest when advertising for 'staffmen', overlookers and mill men in the Reporter on December 5th. "No person need apply who is not willing to sign a declaration that he is not a member of the "Trades Union", nor a contributor, directly or indirectly, to its funds." Such actions could have only hardened attitudes, for despite the hardships vast numbers stayed out solidly, with some new people joining the turnouts.
TURNOUTS IN DERBY IN DECEMBER
Men Women Children
Smallware weavers 176 24 -
Silk throwsters 71 449 376
Silk twisters 53 - 53
Bobbin net or lace 130 25 25
Tailors 3 - -
Bricklayers 25 - -
Masons 3 - -
Labourers 10 - -
Carpenters/joiners 24 - -
TOTAL 495 498 454
GRAND TOTAL= 1447 - this would rise to two thousand by February
In the face of this, the employers tried to box clever. They had to admit the right to combination in some form, but to attack the secret oath could be a way out, implying sinister forces behind the innocent dupes that were the turnouts. The masters published a copy of an alleged oath, asking all who loved their country to "consider what might be the secret and ultimate designs, which require to be disguised by this dreadful oath"! Hints of evil French Revolutionary practice were clearly intended. A revolt at the gigantic silk mill in Lyons in France in 1831 (and again, later, in 1834) was bloodily suppressed and the repercussions were felt all across Europe. The masters can hardly have not taken this into account. But, in reality the oath was fairly innocent, the member swearing not to work with non-unionists and to keep from the employer the secrets of the lodge. Failure to honour this would "plunge ones soul into eternity". [See Appendix B for full text]. 
In fact unions had tried to abolish the secret oaths, which had their origins in the Friendly Societies. The oath acquired a special solemnity during the period of the Combination Acts. Leaders of the unions thought them relics, but in the minds of working people they were an important part of developing a sense of collective allegiance. The entire strategy of the masters in using this ploy simply failed to take effect. Of particular importance in sustaining the 'turnouts', was the solidarity expressed with them throughout the country. The 'Pioneer' played a decisive role in this, inspiring the workers with tales of support and stimulating massive collections of money. Other radical journals supporting the Derby workers were: the True Sun, the Poor Man's Guardian, the Man and the Crisis. Thomas Collumbell, of 2 River Street, was the Derby agent for the Pioneer. A skilled cabinetmaker and upholsterer on his own account, he was in consequence able to consider himself independent of the threats and pressures of the masters. The paper circulated widely in the town even amongst the general public, for there was a strong sense of community identity with the unionists". The Owenite journal The Crisis reported on December 28th that "the barbers of Derby shave the Union men who are turned out, for nothing”! while Robinson, a master miller, offered his services to buy and mill flour. A non-trades unionist from the town wrote to the 'Pioneer' condemning the hypocrisy of the so-called "reformers and defenders of the peoples' rights" who he thought were now found wanting. Those who had seemed so progressive in the struggle for the vote in 1832 now did not want to know.
Stirring messages of support were sent to the 'turnouts' via the 'Pioneer', as in an open letter to the "Distressed Operatives" of Derby from the GNCTU lodges in Birmingham - "Men of Derby, fear not; your cause is won!!!" Derby sent a man, whom the 'Pioneer' believed to be called Morledge, as a delegate to a solidarity meeting held in Birmingham in late December. Perhaps this was an alias, for the strikers headquarters were in a street of the same name. Such interest was widespread. From Leeds, Samuel Lucas of the Bricklayers' Union was sent as a delegate to Derby to investigate the details of the turnout. He reported many cases of hardship. One - the "Widow Walker" - who lived at Court 1, River Street, had a 14-year-old son who was denied Parish Relief because he "smelt" of trades unionism. Lucas went to see her and found her living on potato peelings. Another widow and her two girls locked up the house all day, not rising from bed because they had nothing to eat. Several families were given notice to quit houses rented to them by some of the masters.
Women were particularly hit by the turnout and received special financial support from women's and men's trade societies, as witnessed by the regular lists of contributors published in the 'Pioneer'. But all the finance raised was still insufficient; nonetheless some impressive sums were raised. By the end of December the following amounts had been donated. 
Nottingham £28 Derbyshire £94
Worcester £50 Hinckley £20
Leek £10 Sheffield £3:14s
Shepshed£10 London £10
Melbourne £2:4s Castle Donnington£1:10s
The Birmingham Labour movement even had a 'Derby Committee', which received funds at the Town Hall Tavern, which operated as its HQ.
Left: A Co-operative store illustrated in 1830
Fearing widespread disorder, which might develop as attitudes hardened, the establishment began to mobilise. Douglas Fox, the mayor, enrolled special Constables and the 2nd Dragoon Guards were sent from Nottingham to Derby with the specific aim of defending private property. The turnouts had other things in mind, however. As part of the overall strategy determined by GNCTU'sOwenite philosophy, the organisation was, in equal measure, meant to be a co-operative and a union. As the dispute seemed less winnable, thoughts turned to setting up in competition with the masters whose mills were being run by strike-breakers, or `black sheep' as they were then known. (See Appendix D to this chapter for a discussion on the names used for strike breakers.). An advertisement was inserted by the Derby GNCTU Committee in the local papers on 1st January 1834, seeking to buy silk machinery. In response, on 15th January, the employers advertised jobs, making it clear that "No trade unionists need apply". But to really succeed, the employers had to keep their mills working and strike-breakers were imported into Derby, at first from within Britain but later from abroad. Early in January the Pioneer reported that "9 more willing slaves have left London for Derby, let us put their names on the black list". The Pioneer's blacklist did restrict British strike-breakers quite successfully in the first few months. In the meantime, the turnouts settled in for a long haul. For all the co-operative ideals, the idea of putting the strikers to work, failed to materialise.
While the idea of putting turnouts to alternative production to undercut the capitalists might have seemed attractive, it presented certain problems. First capital had to be acquired, and the ‘Pioneer’, with a view to raising finance, broadcast Derby’s idea. Speaking in London in February, Owen made the point that the Derby workers were being supported at a weekly expense of £350 to survive the lockout, "which sum is now being spent in an unprofitable manner", when money could have been used in putting men and women to work.  But how practical was this desire, faced with the urgency of preventing real starvation? The Birmingham 'Derby Committee' considered a scheme for a mill, which would cost £1,680 to build and £1,221 to secure the necessary machinery - it was a colossal sum. Despite this, such a mill would only employ 17 men, 17 boys and 136 women, less than a tenth of the turnouts. In the circumstances, such an aim was totally unrealistic; despite this, an air of unreality still pervaded. John Doherty, the NAPL founder, addressed a meeting in Derby just before Christmas for several hours and was well received. In contrast, the famous Robert Owen visited Derby in January, providing only utopianism, not bread: "The time has arrived when a new system of things is to take the place of the old. A change which will equalise rank, abolish the distinction that wealth and intelligence creates and go far to erect in their stead a golden age". Perhaps the fact that he addressed both masters and workers in separate meetings almost as an 'independent' conciliator also served to disillusion the workers as to Owen's leadership. For he now seemed to say that he supported the right of workers to combine in the same way he urged the masters to associate together - in the interests of both sides achieving mutual debate.
Owen addressed a crowded meeting of mainly trades unionists at the Lancastrian schoolroom on the Thursday evening of January 2nd. The Pioneer's main contact, Collumbell, chaired the meeting, during the course of which Owen seemed more concerned to highlight the founding in Derby of a local branch of the newly formed Manchester based National Regeneration Society. This would agitate for the 8-hour day – as it would turn out, a bold but almost ridiculously premature demand - as a means to cultivating sound mind and character, literally for national regeneration. Owen declared himself quite sure that within a week the masters and their workers would confer together and he "hoped their differences would be terminated forever". It was but a most forlorn hope. Owen met the masters on the Friday morning at the Kings Head, holding a long and interesting philosophical debate about everything under the sun; but the question of a settlement came to nought. Owen declared his willingness to return in a few weeks if it would be of help, for he was "happy to be a mediator". 
Faced with this failure of utopian socialism to recognise class realities, the turnout's efforts in the more practical area of co-operativism were more successful. GNCTU had a provision store in Derby, selling flour at 1s9d for a stone when the regulation price was 2s2d. (A stone is 14 pounds weight, or 6.35 kilograms.) Tons of bacon were sent there from Birmingham to be sold at subsidised prices.  In another vein, the ladies of Bradshaw Street in Derby launched a programme of education for the children released from work by the turnout. A fund was launched by GNCTU to pay for the two rooms hired to act as a school.
The emphasis of the activities of the turnouts shifted to demonstrative action, designed to boost morale. For the local papers now believed that "the conflict cannot last long".  How false was that view! And how it must have generated a determination to prove the detractors wrong! On the 24th January one of the trades unionists died and a long funeral procession, from the union's headquarters, the Castle and Falcon, to the cemetery, was arranged. Eighty women, wearing white dresses and hoods, walked three abreast, followed by GNCTU officials, "carrying the bible and other insignia, after whom came sixteen hundred people, representing numerous trades, walking three abreast and wearing white rosettes with a sprig of laurel". 
Strikebreaking labour was increasingly imported to start the mills going again. The 'Pioneer' regularly printed the offending names in its columns. Particular attention was paid to Peet's small ware factory in Bridge Street, as he began going further afield to find fresh labour. "Mr Peat in the small ware way at Derby has been to London and engaged the annexed list of hands from Bethnal Green. He gave them 40 (the figure was emphasised in the original text since it was an awful lot of alcohol) pots of strong ale, starting at London".  The paper then listed 16 names of strike-breakers and related now Peet had arranged beds at his factory for the London workers. He developed the practice of telling these that he had opened a new factory in Derby and required Labour. A man called Mayblin confessed to the Pioneer his unwitting role as a `blacksheep'. "When we arrived at Derby ... how ashamed I was! We were hooted and hissed by the women and children... Inside the building there was an excellent dinner of roast beef".  Mayblin decided it was all too much for him and later escaped from the factory over the wall and made his way back to London.
Others were less concerned. No doubt aided and prompted by their masters, 29 employees wrote an open letter to the public explaining that the strike was "no fault of ours" and that they were simply fulfilling the duties they owed to their "families and to society, better by seeking honest employment here, than by continuing in London in idleness, poverty and misery". Meanwhile, early in February, a party of drunken ‘black-sheep’ who were returning from the Seven Stars in King Street, one Saturday night, stabbed a by-stander in three places. The authorities were obliged to find the culprit, Henry Ingram, guilty of grievous bodily harm. But while he was sentenced to death, this was commuted to life transportation, then seven years transportation, and then there was a strong suggestion in the press that he would be released. No doubt this unprovoked act of aggression by a strikebreaker helped to harden feelings further, "the feeling of opposition among the work-people seems rather on the increase than otherwise, and latterly a considerable number of females have ceased from their usual employment" reported the local newspaper. The dispute widened, as the employers tried to force those still working to sign declarations that they would not contribute to funds for the strikers. 
Two thousand were out by the time of the traditional Shrove Tuesday football game that, although banned, nonetheless started off at the Market Place as usual. All the strikers and their supporters came out to kick the huge ball, filled with cork shavings, around the town. The event became an enormous solidarity march, which met outside the Infirmary on London Road. The procession was organised with military exactitude. Women led the march, four abreast, followed by joiners, shoemakers, sawyers, silk-weavers, labourers, plasterers, framework knitters, small ware weavers, bricklayers and stonemasons who marched three abreast with colourful flags and banners proclaiming mottos: "Union is Strength" and "Knowledge is Power". Many more wore crimson silk bands, with knots tied over their shoulders. By the time the procession moved off there were some 600 women in the lead of a 2,000 strong march. They toured the local villages to demonstrate their defiance.
Reaching Duffield, the crowd stopped at the White Lion for provisions. A four-acre field opposite was filled with wooden seats for the women; a large marquee was erected and a gigantic wooden fire burned in the very centre of the festivities. A rally, with stirring speeches, was held while, no doubt, the thirsty marchers were able to find sustenance at the White Lion. The mood was almost carnival, "the females singing all the way, and through the streets of Derby, hymns and popular songs. Many remarks of good-feeling was expressed by respectable people as the procession moved along, such as - 'What sort of man can that be, who has the heart to starve such females as these?' And several others expressed their astonishment that, after 10 weeks privation, the women could look so clean and respectable".  Many local people came to greet the marchers, Ward, Brettle & Ward of Belper even allowed hands unpaid time off to see the procession at Duffield. Exhilarated by the experience, the turnouts marched again the next day in a similar vein to Spondon village.
Apart from the demonstrating, much of the time of the strikers was devoted to picketing. The term was then just becoming current. Borrowed from the military, it truly meant to post a guard of observation and it was the threat implicit in observance in close-knit communities that made the practice so offensive in the minds of non-working class people. Large numbers of turnouts were arrested and jailed for three months for "molesting" blacklegs, or trying to convince workers to "desert" their employers. No hint of violence was suggested, simply that they stood outside a factory and tried to persuade others not to go in. A fact confirmed by a contemporary assessment "although "picketing", or placing turnouts to prevent the introduction of fresh hands, was as usual practised, the turnout was attended by fewer breaches of the peace than almost any on record".  Whether a record was truly broken might well be debatable for, in a series of separate cases, many turnouts - men and women alike - received three months imprisonment each:
John Francis Bailey
Fearn & Radford (both women)
An attempt was made to give an excuse to legally break the union, spreading a rumour that its lodges had firearms concealed at their meeting places. 20 constables and a couple of magistrates broke into all the lodges in Derby, broke open the chests containing lodge property (minutes, accounts, regalia etc). Only two old swords used in the oath taking ceremonies were found of course.
Such legal harassment was the lot of trade union pioneers; on 20th March the Derby papers mildly reported, in the very midst of the turnout, the most notable of such cases. A group of Dorchester agricultural labourers had founded a lodge of GNCTU and had been savagely sentenced under an out-of-date naval law to seven years transportation for taking secret oaths. They were destined to become the 'Tolpuddle Martyrs', named after the village they came from. As with the Derby turnouts the establishment cloaked their hostility to trades unionism in the pretext of their concern for unlawful oaths. The Derby dispute was, in reality, of more significance that the episode of the 'Martyrs', although it proved easier for the movement nationally to win sympathy around the plight of the men in Dorchester. But it seems sad that posterity should award so much affection to the martyrs of Tolpuddle and not to the Martyrs of River Street. For it must be said that the heroism of Derby can only have inspired the men of Tolpuddle and not the other way around.
The Derby magistrates acted quickly, issuing a public statement on the Tolpuddle case dated March 30th. They claimed ignorance of the fact that the law made the oath illegal, but the intensity of the language used by the masters and their allies at the outset of the lockout belies this.  The truth of the matter is that the employers dared not to use such a tactic in Derby. It would have only united the workers even more than they already had been, for the outrage felt at the use of the outdated law against men of Tolpuddle testifies to this. This had been the case in the North West where building workers had already found themselves confronted by legal challenges to the oath.
At the time, however, the workers' movement still saw Derby as their main 'cause celebre'. The Pioneer advocated the case of the turnouts, despite the totally undeserved national press attacks. In May, anti-trade union journals accused the Pioneer of a lukewarm attitude to the Derby events. That this could be so is unlikely, for it was largely to build a movement of solidarity for Derby that the very organisation of GNCTU was further developed in 1834. Although there were those who favoured a low-key approach, arguing that Derby had not asked GNCTU if it could take action. It seems amazing that GNCTU had no formal entity until a national conference of delegates met in London on 18th February 1834. After that an organisation, not only in name but also in substance, was intended. The founding conference made this clear. "The paramount necessity of a unity of action by the Unions, on well-defined plans, is rendered evident by the state of our brethren in Derby." The failure to provide "permanent profitable employment of the turned-out operatives" was seen as totally attributable to the "isolated state in which the unions at present remain". In a sense Derby was GNCTU; its defeat would be the end of the organisation, so the sneering accusations of their enemies were maliciously misplaced.
GNCTU lodges in all parts of the country collected money for the turnouts; a total of £4,783 15s0d. It was not enough though, for it had to be applied partly as strike pay, but also as capital for the co-operative schemes. As soon as GNCTU had adopted a constitution in February, the National Executive decreed a shilling levy. Not that this could be enforced in the absence of a clear organisation.  Local people were especially generous in their contributions, of course. The columns of the Pioneer were littered with acknowledgements of donations and some came from Derbyshire. Amongst many were:
Friends at Heanor13s0d
The ladies of Castle and Traffic Streets 4s 10d
Friends at Duffield 8s 6d
Labouring friends of Quarndon £1 0s 0d
A Belper friend £10 0s 0d
14 Journeymen brush makers of Derbyshire,
in 11 weekly subscriptions £12 8s 0d
Wirksworth 3s 6d
Mrs Blon of Derby £10 0s 0d
Borrowash 2s Od
The brushmakers seem to have observed the levy; during February they gave ten shillings. Naturally much money must have been given directly at local level although even some of the turnouts themselves contributed to their fund centrally. The Plasterers' GNCTU lodge in Derby gave 12s 6d from their funds, while the Bobbin-net lodge gave £2 8s 6d out of their weekly allowance. Presumably the idea was not only to help out the less fortunate, but also to contribute to the grandiose aims of developing local co-operative industry. Derby workers in other towns did not forget their home - for example, the donation of 6d recorded from a "Tramp carpenter in Leamington", a wandering member of the trade, looking for work.
Women played a remarkably important role in the turnout and their strength of feeling was central to its long duration. It seemed the longer it went on, the more determined became the mood of the women. Some of them had been a little reluctant at first; no doubt, being responsible for the household budget made them a little cautious. But as the hardship grew, perhaps it was the very same reason that prompted their sense of determination; that they saw the effects of starvation at close hand as the purse shrank. This heroic mood stirred women throughout the land and the level of women's contributions to the central fund was notable. Ranging from £3 from the females of Earl Shilton, to 6d from Margaret Parrington of Barnsley - "poor in pocket but rich in principle", she described herself.  Pin makers and textile workers contributed regularly and generously, as did every trade in which women worked. The experience generated much support for the idea of trades unions specifically for women. One Derby woman GNCTU member made it plain that the turnout held great significance for women. "Be it known to the world that a female union is begun in Derby, and the tyrants have taken fright at it." 
Pic: working a winding machine at the Silk Mill
The women played their role in the community as well as in the union. Wherever there were 'black sheep' they sought to shun them and to force them out of the locality and their homes. There was no hesitation at this, for the dispute had assumed the very essence of social warfare. The whole community seemed pitched against a few rich and powerful men and those who supported them just for money were considered with repugnance. The Bath Street and River Street neighbourhood was reported to be in a high state of excitement when 'black sheep' were discovered to be living amongst them. The women entered the fray with humour and enthusiasm. Making an effigy of a black sheep, they "burnt it outside the door of the black sheep 'shepherd' ". They then made such a tremendous noise, "the baa-ing was deafening in the extreme", that the 'shepherd' contacted the authorities. Three women, deemed to be ringleaders, were arrested and bound over to keep the peace for twelve months. That would keep them out of action, for to be discovered again in such an occurrence would mean gaol. For good measure they were also fined the considerable sum of 3s 6d each.
In the meantime, the "whole of the black sheep absconded with their shepherd to the neighbourhood of Thorn Tree Lane, accompanied by a band of music formed of various culinary utensils" - the strike-breakers being escorted away to the banging of pots and pans by a crowd of women and children. A kind of moral victory had been won.  To counter this sense of social solidarity, the establishment did not have the benefit of today's electronic and print media. How then could they undermine the resolve of the workers? The best means of mass propaganda of the day was the church and by and large that was firmly on the side of the masters. Symptomatic of the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church was the fact that a clear policy statement on trades unionism was read to a Catholic chapel outside Derby to warn of its evils and squash solidarity. The congregation was warned against "unholy practices" in a shocked tone. The emphasis was entirely on secret "illegal associations" and "profane oaths". Then the ace card was played, for those who supported such things were "totally unfit for the reception of the most holy sacraments"; effectively excommunication from the church - a fearful thing to a devout Catholic. The text of the letter read thus:
"We feel ourselves especially called upon with regard to the labouring portion of our beloved flock, to warn them against unholy practices, which we have been shocked to hear have been lately most injuriously and most wickedly introduced amongst the working part of the community; we mean the entering into illegal associations, and the taking of illegal, unjust and profane oaths, and these aggravated in wickedness by enjoining secrecy. We are bound to declare that, by determining to become members of such illegal associations, or by continuing to join in the same, or by taking such illegal and profane oaths, they render themselves totally unfit for the reception of the most holy sacraments of penance and the Eucharist." 
For the Protestants, Thomas Gisbourne, MA, Prebendary, or Cannon, of Durham, on the strength of being a local man, published a lengthy open letter in the press, addressed to the "Derby Union of Operatives". His open letter was a calculated attempt to convince, by reference to theological logic, those waverers amongst the workers who "have begun to entertain very serious doubts". Arguing that the very act of association was an "unjustifiable confederacy", he explored the validity of an oath or a promise. They both became "null and void when the performance would be contrary to the law of God". His main thrust was to dispel any fears of conscience about breaking the oath of loyalty to GNCTU. God's law, it seemed, did not support trade unions. For, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" - even if the masters didn't; and "Thou shalt do to others as thou wouldest have them do unto thee" - even if they didn't. Not only does God's law forbid unionism, reasoned Gisbourne, but also so does the law of the land and God's law commands us to "submit ourselves to every ordnance of man". Clearly, man's law -however unjust -is God's law. Not content with deep reasoning, he went on to make a bread and butter appeal: "Are you fed better... more comfortably clothed" as a result of the dispute, he asked? 
Even the Methodists were at it too! Fowler, the superintendent at the Methodist Church at Horsley-Woodhouse in Belper, denounced the churchgoer who was a trade unionist in fierce terms. Annoyed with this, several members of the congregation waited for him, bible in hand, to argue it out. Fowler justified himself by saying that he had not wanted to do it, but that he had received instructions from the hierarchy of the church. His refusal to admit that the turnouts had even a case now led to a strike against him. Not one of his congregation joined him in singing the hymns and they "all took a chapel" elsewhere. The Catholics and the Church of England might be able to get away with it, but the Methodists had won support in the manufacturing districts of Derbyshire precisely because they adhered to a democratic structure within the church. Belper was not only a stronghold of Methodism, but also of trades unionism. A GNCTU lodge had been established there in February precisely because of the sympathy for the Derby turnouts, while Belper nailers had levied themselves at 6d per person, per week, in January.
But if the organised machine of the churches was generally used against the trade union movement at this point in history, many individual churchmen and religious lay people were strongly for the workers in struggle. A fellow colleague of Canon Gisbourne at the same cathedral of Durham, Bishop Barrington, saw himself as an open ally of the GNCTU. While the larger than life (in more senses than one!), twenty stone clergyman the Reverend Arthur S. Wade raised funds for the locked-out workers of Derby, taking the chair at a major meeting of solidarity in London and sealing his rallying call for support by "tendering his own subscription, which he said was not a sovereign remedy, although it was a sovereign; but he would repeat it again and again, until no remedy was wanted".  Many who could less afford it followed his example - some £17 was collected at that meeting alone. Amongst the trades contributing were brushmakers, tailors, carpenters, mechanics, carvers and gilders, workers at Messrs Bramah’s (the locksmiths) boot and shoe makers, coopers, dyers and jewellers.
For this, and other activities, Wade found himself pilloried by the hostile press. Defending him against the savage attack of a religious weekly, `the King’, the journal, `the Crisis’ noted that it was not fashionable for priests to exert themselves on behalf of the poor. Throughout the century, the response of organised religion to trades unionism only served to alienate many churches from their flocks. Catholic workers did join trades unions but most, somehow, avoided a conflict with the church until the time when its attitude changed, notably following a papal encyclical late in the century. The Church of England simply lost the practical following of many workers, thus imbalancing the social composition of their flock. Methodists and similar groups fragmented - the Primitive Methodist Church registering phenomenal support in the industrialist rural areas of Derbyshire. With the negative attitude of the official churches to trades unionism, it is small wonder that colourful figures like Zion Ward gained enormous following. A crippled shoemaker, Ward operated from 1829 to 1836. Initially, part of a wider, deeply religious movement, he began to think himself as Christ. The extraordinary thing is that his following grew phenomenally in the urban proletarian areas, including Derby and Chesterfield. Despite his freakish beliefs, Ward cloaked them in radical language and ideas. His anti-establishment millenniumnal appeal won many from official religions. In those pre-Darwinian days, few workers were able to think in non-religious terms and the propaganda of both masters and men tended to be couched in religious phraseology. 
A reading of contemporary journals at least implies the conclusion that while many working class people would have considered themselves as actually pious, others simply projected the dominant, but contradictory, moral and ethical principles of Christianity. The cultural basis of contemporary society then dictated that religious language and imagery was used to convey the ideas of trades unionists, as with almost everyone and everything. Rather a folk message than a gospel - it was certainly the medium, but was it the message? Workers active in the unions tended to cite those ethics reflected in certain biblical texts which favoured the interests of the oppressed in the slave society that had been host to the writing of the Bible, while the capitalist argued his position from those texts which favoured the property owner. Ballads were sung at rallies and meetings because they were good fun; hymns were sung both because they were often the best tunes but also because they were good propaganda. The masters argued that the oath of allegiance to the union was godless, and such a charge in that day and age was scandalous if proved. Understandably, it was in the interests of the unions to constantly declare their adherence to Christianity. While Owen's non-religious approach was unusual - he was personally an atheist - there was little of the almost institutionalised religious involvement that was a distinct feature of the movement in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The key institutions of religion expressed themselves firmly in the favour of the powerful and the wealthy.
Pic: silk doublers at Derby Mill
For all this barrage of religious support for the Derby Millocracy, by March there was still "no apparent prospect of reconciliation taking place between the general body of operatives and their employers".  The 'Mercury' advised that as neither side would back down, the only way out was for the operatives to look for work in other towns. However, it was clear that, while this would not immediately happen, the dispute was nearing its end, albeit very slowly. "By the end of March the workers were starving and victory for the employers was certain."  William Holmes of Nottingham was appointed to attempt to open negotiations with the Derby masters. However, he reported that they had refused to enter into any discussions "unless the men would consent to give up the trades union".  There was never any definite date when the dispute ended, it just began to fade. 600 workers, a third of the turnouts, never returned to work for their former employers, simply refusing to even pretend they had renounced their union. Many, however, took just that course. Early in April the Mercury was claiming a great rush back to work, a statement it later revealed as being exaggerated. Quite without foundation, it claimed that "there is now every appearance of a speedy dissolution of the trades union in Derby".  By 16th April the Mercury claimed the following picture for each company in its editorial: (All silk manufacturers - unless otherwise stated)
“Bridgett's: Weaving looms all at work. Silk twisting wheels all at work. Throwing machinery 2/3rds employed.
Peet’s: Filling rapidly with hands. Every loom at work. Repeated applications from old hands.
Lowe's (throwsters) Machinery fully employed
Boden and Moreley's Every machine at work. Repeated applications from old hands
Frost & Stevenson's: Rather more than half their weaving looms at work.”
The master masons, joiners and bricklayers were reported as "not now experiencing the slightest inconvenience from a want of workmen, and receive applications from work daily". Despite this confidence, a letter from an anonymous "JPR of Derby" in the Pioneer claimed this to be a far from correct version of events. While in April, the Crisis demurely referred to the Mercury report as being "not strictly correct". As always, the commercial press posed the situation in a light suited to their view - i.e. that the strike was over and it would therefore, serve no purpose for those still out to remain out. What than was the reality? Posing the Mercury's own list negatively, rather than positively, we find still quite a few workers out:
Bridgett's: 1/3rd of silk throwsters out
Peet's: had always been fully worked
Lowe's: were not signatories to the master's declaration of November 25th 1833
Wright & Baker's } 1/3rd of all hands still out in all three firms
S J Wright's }
Frost & Stevenson's: slightly less than 1/2 of weavers out, all throwsters and turnsters out
Building firms: only employed 62 workers anyway and their action had been largely symbolic.
Of the textile companies, the only two firms quoted as working totally normally were Bode & Morley's and Johnson's and, more significantly, eleven signatories to the masters' declaration of 25th November were simply not mentioned:
J Cooper's Adin's
Gascoyne's T Cooper's
What were their weavers, throwsters and twister doing? At a crude guess, one might estimate that some thousand or more were still out. Indeed, very many that did return seemed to have signed the document simply to obtain work and therefore wages, by no means intending to renounce the union. The 'Mercury' itself revealed that one Saturday evening in mid-April many lodges ordered that "the women and young persons should immediately renounce their connection with the union and seek to obtain employment".  Several hundreds thus applied for work on Monday. Only about a quarter were taken back, however. The 'Mercury' claimed because their jobs were filled by the blacksheep. By late May, the Pioneer estimated that of the 2,400 originally locked out "a thousand were back at work, but without agreeing to give up the union, nor would they pay a £1 fine". 
The union was far from defeated yet. For many members were employed in companies that dared not, or chose not to, sack them. Mart, a GNCTU local activist, wrote that " there were 900 men in (the) union ... who were never discharged from their employment".  But many loyal to the union were still out of work and would not return in any circumstances other than dignity. They suffered dreadful hardship, Mart wrote to the Pioneer late in May: "In the name ... of the people of Derby, I beg leave to return your own most sincere thanks ... there are at this time several hundreds of people in this town that have not the means to obtain a morsel of bread".  The paper still gave the strikers tremendous encouragement, without it they would have despaired. The masters tried to stop the sale of the Pioneer "with the bitterest persecution. Threats of persecution of every kind are resorted to prevent its circulation", it reported. 
However, if an end came at all to the turn out it was in early June. The May 3rd issue of Crisis talked of the "termination" of the Derby struggle, but did not itself admit to a lack of good quality information from the town. The workers who returned to work were beaten by starvation and those who remained out of work, almost in limbo, neither unemployed nor on strike, were demoralised by lack of funds. If it was a defeat, it had come about by the simple failure of the enormous sums donated to cope with the needs of the turnouts. Some seven months of struggle to support a couple of thousand people financially was just too much for the shaky organisation that GNCTU had developed. Indeed, towards the end, there was much trouble about the distribution of funds acquired for the turnouts. Commenting on the attempts to provide co-operative employment, the radical paper the 'Poorman's Guardian', thought it would have been "more successful had the people of Derby placed themselves under the entire direction of the Birmingham Committee".  Presumably meaning the leadership of Morrison, who had on occasion personally visited Derby? There was more than simply the need to effectively co-ordinate and stimulate solidarity in the mind of the Guardian writer.
There was much talk of misuse of funds, especially by the hostile press. The Guardian believed the ignorance and inexperience of the Derby people made them the "easy prey of a number of idle and rapacious fellows, who, taking advantage of the turnouts, have been living upon the funds upon the plea of rendering service in the collection of subscriptions and other needless occupations". While the Guardian called on the Derby turnouts to remain aloof from these men, the GNCTU liaison officer working out of Derby, James Hall, and J P Robinson, a local leader, strongly denied the claims. Moreover, the local press had long been fuelling rumours to the effect that abuse of the funds was taking place. While bemoaning the misery the turnouts' families were suffering, the Mercury claimed that "those who have been active as delegates etc, appear to have thriven well".  No doubt this was a calculated attempt to drive a wedge between the rank and file and their leadership. The True Sun's reports on abuse were considered to have been in error, arising through the tactless words of one of the members of the GNCTU executive, which were subsequently exploited by the masters and their media. Whatever the truth, centralised control was totally imposed in May, under James Hall.
Undeterred by all this, the Pioneer launched an appeal for funds to help launch a co-operative enterprise in Derby. GNCTU, it reported, had "engaged a silk mill in Bold Lane, for employment of 3,400 hands". Effectively, it was an admission of defeat, and nothing even came of the project. Nonetheless, in the same issue the Pioneer issued a defiant editorial: "Derby has fallen; but she will rise again healed of her bruises, and resolute in struggle; but unity will give her breath".  The decline of GNCTU after the twin hammer blows of Derby and Tolpuddle was as rapid as its growth. Owen's commercial brand of socialism had caused a bitter dispute with the leftwing of GNCTU. It became so sharp a conflict that he closed down the journals of the union to prevent his rivals from expressing their views. This is especially relevant when one considers that the Pioneer was "throughout Morrison's property, expressing his personal views". Morrison was the key leader of the left wing and as full time paid secretary of the Birmingham support committee had thrown the weight of the Pioneer behind the Derby turnouts, much to Owen's distaste. Adopting an increasingly class-conscious position, Morrison found himself becoming distanced from Owen. As early as January 1834, Owen had complained in the Crisis that the "spirit of peace and charity" had been lost. For him, the Pioneer had "drawn a line of opposition of feelings and of interests between the employers and employed", in what he deemed to be a "senseless warfare". 
The dispute with Owen reached a head during the turnout, as he became impatient with the Pioneer's militant anti-employer stance, especially the tone of language adopted. Morrison left the GNCTU executive in late March 1834 and was much associated subsequently with the development of a new notion of trades unionism, which stressed greater centralism and unity combined with a militancy of industrial strategy. In April 1834 the Crisis bemoaned the absence of leadership in the trade union movement, but Owen castigated the journal for this. Nonetheless he ensured some response to the criticisms of a general lack of reports after the February GNCTU conference about solidarity with Derby, especially details of the fighting fund. Moreover, the entire Derby affair was formally taken into the hands of the GNCTU executive, of which little more was heard. `The Crisis' noted in April that "Derby has been forsaken by her southern friends and the principal reason seems to be that the subscriptions have ceased to be published. London has nearly forsaken her. Only a few pounds have been sent for some weeks from London." In response to all this, perhaps influenced by Morrison, the Builders gave the enormous sum of £230 in the first few weeks of April. 
The trades union element was outmanoeuvred by the formal dissolution of GNCTU at a national delegate conference in August 1834. But the act only legitimised an already existing situation. The employers were jubilant, believing unionism dead for all time. The "highest praise is due to the manufacturers and masters for the unanimity and firmness displayed by them during the long period of this turn-out", frothed the Mercury. For the struggle was "looked at from all parts of the kingdom, as in some sense deciding the question". In the wake of Tolpuddle and Derby, Owen noticed when he stopped off in Derby on his way back in April from the Co-operative Congress in Barnsley, that the masters were "exulting in the hope that the unions would be destroyed". 
There had been damaging defeats in other towns before Derby, but there now began an avalanche of lockouts - Glasgow, Yeovil, Worcester and others experienced an employers’ offensive. While the masters believed they had attained permanent victory, the small independent unions that remained after GNCTU gave the lie to that. They looked to their organisation and resolved to rid themselves of the trappings of secrecy that had been to some extent their Achilles' heel. Initiation ceremonies and oaths were generally dropped or drastically amended. Despite this, some workers stuck to the concept; special ceremonies continued to be performed unofficially on building sites, even to the present day, especially on completion of a job. The steam-engine makers, who were strong in Derby, were reluctant to give up the use of passwords even into the 1840s. The united craft engineering and building unions that were yet to be formed all retained some form of initiation in their rules.
Trades unionism, while inhibited, was by no means crushed following the collapse of GNCTU. Unions, which had existed before, independently, simply retreated into their old form. This was particularly so with the building trade unions. Certainly the Derby lodge of masons continued after GNCTU. The highly ambitious project, originally conceived by GNCTU, to build a great union hall in Birmingham to serve the region was continued by the masons who had played such an important role in the 'Consolidated Union'. In 1841 the Derby lodge had demanded that the proposal to build the Masons' Hall be postponed for six months. The Central Committee firmly put them in their place, commenting that "if the brothers of Derby would 'only postpone for six months the use of the pot and the pipe their now disordered minds would become sufficiently serene to enable them to discover the immense benefits" of Masons' Halls"! 
In this atmosphere, of a belief that extending the craft guild notion to the creation of independent workers’ bodies in more and newer trades was the way forward for trades unionism, the Derby Carpenters' and Joiners' Society was established on 6th June 1836, amidst quiet confidence in their ability to control their trade. A complex set of "Bye-laws, Rules and Regulations" were agreed at a meeting in the Bull's Head Inn in Queen Street, in October 1840, which did just that.  The body was a specifically Derby society. County members residing three miles or more from the Town Hall were consciously excluded from eligibility for office-holding by Article II. With this local craft outlook, the Society in so many ways looked back to the older style form of trades unionism of the 1820s and even earlier. Rule XXV, however, specified that "should any dispute arise between the employers and the members of this Society, as to cause a turn-out of such members, any newly entered members wishing to go on tramp, will be allowed the same privilege as if they had been a free member twelve months". Lessons enough had been learned from the Turnout!
So craft unions carried on, but the immediate response of the working class to the new political and industrial situation was more relevant. An almost impossible mbition had failed to materialise. In some ways it had all been simply too early, an inevitable heroic failure. The defeat of trades unionism directed the attention of workers back to politics. Had the partial success in extending the right to the vote, established in 1832, been enough? A correspondent's letter to the Globe, reprinted in the Mercury during the course of the turnout, voiced the fears of many of the 'well-to-do'. Had the concessions in the 1832 Reform Bill later stimulated the rise in unionism? "We hear much in the newspapers of the defeats, but rarely of the success of the union: and why? Because the masters, when they give way, keep it as secret as possible; while a victory (for the employers), being the result of a long struggle ... is sure to be told far and wide". The letter writer pondered on the relevance of such struggles to the pressure for reform legislation, which then "becomes and affair of the utmost delicacy and difficulty". He warned that reforms should be pursued in "moderate and slow degrees, (or) the people will break out in rebellion". 
Not all those with power and wealth were entirely certain that permanent victory had been attained, and they were right. The mood of the working class was not one of disillusionment for, within two years, agitation against the distress caused by the new Poor Law had begun. Within two years of that, the realisation that industrial militancy, combined with political power could be the answer, hit the workers like a thunderbolt. The most radical and disturbing movement yet of workers was to develop - the Chartist movement. As so often in workers' history, out of apparent defeat would emerge a kind of victory.
The full text of the employers' resolution 25th November 1833, printed in the Pioneer on 14th December 1833:
That this meeting acknowledges the right of workmen to give or withhold their labour, and asserts the equal rights of masters to give or withhold employment; and that, when workmen unite to impose terms upon their employers, the latter must either submit to that dictation, or resist it by a similar union.
That experience at Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Leicester and Liverpool, has proved that the principles of the Trades' Union are injurious to the interests of the masters, by putting a stop to their several trades; to the commerce of the country, by the suspension of work and consequent inability to execute domestic or foreign orders; and ultimately to the members themselves. That to regulate the price and hours of labour; to abolish piece-work and to substitute day-work in lieu of it (thus placing the industrious and skilful upon the same level with the idle and unskilful workmen): to dictate to the masters whom they shall or shall not employ, and the number of apprentices or learners they shall be allowed to take; and in case of disobedience to the mandate of the Union, to withdraw his work-people simultaneously from the service of the party disobeying, and prevent any other workmen from entering his employ; are notoriously the objects and practice of the Trades' Union.
That these objects have not only been unequivocally displayed by acts in the towns above referred to, and by similar proceedings in other places, but are avowed and advocated in the "Pioneer, or Trades' Union Magazine".
That the members of the Union are bound by a secret oath, and their admission is accompanied by mystical ceremonies, calculated and designed to impose upon and overawe the minds of credulous and unsuspecting men, and render them the unconscious slaves and ready tools of their more crafty leaders.
That the Derby Branch of the Trades' Union is yet in its infancy, but that its principles and objects are identical with those exhibited in other towns; and some of its members have not hesitated to declare that they are only waiting until the increase of its members and the augmentation of its funds shall enable it to act with more decisive effect.
That, as great numbers of the workmen in Derby have joined the Trades' Union, with a view to control their employers, and for the purposes which the latter believe to be destructive to their interests and utterly subversive of that free agency from which the Unionists claim for themselves those employers are compelled by necessity to unite in their own defence and do now resolve, unanimously,
That each of them will immediately cease to employ every man who is a member of the Trades' Union, and will not receive or take back into his service any man who continues to be a member of that Union, or of any other Union having similar objects.
That this resolution is adopted on the deliberate conviction that a prompt and vigorous, and persevering resistance to the Trades' Union is absolutely necessary, to protect the just rights of the masters, to preserve the commerce of the country, and to secure the true interests of the workers themselves.
Thomas Bridgett & Co Ralph Frost
Boden & Morley J & CS Peet
Wright & Baker William Frost
William Taylor Joseph Gascoyne
John Johnson Thomas Cooper
S J Wright William Mosedale
Joseph Hall Richard McConnell
Robert Ward Ed. Falconer
Joseph Cooper & Son Thos. Tunaley, Jun.
APPENDIX `B’: THE UNION OATH
"I do before Almighty God, and this Loyal Lodge, most solemnly swear that I will not work for any master that is not in the Union, nor will I work with any illegal man or men, but will do my best for the support of wages: and most solemnly swear to keep inviolate all the secrets of this Order; nor will I ever consent to have any money for any purpose but for the use of the Lodge and the support of the trade; nor will I write, or cause to be wrote, print, mark, either on stone, marble, brass, paper, or sand, any thing connected with this Order, so help me God, and keep me steadfast in this my present obligation. And it further promise to do my best to bring all legal men that I am connected with into this Order; and if ever I reveal any of these rules, may what is before me * plunge my soul into Eternity."
* A person then stands in front of the party to whom this oath is administered, holding a drawn sword with the point towards his breast.
APPENDIX `C’: THE ADVERTISEMENT
Full text of advertisement in Derby Mercury 1st January 1834:
Machinery for Silk Throwing, Sewing Silk,
Twisting, Small Ware Weaving Power loom, and
Bobbin Net and Lace Trade.
All persons having good machines to dispose of as
applicable to the above Department of Trade, are
requested to state price and full particulars by
letter (post paid) to the Derby Committee, Town
Hall Tavern, Birmingham.
by order of the Committee
Birmingham, Dec., 26th, 1833
COLLOQUIAL NAMES FOR STRIKEBREAKERS
There have been many words to describe someone who continues to work in a strike - never very complimentary!!! In the 1830s, in Derby, they were usually called `blacksheep' for the obvious reasons arising from the parallel with the odd individual in an otherwise uniform flock. The term began to fall out of use in the mid-1860s and it was extinct in an industrial sense by 1900, when it took on the exclusive use of referring to a `prodigal son'.
Another term -`knobstick' - was used mostly in the period between the use of `blacksheep' and later, more familiar terms. Engels uses it in his book, "The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844". Defined as a "person who works under the agreed rate" by Eric Partridge in his "Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English", the term was generally used only in the years between around 1825 and 1870.
The term `knob' was often used to denote the head, or perhaps a person of rank, wealth or privilege; in short, a `big-wig', literally so in the early 18th century. Perhaps the word `knob' in `knobstick' was used, arising from the foregoing context, in an ironic way? Whilst the term `stick' was sometimes used to mean a dull or stupid person, or a hanger-on. The whole construct might therefore mean an important or notorious person acting idiotically. `Knobstick' was still being used in the country areas of Derbyshire in the early part of the 20th century as a word for unskilled building workers, a fact revealed by an old craftsman in the Derbyshire Advertiser in its edition of October 20th 1944. The word was also in use in Lancashire textile mills as late as the 1890s. Another word closely related to `knobstick' was used as an alternative throughout the period - i.e. `clubstick', which possibly had a similar origin and meaning, with the exception that perhaps an analogy existed with a heavy walking stick, which might also be used as a weapon, against workers’ struggle.
More familiar to modern participants in disputes are, of course, `scab' and `blackleg'. These are much older than is generally appreciated, especially `scab'. First used as a term meaning a `scurvy fellow', or a `rascal', the epithet `scab' is recorded as in use at least as early as 1590. It is often said that its first certain use, as a means of denoting a worker who refuses to strike when his fellows do, was in the USA in 1811. But it was certainly in use in Britain in 1804, since J L and B Hammond in their seminal work, `The Town Labourer’, reveal a 'definition' of the term `scab’ as used by textile workers. It does however seem to have receded as a term of abuse in strike situations. In this restricted sense, its use once again emerged briefly in 1880 but has only become widespread in recent times in the British labour movement, as distaste with its supposed American origin dissolved and unease with the term 'blackleg' developed.
Blackleg dates from the very early 1700s. Eric Partridge gives alternative uses and origins. By 1722 it is certainly being used as a description of a disease affecting the legs of sheep and cattle. Tempting though it is to suggest that the earliest organised wage workers, the wool combers, who were noted for trade union militancy, used the term there is no direct evidence that this was so. But combing the wool that had come from a diseased animal might very well be an unpleasant experience and it is easy to how the word might have been simply extended to a despised workmate in a conflict situation.
Another version of its origins has it as a gaming term, dating from 1771. According to this view, blacklegs were firstly `turf-swindlers', the name coming from a fashion amongst them for wearing a certain kind of black boot. Another, related possibility is that gamecocks, used in the then very popular `sport' of cock-fighting, were invariably the possessors of black legs. Clearly, the only
Yet another version of its origin is supposed to be from the mining industry. The term was certainly used in miners' songs of the 1830's. (See A L Lloyd's "Come All Ye Bold Miners - ballads and songs of the coalfields"  ", published by Lawrence and Wishart, for various examples.) This raises the question of whether it is a word special to the mining industry in origin, with or without connections to the 18th century usages. Transposition of the notion that strike breakers had the `blackleg’ sheep disease might easily have led to calling them collectively `black sheep’, the term most normally used in the early 19th century. This seems very likely to me but it has often been suggested that, in the context of the coal industry, the word `blacklegs' has a double edge to it. For, in the days before pithead baths, a working miner in a strike situation could easily be found by the simple expedient of lifting his trouser leg to discover his own leg blackened by coal dust! This seems a little fanciful and there is no academic backing for the notion. After all, mining strikes took place in closed communities where there was little chance of failing to discover a wayward spirit. There could however be some derisory value involved here and the sporting origin - especially of cock fighting - would fit the social milieu of the collier better.
From this account it may be readily seen that no racist intent or connotation is involved in the term `blackleg', arising from the use of the word `black' as a negative force, other than probably by reference to a disease causing discolouration in sheep, or the use of a particular colour in fighting cocks. Nonetheless, modern dislike of the term arises from the method whereby the word `black' is frequently used in this way- as in `black arts’ for witchcraft, `black mood’, `black day’, black outlook, etc. etc. In deference to this sensitivity, I have sought to use the term `strike-breaker', except when a contemporary phrase seems appropriate.
Notes and References
1 G D H Cole & R Postgate "The Common People 1746-1946" (1976 edition) p90;
E Hobsbawn and G Rude “Captain Swing “ Penguin University Books (1973) pp xxv, xxiii, 136, 262n, Appendices I,II,III
2 The letter was sent to the Derbyshire Advertiser by his great-granddaughter, Miss Winifred Montford in 1945, as reported in the 20th July issue
3 E Royston Pike (Ed) "Human Documents of the Industrial Revolution" Allen and Unwin (1966) p132
4 A W Davidson "Derby, its rise and progress" (1906 facsimile reprint 1970) SR Publishers East Ardley p136-9; J Wallens in Derby Evening Telegraph October 8th 1953; J Wigley "Derby and Derbyshire during the Great Reform Bill Crisis 1830-32 - DAJ 1981, Vol CI pp139-149; Rosemary Meynell in Derbyshire Advertiser November 26th 1954
5 C Flick "The Birmingham Political Union 1830-1839" Archon Books, Folkestone (1978) p74, Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 29th December 1831
6 Derby Reporter December 29th 1831; Derby Mercury 12th December 1832; Derby Reporter June 21st 1832. A copy of the illuminated scroll is in the Derby Local Studies Library
7 DAJ 1969 Vol LXXXIX p81
8 C Flick “The Birmingham Political Union 1830-1839" Archon Books, Folkestone (1978) p106
9 F Engels "Conditions of the Working Class in England in 1844" George Allen and Unwin (1936) p225
10 Parliamentary Paper Vol III p20 - quoted in E Royston Pike "Human Documents of the Industrial Revolution" Allen and Unwin (1966) p108-110; F Engels "Socialism, Utopian and Scientific" George Allen and Unwin (1936) p24
11 Stephen Glover "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby" Mozley and Son, Derby (1829) Vol I Part I pp246-7
12 R G Kirkby and A E Musson 'The Voice of the People – John Doherty 1798-1854" Manchester University Press (1975) p353
13 Karl Marx "Capital - A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production" Vol I Dent Everyman (1957) p353; “A report on the sanitary conditions of the labouring population of Breadsall" quoted by J Allen Derby Evening Telegraph 14th January 1954
14 G D H Cole "Attempts at a General Union 1818-34 – a study in British Trade Union history” MacMillan (1953) p112
15 The Crisis March 1st 1834; the Pioneer 28th December 1833
16 Derby Mercury 27th November 1833
17 Derby Mercury 27th November 1833
18 Derby Mercury 11th December 1833
19 The Pioneer 14th December 1833
20 The Crisis December 28th 1833; January 4th and 18th 1834
21 The Crisis February 15th 1834
22 The Pioneer January 11th 1834
23 The Pioneer 11th January 1834; The Crisis January 18th 1834
24 The Pioneer 25th January 1834; Derby Reporter January 9th 1834
25 A W Davidson "Derby, its rise and progress" (1906 facsimile reprint 1970) SR Publishers East Ardley p200-1
26 The Pioneer January 11th 1834
27 The Pioneer January 11th 1834
28 J W Allen Derby Evening Telegraph January 28th 1954; Derby Mercury 12th February 1834
29 The Pioneer 22nd February 1834
30 Francis White "History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby" Sheffield (1857) p107
31 Derby Mercury 8th March 1834
32 S & B Webb "History of Trade Unionism" Longman’s, Green (1902) p122; R G Kirby and A E Musson "The Voice of the People - John Doherty 1798-1854" Manchester University Press (1975) p288
33 The Pioneer 15th March 1834
34 The Pioneer 22nd February 1834
35 The Pioneer 15th March 1834
36 Derby Mercury 12th February 1834
37 Derby Mercury 19th March 1834
38 The Pioneer 8th and 15th February 1834; December 21st and 28th 1833; The Crisis December 21st and 28th 1833
39 E P Thompson “The Making of the English Working Class” Penguin (1976) pp879-880
3 "DIVIDEND WAS NOT THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF THE (CO-PERATIVE) MOVEMENT"
The birth and growth of Co-ops in Derbyshire (1850-890)
4 TRADE UNIONS IN DERBYSHIRE (1848-890)
(i) Nail making
(ii) Coach building
(iii) Cotton and Silk Textile Workers
(ix) Agricultural Workers
5 Notes and References
1 Super profits mean super wages: a new generation of trades unionists.
Industry in Derbyshire developed at a phenomenal pace in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The earlier part of the century had been characterised by a predominance of small-scale production. Trade in Derby in 1860 was still very much concentrated on marketing and on handicraft type products, evidenced by an analysis of the differing trades established then. 
Number of firms Number of different kinds
Factories 159 26
Handicraft workshops 387 42
Retail outlets 1634 43
Wholesale outlets 77 14
Building 125 10
Professional and service
establishments 368 25
Finance 118 8
Transport 33 6
With increasing industrialisation came increasing urbanisation. Estimated density of population in Derbyshire in 1750 was between ten and twenty people per hundred acres, within a hundred years it had risen to fifty per hundred acres.
The nature of the skilled trades was to fundamentally alter. A survey of Derby's charitably supported apprenticeships in the century or so prior to 1865, shows that 36% had been in textiles, while only 1% had been connected with the railways - and the Midland Railway had been in the town since 1836. While this analysis cannot necessarily be considered an entirely accurate picture of the breakdown of total apprenticeships, including non-supported ones, it is indicative of the general trend. A large number of highly selective skills were still required some thirty-four distinctive trades may be identified. But there are very few apprenticeships of the trades that would dominate the city in time to come. 
Analysis of 100 apprenticeships funded by charity in Derby (1749-1865)
Framework knitters 20
Cordwainers (Shoemakers) 6
Iron Founders 4
China Painters 3
There were, moreover, vast numbers of traditional handicraft apprenticeships to offer; 36% of all apprenticeships were in twenty-six different occupations:
TWO EACH*ONE EACH*
Baker Printer Bellhanger Cooper
Clockmaker Potting Chimney sweep Merchant
Smith Painter Loco Engineer Cutler
Whitesmith Bricklayer Engineer Farrier
Shoemaker Labourer Slater Bookbinder
Dyer Silk-Weaver Petrifacturer
(*i.e. two or one references to these trades in the sample of 100)
In 1844 the building of railway carriages and wagons had begun in Derby and, sparked off by this burgeoning railway industry, there developed a general concentration of heavy engineering firms in the area. As one engineering firm set up, more followed, with this the workforce became increasingly wage laboured and this altered the character of the unions. Skills became concentrated into certain areas of mass production and the workforce divided into skilled and non-skilled sectors. Amongst the major engineering works established in Derby were Qualcast in 1848, Fletchers in 1860, Ley's in 1874, and the Ewart Chain Belt Company, also in 1874. The setting up of a private tramway system in 1880 provided valued engineering work in the town. Firms like Handyside's established important reputations for quality. Many of their supporting stanchions can be seen in the infrastructure of Victorian railway stations and bridges around the country, their name still proudly emblazoned within the metal.
The Victorian Age was a time of great wealth - The Golden Age of Empire! The United Kingdom level of imports and exports rose almost threefold in thirty years, or to be precise by 283% from 1831 to 1861 or an uplift from £97,623,320 to £373,491,000; this at a time when population rose by 'only' 43%.  Fortunes were made by the simple expedient of plundering Asia, Africa and Latin America, coupled with the forcible creation of a monopoly market for British made goods. Considerable concessions could be extracted by the workers in such a period - 'super profits' could mean 'super wages'. Conflict of such a sensitive kind as that experienced during the GNCTU and Chartist eras endangered profits in this readymoney situation. A docile and compliant labour force was worth more than a concession or two. Moreover, the determined fight for the extension of the franchise had forced a new political situation. By 1844 the registered electorate in Derby, at 18% of the population, compared more favourably with the 1832 figure of 5.9%. (Figures in brackets are from alternative source data). Even so, the relative proportion of population to electorate did not improve much, since both roughly doubled in numbers over the latter part of the 19th century.
1868 9,240 1861 43,091 (44,058)
1874 11,087 1871 49,810
1880 13,006 1877 53,200 (69,716)
1884 14,054 1881 81,630
1895 17,879 1891 94,140
This new situation bred a new style of politician, and Derby, in particular, became identified with a strain of benevolent Liberalism. In the 1865 General Election, the last whereby the franchise was limited to property, the town unusually returned one Conservative and one Liberal. But in the two succeeding General Elections, Bass and Plimsoll were elected as Liberals. In 1867 the franchise was extended to all male householders, but this excluded workers in tied and company cottages, such as miners and agricultural workers who did not get the vote until 1884. In consequence of the extension of the franchise, the Liberals in Derby increased their vote by five times that of two years earlier; the Tory merely doubled his votes. Electors were, however, still not the models of tolerance, for in 1874 there was some disorder and damage to property as rural Tory and Liberal supporters clashed.
It was in this setting that the old trade societies were beginning to give way to nationally organised trades unions with central leaderships. Trades unionists in the early part of the nineteenth century had regarded their societies as alliances of local lodges that were the centre of the union's life. National Secretaries were called 'corresponding secretaries' - merely a point of contact. In the latter part of the century all this began to change - especially with a new generation of leaders. This generation however was a servile one, which accepted capitalism. The new General Secretaries of the more centralised organisations of the latter part of the century were men of substance in society, with wages to reflect. Three pounds a week with perks was quite common. 
Union, total membership and General Secretary's weekly wage plus `perks':
Stonemasons - £3, £70 per annum for rent 4,000
Engineers - £4 plus house, coal and gas 44,000
Ironfounders - £2 10s plus house, coal and gas 12,000
Boilermakers - £3 plus house, coal and gas 15,000
Plasterers - £3 plus house, coal and gas 3,800
Steam engine makers - £2 10s plus house, coal and gas 3,500
Bricklayers - £3 plus a weekly 5s extra for attending the EC 6,200
Carpenters and joiners - £3 plus house, coal and gas and 4s for cleaning office 13,000
Contrary to the working class of the Chartist era, which sought fundamental change, the new generation accepted the system and their lot, seeking to make the best of their position in society. During the high point of Chartism some sections of the working class had tended to reject organised religion, seeing it as simply an extension of the wealthy and powerful, even though they often expressed their rebellion in religious terms. Although this was less true of rural areas; in 1851, certain parts of Derbyshire could record attendance at Sunday religious services of as much as 40% of the total population, compared with less than 25% in the big urban areas of Nottingham and Leicester. 
So, new style, non-revolutionary, 'new model' unions grew. Marked by strong features of a benevolent nature - unemployment, sick and retirement benefits - they demanded high contributions. In a society which did not provide any social welfare insurance, the idea was of great attraction to well paid skilled workers. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) required one shilling a week in dues, such a large sum discouraged all but the better paid in steady employment. (Historically, the ASE represents the bulk of what became the AEU, now absorbed into Amicus.) The considerable financial activity created by these insurance provisions also discouraged militancy. For strikes would, of necessity, eat into funds and some unions actually debarred strike action partly to preserve Superannuation benefits.
Other structural developments occurred. Of considerable long-term significance was the creation of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in 1869. At first little more than an annual gathering of small craft unions, it was to grow in importance. Concerned to repel the political attacks of the employers that would result in local restraints for unions, the first Congress attracted thirty-four delegates. Whether anyone from Derbyshire was there doubtful, at any rate there is no one from the county obviously listed. Although the first President of the TUC, Nicholson, had to leave the Congress to go to Derby in order to attend a meeting of the Annual Moveable Delegates of the Order of Druids, of which he was General Secretary! 
There was little independent working class political life after the slow decline of Chartism. A sharply international character had marked the latter days of that movement. Chartists had strongly supported foreign revolutions and sheltered political refugees. The idea of universal suffrage had translated into a series of reform bodies. The most decisively independent section of the movement was the "International Working Men's Association" (or the First International), set up by Karl Marx in 1864. Drawing much on the traditions of the old Chartists, it had yet to develop major influence in the countries in which it operated. It was, indeed, truly international, uniting radical groups in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Austria, Italy, the USA and elsewhere. The British membership of the International was almost exclusively composed of trade union affiliations. The prevention of the importation of foreign strikebreakers was an important role for the organisation. While not a major force in Britain, the International nonetheless kept alive the flame of the concept of independent working class politics. There is documented local support for the International. The Block Printers' Union, which operated in Manchester and Derbyshire, affiliated in January 1867, on the basis of 1,000 members. While the Elastic Web Weavers in a number of areas affiliated and, at one stage at least, the International believed that the Derby Society would join the lead of the others. 
By the 1870s there must have been a well-established local group, for a deputation attended the International's General Council, in December 1870. They sought assistance for members in dispute in Derby, due to their employers reducing agreed price lists, supposedly to come into line with Leicester. The weavers also wanted to complain about William Hales, a General Council member and the National President of the Elastic Web Weavers, who had allowed the introduction of female labour at two thirds of the male piecework rate. Moreover, Hales was purported to have told their employer that no funds were available from their society to support their dispute and there was a consequent attempt to expel him from the Union. A letter from James Parnell of Derby was read, it "insinuated that Hales had put £7 of the society's money and entered it in the treasurer's book as paid over". 'Citizen Marx' - all comrades in the International were so dubbed - indicated that "they were not in a position to give anything just now" to the strikers, but that support for the circulation of an appeal could be given. At the next meeting of the Council, Hales attended and explained the attack on him, that Parnell had apologised, and that it was his advocacy of allowing women to work in the trade, which had brought him into trouble with the Elastic Web Weavers Society. "The men had not struck against such a reduction of wages as they stated, that was a lie."  Subsequently, all charges against him were withdrawn, but the episode amply illustrates the detail of trade union work that the International got itself involved in.
The increasingly theoretical arguments between the anarchist element, strong in the Latin countries and the followers of Marx, did not meet the taste of the British adherents of the International. Interest here began to flag and Marx and his close friend and political co-worker, Frederick Engels, turned their attention to events in France when, in 1871, the Parisian working class seized power for three months during the momentous days of the Commune. One such, named Gerband, was buried at Ilkeston on May 4th 1873. His coffin was draped in a red flag and over 80 mourners marched in a funeral procession. In Nottingham, a parallel organisation to the International was even set up. Called the Nottingham Working Man’s International Labour Protection League, this gave large sums of money to the Derby Silk Throwers, to assist their dispute in 1872.
But, despite these relatively surprising signs of continued local radicalism in the East Midlands, the International did not have widespread support in Britain, by any means. However, a fact even less well known is that the International did see there to be a basis for, and encouraged, the foundation of a socialist working class political party and called it the 'Labour Party'. Its main aim was to harass the Liberal's 'Labour' (Lib-Lab) candidates, but it did not have any real basis in the working class. After the International itself broke up in 1872, this `Labour Party' faded away without ever really fundamentally influencing the direction of trade union or working class political activity.
Largely unchallenged, the Liberal trade union leaders sought to avoid militancy. Some were won to the deceptively interesting idea of emigration as a panacea for workers' problems. Arguing that labour was like any other commodity, advocates of this approach believed that the only way of raising the price was to create scarcity. Some unions even introduced an Emigration Bonus. The main passion of Liberal union leaders was conciliation and arbitration rather than conflict as a means of settling grievances. Moreover this strategy was considered as a matter of course obligatory upon union members. The Liberal Party was in office from 1874 to 1880, and the whole period was marked by a general illusion that workers' interests could be represented by it. Early in the Seventies, major reforms had been won for unions. As the Tories again took over, unions became obsessed with the single idea that a solution to their problems lay simply with the re-election of a Liberal Government - 'their' Government, at least in the sense that it could be pressured to make reforms in the interests in workers’ organisations in return for some electoral loyalty.
This reliance was not entirely without some foundation, since important advances had been achieved. With the passing of the 1871 Trade Union Act, unions found themselves no longer illegal in Common Law simply because their purpose was to restrain trade. Moreover, registration as a Friendly Society now permitted unions certain legal advantages. They could, for example, now sue a former official who might have absconded with society funds. But another law, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, immediately imposed severe restrictions on trades union strategies. 'Threats', 'intimidation', 'molestation' and 'obstruction' of individuals in trade disputes - i.e. effective, even non-violent, picketing - were subject to severe penalties. Widespread opposition to this resulted in the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act in 1875, which permitted effective, but peaceful, picketing. For the first time employee/employer relations became a purely civil affair. At last it might be said that Britain had allowed 'free trades unionism'. The immediate effect of this development was to spread unionism amongst mainly skilled workers.
Great advances in money wages coincided with the periods of exceptional trades union activity, stimulated by favourable trade conditions. In the last fifty years of the century average real wages rose by 70% and the average span of life grew from thirty-six years of age in the 1860s, to forty-four years in the 1880s. State reforms, like the Education Act of 1870, were introduced; tentatively setting out on the road of assuming social responsibility for elementary education, the Act set up School Boards to be elected by ratepayers. Within another sixty years education was made compulsory for children up to the age of twelve. Trades Unions would have to mould themselves to meet the challenge of all these new developments. 
2 "Doing away with public house club houses"
The demise of the tramping system 1859-1913
An increased professionalism evident amongst trades unions reflected itself in the way local branches or lodges organised. The hallmarks of the old secret friendly societies or trade clubs began to fade and the most important victim of this process was the death of 'tramping'. As we have seen, the skilled trades kept control over the supply of labour by means of tramping. When work was short in one town or region, the skilled worker would tramp off to another place where vacancies existed. The society would feed him and provide shelter as he went from town to town. Sometimes, after completing a full tramp, a worker would have to accept that there was no work in the trade. Recalling how his father trained as a printing apprentice at Becket Printing Works in Colyear Street, Derby, finishing in June 1901, Mr J. H. Pentney related that: "Because he would not take work at less than the price set by the Typographical Society...he never went back to the trade." Pentney's father had tramped from Derby to Chesterfield, Sheffield, Doncaster, Gainsborough, Lincoln and Kings Lynn, before he eventually enlisted in the Royal Auxiliary Medical Corps, serving in the Boer War. 
During the mid-period of the nineteenth century tramping was still very much in evidence. The Masons had a house of call in Derby, the Masons' Arms in Edward Street, and another, the Bakers' Arms, in West Road, Buxton. The Tailors of Chesterfield used the Moulders' Arms and took over from the Masons at their Buxton Pub in the 1880's. Of sixteen Derby lodges of various trades unions in 1861, only two of them had meeting places anywhere than at a public house. Almost certainly, most of them were used as tramping calling stations at the same time:
Trades union meeting places in Derby in 1861 
Boot and shoemakers Buck in the Park, Friargate
Bookbinders' Consolidated Union Rose and Thistle, Chapel St.
Boilermakers Lamb Inn, Park Street
BrushmakersNelson Inn, Wardwick
Cork cutters22 Abbey Street
Cabinetmakers Half-moon Inn, Saddler's Gate
Carpenters Bull's Head, Queen Street
Coachbuilders Green Man Inn, St Peter' Churchyard
Compositors and Printers Buck in the Park, Friargate
Amalgamated Engineers New Inn, King Street
Engine Drivers Red Lion, Canal Street
Ironmoulders Talbot Inn, Irongate
Stonemasons6 Erasmus Street
United Order of Smiths Bull's Head, Queen Street
Tailors White Hart, Bridge Street
Ribbon Weavers Dove Tavern, Nunn Street, William Street
The pub was a very important place for workers' societies. Often the only place available for hire, it constituted the society's meeting place, hotel, library, post office and job centre. Labour Exchanges were only introduced in the 1910s and most societies kept a vacant book in 'their' pub. Very soon after they had been founded, the Derby Builders Labourers' lodge resolved to: "Keep £1 10s 0d in hand for the relief of tramps", and established a clubhouse to provide hospitality. Later, in 1897, they decided to get a "frame with a glass door made to be hung up in the vaults to enter names of members... in search of employment". A member was obliged to ensure fresh labour for building jobs was supplied via the clubhouse. It was a serious offence not to do so, for if a member failed in this duty he would, "be fined 2s 6d first offence, 5s 0d for second". 
The landlord would often be the society's `banker', holding onto, and perhaps paying out, union funds and benefits. Usually little money formally crossed hands, the hire of the room being considered enough to bring custom, or `wet rent'; although, as the century exhausted, the custom of payment increased. Derby Builders' Labourers voted two shillings a week to their landlord for room cleaning in June 1893 and, during the plasterers' lockout in 1899, he was granted five shillings for the extra use of the room during the dispute. (By a process of gradual name change from the National Amalgamated Builders Labourers, the organisation ended up as the Altogether Builders' Labourers' & Constructional Workers' Society - for ease of reference it has been referred to as the ABL throughout t .)
The tradition of meeting in pubs and clubs lives on today. Even though the big brewers have tried to eliminate the very ability to hire rooms in pubs, most towns have a few pubs where union and left-wing meetings are frequently held. However, there was once a fierce controversy over the practice. Under the influence of the anti-drink lobby, strong in sections of the Liberal Party, many unions tried to discourage pub meetings, not always with success. The coachbuilders considered the idea as early as 1873 "of doing away with public house club houses"; especially as stationary relief for unemployment had become more common than travelling relief. Despite this trend, the society advised that a compromise along the lines of "providing for the members on travel must be the primary consideration, and afterwards, it will not be very difficult to find places to conduct the business at". In time, various social developments, including the demise of the inn as a hostelry, made the former increasingly difficult.
Tramping was a well-accepted part of the coachmakers' life. A trade highly conscious of its skills, found the tradition especially relevant in the boom/slump economy of the last half of the nineteenth century. A study of the 'blank', or tramping card, of one UKSC member on the tramp reveals much about the state of the trade. Even if it only reflects the personal choice of one particular individual, there is no doubt that many coachmakers were only able to find work this way.  James Reilly, a coach trimmer, membership number 9637 and a previous member, re-enters the society at Wakefield in August 1873, no doubt on his way to his first recorded job in the blank at Dublin, which lasted one year. Using his card, he tramps to Liverpool where six months work is found for him. When this stint is over, he tours the North West, passing through three society towns before finding work, lasting a year and a half, in Shrewsbury. Unemployment again hits, but Reilly is lucky and finds a couple of month's work in Birmingham almost immediately, followed by six months in Swindon. But times are tough at the beginning of 1877 and despite a couple of day's work at Newcastle under Lyme and Openshaw, he has to tour no less than fifty nine lodges, including Derby (some were visited more than once) before he obtains a year's work in Liverpool. After that, in April 1879, Reilly hits another bad patch as trade worsens and, apart from two week's work at Bolton; he relied on the lodges of no less than fifty-six separate towns until September of that year. Six months work at Gloucester and he was off again, tramping via five towns, and the last we hear of James Reilly is that on the 13th April 1880 he is waiting for a job in Wolverton. Over a seven-year period he actually worked for only four years and seven month in nine towns. The rest of the time Reilly was tramping; perhaps a quarter or more of his "working" life in this period was thus spent.
We should be careful not to suppose that this was the life of the average coachmaker, for many remained in good jobs and never, or very rarely, had to tramp. Others, without families perhaps, were happy to roam and, in a sense, played an important role in acting as a skilled mobile reserve. Others were simply unlucky and hit on difficult and hard times. Some would leave the trade, while others, like Reilly, held on waiting for something to turn up. The tramp system thus acted as a social security device in times when unskilled workers, who did not have a union, faced personal disaster when unemployment came. The coachmaker, in contrast, could relax in relative comfort.
The Derby branch of the National Amalgamated Society of House and Ship Painters and Decorators (NASOHSPD) moved its clubhouse from the Fox and Goose in Friargate to the Bull's Head in Queen Street because, "at the old clubhouse we were in far too close proximity to intoxicating drink and were being constantly pressed to buy it". Those who were teetotallers, like Will Raynes, later a famous local Labour politician in Derby, who recalled the problem, had severe difficulties; for, unlike many, "the publican was prepared to give house room to the despised trade union". In his unpublished memoirs, Raynes wrote of the House Painters that "we liked to see the long and imposing title in print, but among ourselves we contracted it to `The Club' ". Other builders called the painters' society the "Skibbo's Union". (It is today part of UCATT, by virtue of a series of amalgamations.) 
Even the aristocrats of skilled labour in the engineers' society (ASE) used the tramping system. For example, a James Alexander of Hull 2nd Branch of ASE visited ten towns, including Derby, in 1865 before he got a job in Stoke.  But as improved conditions developed, tramping became less frequent. Combined with this, the unevenness of the capitalist economy of the latter part of the nineteenth century caused the practice to become increasingly costly to the unions. In 1868, an average of 18s 3 1/2d per member was paid out by the UKSC on travelling benefits. This sank rapidly, but erratically, with odd ups and downs, until 1894, when only 1s 4 1/2d was being spent per member. Very soon the coachbuilders were paying next to nothing on travelling each year, and the introduction of the Labour Exchanges Act of 1910 rapidly eliminated the practice altogether. Total spending on the tramp had diminished from £5,042 in 1868, to a handful of pounds in 1911, while spending on postage alone escalated by seven times over the same period. 
The lithograph workers were also in the process of changing their commitment to tramping. Their rules were changed in 1895 to allow for meetings to be held in public houses only if absolutely necessary, largely where, as in small towns like Derby, it proved impossible to find alternative rooms. So, if tramping was killed off, the practice of holding the lodge in a society's special pub was not. A national analysis of the meeting places of all unions, conducted by the Temperance Society in 1903, showed that 72% of branches had their meetings in pubs.  But the legacy of tramping, travelling relief and society clubhouses is still very much strongly with us in the wealth of old pub names linked to particular trades. Along with the Masons' Arms and the Bakers' Arms, were the Patternmakers' Arms in Crown Street and the Tailors' Arms in Green Lane, Derby, used by those trades that had given them their names? 
UKSC Clubhouses in Derby from 1854 to 1915 were as follows:
1854 Green Man, Peter Street
June 1868Royal Oak, Market Place
November 1870 Masons Arms
December 1892 Plough Inn, Nottingham Road
November 1893 Telegraph Inn, London Road
August 1894 Grapes Inn, Green Lane
1896 Telegraph Inn
1901 Grapes Inn
1904 High Street Tavern
July 1915 Labour Exchange, London Road
The Chesterfield Clubhouses were:
December 1860 Cross Daggers, Bertwell Street
November 1893 Turf Tavern, Holywell Cross
August 1894 Free Trade Inn, Saltergate
The amount spent by the UKSC on travelling from 1908-1911 was reported in the union's journal.
Year total yearly amount spent per member
1908 £147 8s 8d 4d
1909 £61 19s 0d 2d
1910 £27 15s 3d 1d
1911 £19 1s 6d 3/4d
By the time travelling relief was abolished by the Typographical Association in 1913, one of the last societies to do so, tramping was destined to pass into folk-lore - the memory of which is only revived by contemporary humourless cartoons of ragged dossers, with chequered handkerchiefs - a far cry from the craft pride and cosy friendliness of the old-time tramp.
3. "Dividend was not the Alpha and Omega of the movement"
The birth and growth of Co-ops in Derbyshire - 1850-1900
Long before the famous Rochdale Pioneers, some 70 people attended a meeting on January 4th 1829 at the Bull's Head, Duffield to set up a retail co-operative; local Owenites initiated the idea.  But this attempt to establish an ongoing co-operative, twenty one years before the first permanent body was set up in Derbyshire, did not really take off. However, in the 1840's, a newer, more enduring application of the co-operative developed; firstly at Rochdale, then spreading throughout the North and Midlands, as the idea took hold. The Derby Co-operative Provident Society Limited was set up in 1850, the third society to be established in the county after the example of Rochdale. Its roots were directly in the early trades unions. The carpenters and joiners had a society clubhouse at the Bull's Head in Queen Street. There, in 1849, trades unionists learnt of the initiative of the Rochdale pioneers from a tramping member on travelling relief. Jonathan Henderson, the carpenters' secretary in Derby, immediately wrote to Rochdale, asking for more details and, very soon, an initial capital of £2 was raised. Most of the men who started the society were employed by Mr Mansfield Cooper, whose workshops were in St. Mary's Gate. The first committee meeting was held at Thomas Brown's house at 56 Abbey Street. A hay loft in George Yard, Saddler's Gate, was rented and Henderson became the first secretary of the co-operative food store, which was open three nights a week and manned by lodge committeemen. The co-op bought a pair of second-hand scales and weights, together with a bag of flour, from Shaw's the Millers in St. Michael's Lane, and a parcel of food from Bakewell's, the grocers at Market Head. The entire scheme was to be a self-charitable initiative; the very first act of the Carpenters' & Joiners' Co-op was to send a gift to the wife of a sick union member, a Mrs Lean, of a stone of flour, a quarter of tea and two pounds of sugar. The members of the committee were Thomas Brown, James Cooper, Thomas Whittle, Samuel Lean, James Walker, George Allen, Robert Riley, William Corner, John Aslin, William Johnson, Jonathan Henderson (Secretary & President) and Samuel Smith (Treasurer). 
The carpenters were the ideal group of workers to start such a venture. Thrifty, yet philanthropic, the unionised membership saw themselves as models of virtue amongst Victorian workingmen. Those eligible to join what was later to be the united Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, as the union's General Secretary put it at the 1867 Royal Commission on Trade Unions, had to "be in good, health, have worked five years at the trade, be a good workman, of steady habits, of good moral character, and not more than 45 years of age".  After a while, the co-operative night store was open three times a week, from eight o'clock to ten o'clock. The co-op boomed and a new store was opened in 1855 in Brigg's Yard, Victoria Street, moving to 47 Full Street a year later, when it was extended to non-union members. The co-op survived two constitutional attempts by some members to break it up in 1857, but even though it was still called the Co-operative Association of Carpenters and Joiners in 1859, it was rapidly expanding beyond its original base. The first branch store was set up in the Labour Hall in Park Street in July 1861, by which time membership had risen to 706 from only 40 a year previously. Membership simply exploded; 36 members were admitted in one single night in 1860. By 1862 there were 1,385 members and sales had risen to £22,000. A dividend of 1s 8d in the pound was declared and five years later a major site in Albert Street laid the basis for the prime position of the Co-op in Derby's shopping centre in the modern era.
Such success was based on sheer hard work on the part of the co-operators. One pioneer, the Nottingham Chartist, William Peck Hemm (1820-89), was a committeeman for the DCS between 1863 and 1868, when he worked for Midland Railway in Derby. He was fond of recalling how "the committee had to personally prepare and serve out the provision and groceries to the members in the evening after working hours, his own duty being to weigh up and sell flour". With 12 new branches established in the 1870's, by the end of the century the DCS had become a major retail force in the town and its environs, as its membership testified: 
Membership of the DCS
Naturally, such a good idea spread like wildfire. In Clay Cross the "Pioneer Industrial Society" was set up in 1859 in a house in New Street (now King Street). Within fifteen years a more ambitious venture was launched by the Clay Cross lodge of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire Miners' Association, which met to "consider the best means of encouraging co-operation amongst the working men of the district...and it was proposed that a committee of twelve be appointed to encourage co-operation".  At Ripley, in March 1860, six people attended a meeting, called by some of the originating organisers, at the house of Patrick Parkin. By the end of six month's of collections, £4 in capital was raised to start the Ripley Co-op. As elsewhere, it established prime shopping sites early on. This was done in 1870 by means of a little trick. A meeting of all the members was called and all, but the secretary, were locked in the hall to prevent word getting out that the Society was to buy property. Meanwhile, the secretary went to the owner of the premises they had in mind and purchased the house outright. Only the next day, as the town began to talk about it, did he realise that he had sold his property to this collection of crazy radicals!
Membership of the Ripley Society grew rapidly:
By the nineties, Ripley Co-op had branches in eleven nearby towns and villages: Somercotes, Kilburn, Belper, Alfreton, Ambergate, Shireland, Heanor, Crich, Riddings and Marehay were the others. This was doubled to twenty-three branches by 1900. Towards the end of 1873 the Borrowash Co-operative Society was set up, while the Little Eaton Society (which unfortunately only lasted a few years until it was taken over by Derby) was registered on 7th May 1880. Ten years later a Society was registered in Burton on Trent.  Elsewhere in the county, fifty men at Clayes Wagon Works in Long Eaton had tried, unsuccessfully, to set up a meat co-operative in 1886. The experiment came to an end when some of the participants (who themselves ran a small shop) opposed certain proposals. In October all the money raised, some £17 or £18, less one shilling each, was returned to the members. However, towards the end of that year, some of the men, and others associated with the Primitive Methodist Chapel, launched the "Long Eaton Workingmen's Co-operative Society", with an initial capital of £20 and thirty five founder members, amongst them William Burns, the first Chairman. Yet another co-op was thus launched. 
As retail societies sprouted everywhere across the northern part of England, the practical idea of coming together for the purpose of wholesale trading grew alongside a more idealistic feeling for cooperative unity. A Midlands conference of Coops was held in 1878 in the National School at Ripley. About forty delegates were present from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and the conference was to conclude amongst other things, that “dividend was not the Alpha and Omega of the movement. They must do something to bring about a higher tone of Society, to import truth and justice into trade, to recognise their duty to their fellows as well as to themselves..." Ripley Co-op from its commencement had followed the practice of issuing checks in recognition of purchases, which led to the apportionment of dividends. The surrounding societies had not yet adopted this custom. Even so, the example of success that Ripley held out did not cloud the minds of delegates to the idealism of co-operativism. There was a realisation that cooperativism was about more than providing dividends, but that if it did not do so then members might not personally value their custom with the Co-op over and above that given to the capitalist competition. This combination of altruism with common sense practicality was a hallmark of the relationship of working class folk to the Co-op and is memorialised even now in the bricks and mortar of the enormous numbers of prestige premises that were built by the movement in the latter part of the Nineteenth century in particular.
The Derby Co-op had its own Building Department from 1876, which assisted members financially in building or buying their own houses. Towards the turn of the century the Society began actually building these houses itself. The Co-op stamped its mark on the very geography of the town. Derby Street, Co-operative Street, Provident Street, Industrial Street and Society Place were a part of the Society's plan. Together these streets in New Normanton, then a prosperous new housing development, now a deprived inner-city area of Derby, constituted the Co-op's full title - "Derby Co-operative Provident Industrial Society".
The movement did not restrict itself to commerce, the Derby Society being instrumental in assisting the trade union campaign for a half-day closing holiday for employees in the distributive industry in the week. Sam Smith represented the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative Employees (AUCE - a forerunner of USDAW) in conferences with the local Grocers' Association on wages and conditions. Most shop workers had to work as late as eleven and twelve o’clock at night for between fourteen and sixteen shillings a week. From 1882 Smith pressed the Grocers to adopt the Tuesday half-day holiday, which the Co-op employees enjoyed. By 1884 they were closing early at 5.00 p.m., then 3.00 p.m. To avoid the argument that the cattle market met on Tuesday and therefore the half-day closure was impractical, the Co-op, at Smith's request, switched their half-day to Wednesday. Thus, the private grocers had no argument and were made to come into line. For the first time in the town all distributive workers had a half-day holiday in the week.
These new retail and wholesale co-operatives had sprung up out of the trades union movement. Despite attempts to distance the co-ops from the Labour Movement over the years, a tendency pressed by commercial desires as much in the formative years as in the modern era, they would never lose sight of their origins. 
4. Trades Unions in Derbyshire: 1848- 1890
As explained earlier, the nailmakers had organised very early on and the industry was particularly important to Belper. There were nineteen manufacturers in the town in 1835, many of them related to each other. Amongst these family names were Hunts and Masons, Melbournes, Walkers and Websters. The nineteen manufacturers' premises nestled by each other in Chapel Hollow, Fleet, Common Side, the Market Place and Queen Street. That close family ties were a particular feature of this mode of production is amply revealed by the fact that two-thirds of the businesses shared a common surname. 
Edward Blackham, High St William Melbourne, Fleet
Carr and Bridges, Queen St Henry Mold, King St
John Harrison and Sons, Lawn Hill Joseph Spencer, Fleet
Abraham Hunt, Common Side Joseph Walker, Common Side
Samuel Hunt, Market Place Samuel Walker, Chapel Hollow
William Jones, Chapel Hollow Watson and Webster, Queen St
Thomas Mason, Chapel Hollow John Watson, Market Place
John Mason, Field Head Edward Webster, Market Place
John Melbourne, Gutter William and John Webster, Queen St
By 1844 the industry had grown dramatically and there were 191 nail shops and six nail warehouses, as well as other metal trades; three wheelwrights, four blacksmiths and thirty five framework manufacturing shops. The nail trade grew apace; by 1857 there were five hundred workers making ordinary nails and three hundred making horse nails in Belper, generally in their own homes.
A major dispute affected all the horse nail makers in 1851, when a strike of several weeks duration took place. Their grievance was the employment of "foggers", or middlemen, by the masters and the dispute was extremely successful. The "fogger" system was abolished and each workman was to fetch and return his own work to the manufacturers. Heavy fines were to be imposed on manufacturers or workmen who reverted to the "fogger" system. But the victory was brief, for by the following week the nailers were out again and "many of them" simply moved to alternative work at Netherton, near Dudley, in Staffordshire's 'Black Country', as the employers evaded or avoided their responsibilities.
In 1858 the nailers were on strike again; this time over a cut in piecework prices. While a few returned to work "without submitting to a reduction of the price for work" only after another week out. The dispute must have been most effective, for a soldier in the Guards at Windsor wrote to his parents in Belper that he had "been working in the nailing business for his regiment since nails from Belper, on account of the strike, were not forthcoming". 
Two years later another battle occurred when the Black Country nailers' strike spread over into Derbyshire. Tremendous hardship was felt and game poaching became rife, so much so, that it was almost another industry in the town. One of the tombs in St. John's Churchyard was used to hide and store food that had been poached by the strikers. Their demands were for an extra sixpence (6d) for every thousand nails. Although one nail master verbally promised an increase of three pence (3d), this did not materialise. In the end the strike failed to achieve its objective, despite eight months of struggle.
But the industry continued to thrive and this defeat did not deter trades union action, particularly as the workforce became proletarianised. By the 1870s firms like John Harrison of Laund Hill had a factory in Marsh Lane, which employed five hundred men. By this stage the industry had moved out of back garden anvils in the workers' homes to fully-fledged factories. With this level of activity came the inevitable capital investment to reduce costs. Trouble flared up when a 'new technology' device was introduced in 1872, the 'Tommy Hammer', or 'Oliver'. The device was used to strike the head into the nail and immediately large numbers of nailers were laid off. In retaliation there were attacks on the hammers and bellows in the workshops in Belper, which rapidly spread to Wirksworth, when managers had to escape from the workshops "in fear of injury or life".  With the new techniques and increasing specialisation in the 'Black Country', nailmaking quite rapidly lost its significance in Belper as this comparison of the relative workforce in different factories in the town in 1876 shows:
Park Foundry 30
Lace hands 100
By 1889, when traditional nailmaking was still rapidly waning, the Belper workers were still well organised, even at the trade's death. In December, a demand for a significant wage increase was met with two offers of piecework increases within five weeks. The second, of three pence (3d) per thousand nails, fell short of the demand of five pence (5d), causing a short dispute that was soon ended by a return to work. Within the next few years the industry was dead in Belper and so was the Nailmakers' Union.
Upwards of sixty attended the Derby Coachmakers' Society annual supper at the Green Man Inn, St. Peter's Street, in November 1846, and the branch, part of the United Kingdom Society of Coachmakers, had some fifty members in 1851.  Derby was frequently visited by tramping coachbuilders. In the last quarter of 1851, the lodge paid out £8 6s 5d in benefits, indicating a very high level of usage of their clubhouse at the Green Man.
The Chesterfield lodge had only eight members, but nonetheless held their own clubhouse in the Barley Mow, open to travelling brothers.  Nor was the branch inactive with its tiny membership. In March 1859 the branch appealed to the executive council for intervention in the case of a painter who went to work for a farrier who had begun coach building, and the case is illustrative of the work of the society. Full time officers were a long way off. "Delegates", or workingmen who were paid loss of earnings for the time it took to handle a society trade problem, were more common. The UKSC "sent a delegate and found a small shop and a blacksmith was at work finishing a smith's job... Men not in the trade did most of the work". After the report, the society resolved that the painter could not work for the employer and belong to the society until the employer "provided separate apartments for coachworks and employed none but coach-makers." 
Such protective concern for the trade enabled the UKSC to maintain a strong power base in coachbuilding and the union grew significantly.
Membership of UKSC Derbyshire Branches 
1852 66 9
1856 96 18
1862 111 16
Moreover, there was a remarkably high level of involvement in the UKSC. In mid-1860, for example, in excess of fifty members attended a vote at the Derby branch on certain rule and policy proposals. There were four shops organised in 1862 in Derby, when the society established 6 am to 6 pm working in the week, ending work at 4 pm on Saturdays. There were one and half-hours for meal breaks. The three shops in Chesterfield operated similar hours that compared quite well with the rest of the country. 
Each clubhouse or branch assisted the other to maintain trade standards. A delegate was sent to Chesterfield in 1865 to deal with the grievances in all the small shops there. In Mrs. Kirk's shop, an engine-smith and a coach-smith were working together, at the same hearth; after his intervention, the manager agreed to the delegate's suggestion to build another. The delegate's report concluded: "the town being now quiet, we hope it may continue so for a long time to come". The society had done its work well, for that is exactly what happened.
Not so in Derby, however. In the summer of the following year a dispute was declared with a Derby employer, when a delegate called upon a Mr Smith to encourage him to introduce the Saturday 'half-holiday'. As the only coach-maker in Derby not to do so, Smith was told that the men would be coming out on strike; he obstinately declared himself bankrupt, rather than be told what to do by the society. His business was sold to new owners who, not being coachbuilders, appointed one of the men, naturally, a UKSC member, as manager, whereupon he promptly introduced the Saturday half-day. In the meantime, the society's procedures had been put into operation and an embargo had been declared on the company throughout the kingdom, which would mean that no society, and consequently no skilled coachmaker, would work in it. However, after "receiving a full report of the circumstances of the case from the members", the UKSC decided to consider the shop as never have been boycotted and the new foreman-manager entirely free from blame. 
The men of Derby proved themselves ever ready to act, for later in 1866 one shop was financially supported by the society for "resisting a reduction of wages", which in turn showed that the union was always ready to assist, unlike some bodies. For the UKSC was a trade society and a mutual benefit association in equal measure. Funeral benefits were substantial - £12 on the death of a member. Derby members, John Evans and John Steer, who died on the 9th July and the 26th July 1869 respectively, were able to rely on their families receiving a benefit which would more than pay for the funeral and perhaps even ease the financial loss of wages for a couple of weeks or so. 
The complex rules governing union benefits were often subject to considerable argument within the society, and the UKSC retained the constitutional practice of resolving such problems by votes in all the branches. The Derby lodge pursued a claim for Superannuation benefit for four members throughout 1869 and the following year, which ended in such a ballot vote. As usual, the precise details of the case were printed in the quarterly journal, for all to consider on "Quarterly Night", the branch meeting night every member had to attend or pay a fine for absence. In this case, John Hall (76 years old), James James (74), William Watson (72) and James W. Furniss (68), all with membership of the society pre-dating 1834, made a claim for a union pension in 1869. They were allowed eight shillings a week, but claimed that as they had first made the claim in 1861, but had allowed it to lie since then, they were entitled to Superannuation under the rules from that date, not the rules operating when they had reactivated their claim. It seems that from 1861 onwards they were continuing to earn, as top craftsmen, the very high wage of thirtytwo shillings a week and had waived their rights to claim in order to save their society money. The executive made much of these high wages, expressing considerable disbelief of their declared generosity, to the displeasure of the Derby lodge.
The rules of the society had been altered in 1861 to introduce a scale of payments according to the age of entry. To qualify for the full rate of twelve shillings a week pension, a man had to join immediately after apprenticeship and, for a ten-shilling pension, before he was thirty years of age. Joining after that age entitled members to an eight-shilling pension. The essence of the Derby case was that when the men first applied the rules were different and the debate about the fairness, or otherwise, of their case raged throughout several issues of the journal. The Derby secretary pleaded for justice and the issue was generally complicated by lack of records and membership cards from the early days. While the executive was concerned greatly that a too flexible approach to benefits under rule would cost the society dearly. For benefit expenditure had risen from £102 per quarter in 1865 to £303 a quarter just a mere four years later. Despite the eloquence of the argument, the ballot predictably went against Derby: 1,747 voted against them, while only 296 voted for the branch's position. 
As in many industries, the early Seventies saw a concerted offensive on reducing the working week amongst coach makers. Most, like Messrs Hall, of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, were operating a 56 1/2 hour week in 1871, but the main demand was for the nine hour day then being vigorously pursued by railway workers and engineering workers. The wheelwrights of Derby took up the demand at Cowlishaw's of London Road and readily won it. UKSC deputations were sent to Woolley's at Allestree, and elsewhere, and were able to win their demands. 
Herbert and Arthur Holmes, a well established and long since organised firm of coach makers, at London Road, Derby, conceded a 54 hour week in March 1872 and the UKSC journal commented: "We have to return thanks to the Messrs Holmes of Derby for granting the half holiday to their men on Saturdays, which we do most sincerely, hoping they may find that at the end of a year, that although so large a firm, they have lost nothing by their generosity". So, Holmes' had given the nine-hour day and then the UKSC had maintained its insistence on half day working on Saturday. 
Derby had been historically an important centre in the manufacture of horse-drawn coaches and carriages, especially in quality work. The rapid development of a new industry, the railway coach manufacturing operated by Midland Railways, was at first untouched by the UKSC, which viewed the whole thing with a kind of horror that gradually turned to hesitation. Once their concern for the maintenance of trade standards was satisfied, the UKSC soon began organising. Particularly strong was the demand for accepted trade wages and the coachmakers employed by the Midland expressed their gratitude in the UKSC journal to the secretaries of other branches who "so promptly replied to the letters sent to them requesting a statement of wages paid to their branch in the railway districts". No wonder they were pleased; it had been the means of their obtaining an advance of twenty-eight shillings per week. If other areas helped Derby, it was very much a two way process. We have already seen that the lodge played its part in providing delegates. Some were sent from the town to Leicester and Birmingham in the spring of 1873. No doubt the success of the UKSC in Derby on the hours battle would enable their delegates in their task of helping to "persuade the employers to concede the 54 hours". 
Indeed, as the UKSC journal revealed, it was as easy to obtain the 54 hours as it had been some months previously in Derby. Like the railway workers, who had won a similar battle, which had inspired others to emulate them, the coachmakers realised the importance of not only winning the 54 hours, but also establishing when those hours should apply. The UKSC recommended 6am to 5pm on weekdays and 6am to 1pm on Saturdays, but many employers simply met the demand by making the men work after 5pm on fewer days. As there was no overtime agreement, the employers had a clear escape route, unless the hours were fixed very firmly as the society recommended. The UKSC was very dissatisfied with it all, as they would have to "agitate for proper hours, thus having to fight two battles where one would have accomplished the object sought if a firm stand had been made at first". 
The ten years from 1879 to 1888 was a time of extreme trade depression in coachmaking.  Employers forced a tactic of retreat upon the union as there began a trend to impose wage cuts of up to 50%. The vehicle builders of the North-West of England were locked out in 1879, when the employers tried to compulsorily introduce a 56.5-hour week. In other towns, the employers maintained solidarity by blackmailing their workers into refusing to assist the lockouts. However, by and large, this tactic failed and the battle went on for an entire year. Many UKSC members voluntarily levied themselves a day's pay a week, including the entire Derby lodge.
The coachbuilders were rapidly forced to rethink their strategy generally. The masters began to toy with the idea of combining more effectively and the UKSC itself had to think about centralising some of it s activities. Even so, many of the virtues of the old trade society were retained - especially a strong commitment to locality and democracy. As the century began to draw to a close, the challenge in Derby for the society was to determine how to maintain its tight control over craft standards and wage the battle as a modern trade union. 
(iii) Cotton and Silk Textile Workers
The textile unions also retained much of the character of the old trade societies. They largely federal alliances of local craft associations. Negotiations were directed towards establishing agreed price lists, modified by adjustments from time to time. Unlike `new model' unions, like the engineers, the textile unions matched a federal structure with central bargaining - the very reverse of the ASE, which projected a central structure with a fondness for local bargaining.
Without doubt, the most important development in the cotton and silk industries was the process of mechanisation, which continued apace. Adherents of the stocking frame simply failed to appreciate that it was possible to mechanise further. J W Hancock, a manager of Ward's of Belper, repudiated the idea in 1844: "you may as reasonably expect to weave a coat by steam as to weave a stocking", concluding that the frame was likely to remain a domestic machine.  Despite such inaccurate projections of historical possibility, mechanisation of hosiery did take place. Throughout the Forties and Fifties, the hosiery workers battled to maintain standards in the form of agreed price lists in the face of this.
Early in 1846, the framework knitters of Duffield were "thrown into the deepest distress" as a result of "another attack...on their prices".  The workers spontaneously decided to resist the cuts, with marginal effect. The dispute lasted only a few weeks and, by the end of February, the village had begun to "resume its usual appearance by the silk glove hands returning to their employment".  Within another month, it had become clear that the “silk glove hands of Duffield, Belper and Holbrook (had) joined the consolidated trades union”.  An important lesson had been established, but it became difficult to act upon it everywhere. The recession in the trade, partly inspired by the shift to factory production, bit hard, especially in Chesterfield where framework knitters had been out of work for some time in 1846. The numbers of frames were diminishing rapidly: "Some years ago many hundred stocking frames were at work at Chesterfield and its vicinity: At present the aggregate does not exceed twenty".  Chesterfield, unlike Derby, did not seem to be able to make the transition - "Many (framework knitters) have forsaken the trade for the more lucrative one of day labourer". 
The problems of what was, by now, a generally stagnant textile industry, spread elsewhere. A major strike of workers of F Ball's lace manufacturers in Ilkeston developed on the 5th October 1847, when the masters imposed another reduction in wages. This turnout proved to be most `singular', for having met at the cricket ground to discuss the problem, the workers agreed to resolve the difference that existed between them by playing a cricket match! An offer made by the employer was at stake and "the game was won by the party for the refusal with upwards of one hundred notches (i.e. runs) to spare". 
The "wrought cotton hose hands" of Belper demonstrated in May 1849 to oppose wage cuts. Two hundred and fifty "hands" assembled one Wednesday evening and paraded the streets of the town, publicising their aim of regulating "the present statement and cause manufacturers to pay the same rate of prices", that is to say to maintain the previously agreed price lists. The masters resisted and a strike throughout the district began. By June, it was reported by the local press that the "artisans still remain out and avow their intention of continuing so till they have obtained an advance". Old tactics surfaced when, on 13th June, a "nocturnal visit was paid to the shop of Mr George Barker, (of) Smalley, and three frames were fractured”, no doubt, to prevent the making any more hose during the strike. 
Another month passed and the workers were still out. Some manufacturers had offered spun silk work at the 1828 `statement', or price lists, on the same conditions as paid by an Ilkeston manufacturer. The workers refused this, demanded the full restitution of two shillings a dozen extra on the cotton prices and one shilling for “black” work.  The strikers were, by now, in a terrible state of starvation and poverty. The market in Belper on one Saturday in July was "completely besieged with them asking alms" and the shopkeepers complained bitterly about the constant "demand for provisions" of the strikers.  They were still in struggle by the 18th July, after ten weeks, but we hear no more of them in the local press thereafter. It seems likely that some settlement, perhaps not to the liking of the workers, was arrived at to secure a return. Yet in May 1850, the Derby glove makers were out on strike again. One of their leaders, speaking at the Mechanics Hall, referred to their grievance as being the "tyrannical treatment at the hands of the middlemen in the town".
Months later, there developed yet again a strike among the Derby ribbon weavers, at a "large house", that is to say `business'. The strike, lasting three months, came to an end in February 1851, when the workers returned on the same terms as they went out on. The immediate cause of the dispute had been "the company's rules and regulations", but certainly the general stagnation of the industry and its low wages was at the heart of it. 
In 1853 the tape hands of Wheatcroft, Tatlow and Hackett in Wirksworth were on strike for several weeks over the definition of a new development in relation to the fixed price list. A new kind of medium size tape, containing 52 `picks' was introduced. The agreed price list contained prices for medium kinds containing between 40 and 52 picks and the masters argued for a price midway at 46 picks, while the workers insisted on the minimum figure, which produced the maximum piece-work payment. 
For all this often-unsuccessful struggle, new technology would dramatically restructure the textile industry and its industrial relations. Experiments with power-driven knitting frames led to the establishment of the first modern style hosiery factory in 1851 in Nottingham. The concept was just what the industry had been looking for and a dramatic shift to steam power began. In 1850 there were still six thousand hand frames in Derbyshire, including seven hundred in Derby itself, many being concentrated around the Bridge Street area. However, by the end of 1853, steam power was generally applied to seamless hosiery manufacture in Derby, rapidly killing off the thousands of hand frames and the occupation of hand framework knitter in the process. By 1862 there were only four factories engaged in hosiery in Derby, but they began to supplant the hand frames and other factories were set up following their example. By 1870, it could truly be said that factory production had eclipsed the hand manufacturing process, although Brettles only finally conceded to mechanisation two years later.  One of the last stockingers in the county was Edward Haslam, who kept a frame in his home until 1913. Brettles broke up the last surviving hand frame at the end of the 1920s, although two hand workers continued to produced occasional special orders until they retired in 1936.
Power frames dramatically increased production, whilst diminishing costs. One comparison at the 1851 great Exhibition showed a four-fold production increase for a four-fold selling price reduction, a 1,600% increase in productivity!!
weekly production selling price per
of square yards of square yard
hand-warp frame 50 2s 0d
power-warp machine 1,200 6d
By 1857 a separate union for power frame operatives was organised - the Nottingham Circular Framework Knitters' Society, the roots of which today lie in the National Union of Knitwear, Hosiery, and Footwear Workers (KFAT) - which organised spasmodically in Derbyshire. With the prosperity that began to return to the textile industry workers no longer would have to simply accept wages and conditions after a fruitless battle. Local societies formulated clear rules of organisation as the climate proved increasingly favourable to trade union growth. The Derby General Skein Dyers Society was formally founded on May 14th 1859. Rule XI made it clear that its key object was to "afford its members redress by legal means". The society held fortnightly and quarterly meetings, according to need. For a 2d a week subscription, members enjoyed a negotiated district rate and generally recognised working times and conditions. But this was no benevolent body, alone. Strike benefits were available, given the consent of a general meeting of all members.
The Derby Elastic Bandage Makers Society, which emerged in the Sixties, only admitted recognised framework knitters. Like the Skein Dyers, the prized the strike benefit rule. For 15 shillings a week, lock out or strike pay was available, plus a provision in the rules for any sum of levies on members. A tight organisation structure included a town's committee of management of the union, composed of one delegate from each shop of up to 20 men and two delegates where the shop was bigger.
After a protracted struggle in the textile trade in 1860-1, consisting of quite a number of strikes, the masters emerged from this experience only to find themselves contemplating a lock out to eliminate the newfound militancy. One dispute lasted eleven weeks, another at Bridett silk mill was many months long. Sensing a more profitable route, some of the major employers, led by A J Mundella, proposed the setting up of a Conciliation Board that was to cover Derby and Belper, along with Nottingham and Loughborough. The unions and the masters engaged in negotiations; despite initial suspicion on the part of the union side, it was eventually agreed to establish such a body. For two years the board acted as a mechanism for the avoidance of disputes. The unions' negotiators had been able to extract major concessions, but it was only because of the potential for successful strike action that their members had demonstrably acquired. A trade depression in the period 1862-1865 had some very severe effects on the industry in two ways of particular interest. This crisis was brought on a cotton famine due to the civil war in the United States.
The first obvious effect was to diminish Derbyshire’s importance as a cotton county. Lancashire, nearer to the ports, took over as the numbers working in cotton in Derbyshire fell from 20,000 in 1851 to 12,000 twenty years later. The second repercussion was on the character of industrial relations. For the economic crisis in the trade much reduced the bargaining power of the workforce. The need for the Conciliation Board as a means of averting strike action simply went away. Only with the return of good fortune to the industry did the board need to begin to respond again t pressures from the workers. The United Framework Knitters' Society was set up to co-ordinate the work of the employees' representatives on the board. A loose federation of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire local societies, it held meetings in Heanor and elsewhere to organise those willing to support joint regulation of the trade. Not all employers were by any means happy to accept this concept. There was a lockout in Derby in 1865 over the reduction of wages in some firms. By and large however the concept of the board was successful and the industry went through a period of strike free and lockout free peace.
By June 1866, unity proved possible for the textile workers in the three hosiery counties and the three trades of cotton, silk and wool. Three county delegate meetings of framework knitters were now genuinely able to establish the United Society "to protect our wages and to render assistance to all the members who subscribe to our funds and conform to our laws" (i.e. rules).  However, the long-standing sense of the separateness of the various branches of the trade ensured that little came of the initiative. Sectional consciousness rose above class-consciousness. Despite this, success bred success and the sheer effect of the unity process both stimulated and reflected a new confidence amongst trades unionists. Agreed printed lists detailing thousands of items brought stability in wages to the workers and fairness in competition between employers with the large measure of uniformity that followed. There were obviously some employers who preferred independence and preferred paternalistic management to this new concept, but change to a set of industrial relations that would be familiar to the modern day was underway.
In 1872 this was to lead to a general conflict in the silk trade locally. One key local employer was John Smedley of Riber Castle, whose Lea Mills near Matlock had well over a thousand hands spinning and manufacturing long, fine merino wool hosiery. Smedley was able to avoid the conflict and gave his reasons for why he believed he was able to do so. He advised taking lessons from the employers of old. "My ancestors' idea was that those who rode inside the coach, should make those as comfortable as possible who are compelled, from mere accident of birth, to ride outside." Smedley repudiated those employers who paid low wages, there was no `truck' at Lea Mills and earnings were "fully up to the average of the district". Moreover, no strict codes of rules kept order in his enterprise. Smoking and beer were not allowed, but were not formally prohibited. The workers "abstain ... from them regards to my feelings on the subject" believed Smedley. No supervision, he asserted, was necessary, "nor any person appointed to keep order because it is never needed". There were no "boisterous hands" and "bad language ... (was) ... never heard the year round". 
This was obviously the particular view of one rather paternalistic master, with a very old-fashioned sense of magisterial obligation, in one relatively remote mill. It could certainly not be a unanimous view for the trade by any means, especially as the silk industry in Derby was beset with difficulties when four thousand throwsters were locked out.  A massive rally was held in the Temperance Hall to review the developments that had given rise to this and to decide what next to do. 180 men had asked for a two shillings a week rise on their rather low basic wage of eighteen shillings, along with the introduction of time-and-a-quarter for all overtime. It was, in effect, a claim for parity with Nottingham, but the Derby masters refused to even consider negotiations and locked everyone out. The unreasonableness of the silk masters startled the lockouts. As the chairman at the Temperance Hall rally put it, "if the employers of Nottingham can afford to give the advance, why not those of Derby?" Some increases had been made before the lock out, only to be undermined by the employers demanding a corresponding increase in the workload. For example, at the Agard Street mills, which the lockouts sharply and adversely contrasted with Smedley, who was cited as "a perfect example of what an employer should be".
The workers steeled themselves for a long battle. A delegate from Nottingham referred to the recent loss of a "great struggle in the iron trade" and asked if they were to lose the present one. "No! No!" came the shouted reply of the lock-outs who resolved to "stand out until we obtain our reasonable request" and called for public donations for the lock out fund to be sent to W Richards, Scarsdale Arms, Colyear Street, Derby. Faced with the unused to solidarity, the Derby masters seemed to have allowed for some measure of conciliation to succeed, although the demand for parity with Nottingham was historically never to win through. Indeed, to certain extant, the Nottingham employers began to use this relative weakness as a rationale for moving their machines to eastern Derbyshire, away from the union. Although the Circular Knitters' Society had organised one factory in Ilkeston in 1874, by and large, the area between Derby and Nottingham remained a no-man's land. "A regular exodus" to places like Ilkeston and Heanor began in 1878. The union began to organise in these areas, but was unable to shift the rates up to the Nottingham differential. 
Most unions, like most mills, were becoming very male dominated, women being assigned to the lowliest of trades. The Seamers' and Stitching Union was founded in December 1874, with some financial assistance from the Women's Trade Union League. These skills were home-working occupations, paying as little as five shillings a week. Mainly centred in Leicestershire, the union had strong support in Derbyshire, probably several hundred members. The depression that came in the late Seventies, along with the death of the union's leader hit hard and within a decade it had faded away.
Frame rents in hosiery were finally abolished in 1874 by Parliament and disputes about frame rents were gradually superseded by more modern arguments. Brettles in Belper faced a major strike in 1876, when management complained that the workers had treated them very badly! It was, however, a good time for the masters and their solidarity was strong. Ward's offered to let Brettles use their machinery and premises to continue production. A terrible trade depression, lasting a decade, had begun and it was an opportunity for the masters to seek the breaking of union power of these new bodies. The transition form outwork to factory work gave workers in isolated places like Belper a high `market' value for their labour. A general determination to stamp out the wave of enthusiasm for trades unionism emerged. The Derby and Nottingham Elastic Web weavers were in battle in 1880 and the Derby Dyers' Society followed two years later.
Unemployment rocketed in 1885 and 1886 but, as the worst years receded and in time turned to boom, the past experience of unionism was rapidly put to use once again. Hosiery workers at Ilkeston established a local union in 1887 and enabled a three county discussion to take place about the formation of a power-frame workers' union once again. The Midlands' Counties Hosiery Federation was set up by the end of the next year and the first delegate meeting held in Ilkeston in June 1889, where the Ilkeston Union was given two out of the twelve seats on the joint federation committee. Greatly encouraged by the Federation this union grew rapidly, despite frequent lockouts, spreading into both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. H Bristol, the Ilkeston Union secretary, helped launch a recruiting campaign in Belper and elsewhere in 1890. In April of the following year the knitters of Heanor organised. All pretence at maintaining an agreed uniform price list was now dropped, for the Ilkeston hosiery workers were as worried as the masters at the prospect of attaining the Nottingham rate. After all, their relatively cheap labour had got them their jobs in the first place. Whilst advances in wages and conditions were tenaciously fought for, the concept of a negative differential with Nottingham was very much at the heart of the eastern Derbyshire trades unionists.  By 1893, the Ilkeston Union had recruited most male knitters in the five towns it covered; 640 out of some eight hundred belonged to the union. The problem of organising the largely unskilled women workers remained. Out of around a thousand possible members the union had only won forty. 
By the Great Exhibition of 1851 there were new model unions for the three separate sections of the lace trade, that is to say levers, plain and net. These covered four thousand lace workers in the county. Like the other unions of the type, they charge very high subscriptions and were very selective about who was allowed to join. In consequence, very few workers were organised, but the effectiveness of trade union pressure saw the establishment of a joint arbitration approach, as in the rest of the textile industry, which helped to push up Derby lace workers' weekly earnings from 33/- to 45/9d five years later. A depression in the trade in 1873 brought the end of conciliation and the masters tried to cut wages. The strike that resulted was so effective that the lace masters became determined to end the influence of the Nottingham based unions. In consequence, lace manufacture began to be concentrated around Derby and on the outskirts of Nottingham, much to the gain of the former.
Following on from this, the three lace societies came together in 1874 to form the Amalgamated Society of Lacemakers (ASL, which later joined the NUHW, later NUH&KW, which then joined KFAT a union that became part of Community), which was the main union in the lace trade in Long Eaton and Ilkeston for the next two decades. Organisation was patchy though. Two years after its foundation, the Long Eaton lodge's activity was "very cool".  Even when the ASL cut contribution rates in 1878, many men would not join out of fear. "Everything regarding the societies in Long Eaton seemed dead."  Wages remained relatively low at between twelve shillings and twenty-two shillings a week and employers continued to drift towards the eastern Derbyshire belt. After a serious wage dispute in 1877, F P Norris, a major lace manufacturer in Nottingham, took on men who travelled from Long Eaton at his expense. The next year, he moved lock, stock and barrel to Long Eaton, where he began to pay lower than the Nottingham rate. 
In Derby, Fletcher Brother opened a new lace factory in the 1880s on Osmaston Road, making it quite clear that trades unionists need not apply. Against this unpromising background, the lace workers only very gradually unionised. A recruitment campaign in 1878 did not do very well, but the eighties brought more success, especially in Long Eaton. As part of a recruiting campaign, Joseph Arch, the founder of the agricultural workers union, was invited to speak in Long Eaton in 1884. However, the employers countered this by a lock out. Nevertheless, considerable numbers joined and the lock out changed to a long drawn out guerrilla war. By March 1885, the ASL was able to declare all Long Eaton shops as `open' to them and five hundred members were organised. Employers were reluctant to employ trades unionists, but at 25% more wages a week, the men were naturally more than happy to combine.
However, by the end of the decade there were only one hundred and fifty members of the ASL in Long Eaton and only thirty-nine by 1902. Competition became fierce between the craft orientated Amalgamated Society and the Long Eaton and District Association of Operative Lacemakers (LEDAOL – later part of WU, today part of the T&G's Textiles Trade Group). The latter tended to be favoured by the employers in the town, because of their lack of contact with the higher paid Nottingham lace makers, which enabled LEDAOL to more easily accept a lower district rate. Additionally, the trend to mechanisation - there were over two hundred lace machines in Long Eaton by 1889 - considerably undermined the craft ASL, whereas LEDAOL easily organised unskilled workers.  The craft union continued to struggle unsuccessfully for dominance into the Nineties.
(v) Building Workers
One effect of the rapid economic growth of the entire Victorian era was a vast increase in the scale and importance of the building trade. Houses, factories, railway stations and public buildings of all kinds were constructed in great numbers. This development took place in an industry in which skilled tradesmen had always had trade unions. Societies like the Stonemasons' had at one stage been the most powerful in the trades union world. After the collapse of GNCTU, the builders' unions simply carried on as before. As well as lodges of all the key traditional trades - masons, bricklayers, joiners and carpenters - other bodies were also set up. Some thirty people attended a supper at Derby's Rose and Crown; they were members of the "Journeymen Painters' Friendly Society", which had recently been established for the "relief of widows ... (and) ... also for protecting the trade from unqualified persons". 
Derby's builders were organised, as elsewhere, entirely along trade lines. Although joint disputes did sometimes take place, like that of 1847 when local bricklayers and labourers jointly struck for an advance. A demand was posed for 24/ for bricklayers and fifteen shillings for labourers, "being an increase of two shillings per man, per week". This at a time when a ten-hour day rate for bricklayers was calculated to be 5/- and for labourers to be 3/-.  Generally the unions were for skilled men and there must have been a sense of the labourers being `theirs’ for the bricklayers to work jointly with them. Each trade demanded its own society and there was often violent hostility between them. Consequently the trade unions were tiny organisations, an elite amongst workingmen. The Operative Plumbers' Trade Union and Provident Society had only seven lodges nationally in 1852 - one of them in Derby - though with a total of eighty one members nationally, there could only have been a handful of men in the society in the town. 
The building worker was faced with his biggest challenge over the campaign for the nine-hour day in 1859. Fearful of the rising tide of unity and militancy that grew with the demand, the employers resorted to old tactics. The `document' reappeared and members of the various trade unions were locked out until they signed a repudiation of their society. A massive publicity campaign was waged, especially in London, where the battle was at its fiercest. Vast collections of money were made in solidarity with the lockouts and one by one the masters gave in. By February 1860, the lock out was at an end. Though only half a victory, it gave a tremendous boost to the small, localised craft societies. As the lock out drew to a close, George Potter, the carpenters' leader, called a conference in Derby around the campaign towards establishing a nine-hour day association. This was entitled the "United Kingdom Association for Shortening the Hours of Labour in the Building Trade". All the societies attended the conference, which was successfully countered by a proposal from the masters to introduce hourly payments on the basis of flexible working day. Quite simply, this enabled the employers to cut the pay of those who worked the nine hours. In the face of this, the masons and the bricklayers withdrew in March and the plasterers soon followed. 
Despite setbacks, building unions blossomed in the generally confident mood that prevailed after the lock out. The Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners (ASC&J) was founded in 160 on the close model of the engineers' ASE. Strikes were made difficult by rule in the ASC&J, a twenty one-part questionnaire intentionally aimed to inhibit applications for dispute benefit. The Plasters came together in a similar mood of unity on the 28th March 1860 in the National Association of Operative Plasterers (NAOP - today part of the T&G's Building Crafts Section). For their part they followed the stonemasons' constitutional model, which tended to allow them to respond with more militancy.
Potter was a leading trades unionist of the day, born in 1832 at Kenilworth, he was himself the son of a carpenter. He became secretary of a local carpenters' society in London in 1853 and within four years was the virtual leader of the 9 hours movement. Secretary of the Council of United Building Trades, he was also publisher of the radical newspaper, the Beehive. Potter tried to weld all building unions together, traversing trade loyalty. Aiming to build on the gains of 1860, he convened another national conference in Derby. His speech is recorded in the "Proceedings of a Conference of Delegates from the Building Trade held...at Derby, January 1861", published n London later that year. Old Owenite and more recent Chartist desires can be sensed, not merely the aim of maintaining basic economic standards. Potter believed that the "question was not a pounds, shillings and pence" one, but it was a matter of "the right of the workman to have his intellectual facilities properly educated". In passing, it might be observed that all these national goings-on in Derby - the site of the infamous lock out only a quarter of a century before, well within living memory - must have had an effect on the local movement of building workers. The choice of the town as a conference centre may even have perhaps even reflected the state of organisation and opinion locally. 
But, nationally, Potter was badly isolated. His opponents were a new style trades unionist, less concerned with social change than with the change in their members' pockets! As if in reply to the 1861 conference, the Carpenters' and Joiner general Union was re-organised in 1862 into a more centralised and businesslike body. Many of the lodges criticised the lack of independence now due to them and were circularised by the Manchester and Derby lodges against the new rules. Special exception was taken to the replacement of tramping by an out-of-work benefit.  Derby continued to display a unity of purpose locally, when bricklayers and other trades jointly stuck in March 1865. During 1875, the ASC&J absorbed the National Association of Carpenters and Joiners, which was itself a splinter from the General Union and had a branch in Derby.
So, trades unions at this time were almost entirely the preserve of skilled craftsmen. In the supporting materials industry, however, trades unionism began to grow, albeit rather slowly. Other unions were particularly able to establish themselves in this sector as it increasingly relied upon mass production techniques. The Derby branch of the Amalgamated Society of Mill Sawyers and Wood Cutting Machinists held its inaugural meeting at the Leviathan Inn in London Rd, Derby, in March 1850. Whilst the building brick industry expanded enormously with the building of massive brickworks like Butterley's and Mapperley's. First established to provide for the construction of pit shafts, engine houses and colliery offices, companies such as these moved into the new and massively expanding housing market. Initially, bricks had been made out of clay by hand. A top operative in this skilled trade could make six hundred bricks an hour. With the introduction of modern technology, the trade became de-skilled and only in the great union revolt of the unskilled in the Nineties did the industry become organised.
Similarly, the enormous civil engineering projects of the nineteenth century were not generally organised. Will Thorne, later to become founder of the Gas and General Labourer' Union (part of today's GMB), worked as a navvy on the construction of the Derby-Burton railway line. He was later to write that he believed that his subsequent activities had much to do with the experience of living with the "big hearted, carefree men" who worked on the project. "They were an independent type with the spark of rebellion glowing bright within them." But the rebellion was largely individual, not collective. It would take the explosion of the Nineties to spread independent unionism amongst unskilled builders' labourers. 
Distribution of coal measures in Derbyshire in the 19th century:
There were no serious attempts to organise the miners in the various coal mining areas of the county for quite some time after the disaster of 1843-44. Although, elsewhere some vestiges of organisation were shown when a public meeting of lead and copper miners was held at Bakewell’s Town Hall on May 28th 1855, to consider their concern over a parliamentary bill that would “render every Lead and Copper mine in England subject to the Poor-rate”. Already, the effects of `globalisation’ had visited the county, as British capitalism shifted its strategy for the exploitation of mineral resources to its increasing imperialist stance and sought such materials where they could be more cheaply resourced. But technology still required ample coal to be available at first hand to industry. Apart from an improved ability to extract better wages that perhaps came from this need, coal miners also experienced the growth of paternalism amongst some owners. Some built schools in the pit villages. The first secretary of the yet to be established Derbyshire Miners' Association (DMA), James Haslam, attended one of these schools in Clay Cross, which was a converted stable. A later development was self-supporting and entry was possible only by virtue of a penny subscription. 
Despite all this, individual cases of action did continue. For example, a meeting of over one thousand coal and ironstone miners from Clay Cross, Staveley, Duckmanton, Dronfield and Alfreton was held at the Forge Hillocks, Brampton, in April 1851. A wage increase and reduction in working time was demanded.  The provision of school such as that attended by Haslam by no means dented support for wages struggles. Indeed, education was rare among the miners and their families. Poverty was a much more common commodity.
The Butterley Company undertook a survey of its adult employees in 1856. This revealed that a third could not read at all. In the same survey, the wages of skilled and ancillary tradesmen compared very well to the collier himself:
trade wages in shillings
carpenters and joiners 20
underground pitsmen 15-20
The infamous "butty" system existed at Butterley's, as elsewhere in the county. The origin of this name is obscure, but it has been suggested that it is a `euphonious' name, i.e. pleasing to the ear, or agreeably sounding. An obvious comment about how some academics lack roots in the working class comes to mind! Perhaps more realistic is the idea that it probably emanates from the word `booty', for a prize or reward.  The system operated through the coal owner awarding a contract to small scale `bosses’, who owned the digging tools and hired the miners. These middlemen were rather like the framework knitters' `bagmen', or in a more modern version, the building workers' `lump labour' contractor. (All coal mining was then privately owned, although it is interesting to note that Derby Co-operative Society was involved in an abortive attempt to set up a co-operative colliery in Ripley. This failed through lack of capital, the society losing some £500 in the venture.) The butty man was at once an employer and a worker. His job was to supply coal at a fixed price and get what they could for themselves at the same time. Being men of limited capital, they faced considerable risks if they agreed a price and then found that the seam was not as good as they had originally thought. To pass on the risk, the butty men would use any tactics they could get away with to get the miner to work at low pay or a faster rate. Accidents were especially bad in butty districts, due to the dangerous systems of pit propping used, which allowed of a speedier pace of work.
The emphasis in safety legislation was very much on the individual miner, not the owner. One worker was imprisoned for a month in 1860 after a fatal accident at Clay Cross was deemed to be his fault, in that he had set insufficient props in the area he was working in. Trades union pressure on Liberal MPs did however ensure some reforming legislation, such as the 1860 Coal Mines Regulations Act, which stopped the employment of under twelve year olds and introduced the right for the men to employ their own official checkweighers. The first in Derbyshire to be so employed was Jonathan Catchpole, who worked at Springwell colliery, Staveley, in 1865. Catchpole (1843-1919) was involved in a rival organisation to the Miners' Association led by Alexander McDonald in 1864. He was on the credentials committee when a conference was held in Chesterfield. However, in the year that he became checkweighman, he was elected secretary of the McDonaldite Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Miners' Association. Subsequently, he was one of the founders of the Derbyshire Miners' Association (DMA), the forerunner to the NUM's Derbyshire Area. The personal insecurity that was then implied by being in a position of trade union leadership caused Catchpole to drop out and he became sub-postmaster at Holywell Cross in Chesterfield.
Miners in the northern part of the county were organised by the South Yorkshire Miners' Association (SYMA), which had been formed in April 1858. The first SYMA branch in Derbyshire was set up in August 1861 in Chesterfield, after several meetings were held at the Three Tuns Inn. A sudden demand for coal had led to the employers in April introducing an eleven-hour day; instead of the area's traditionally low nine and a half hours, much to the displeasure of the men. For the Yorkshiremen, their interest was in stopping the undercutting of themselves by the unorganised, lower paid Derbyshiremen. 
Dissatisfaction grew however with the SYMA's treatment of the county's new recruits. By 863, a Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Miners' Association (DNMA) was formed, but operated only clandestinely until 23rd December 1865, when it was formally inaugurated at the George Inn in Eckington. Very soon, the employers were determined to check the growth of unionism.
Four thousand miners met in support of the union on Selston Common, with another thousand meeting at Chesterfield in the summer of 1866. The employers hinted that a lock out would ensue if the men did join the union and were as good as their word.  Very soon hundreds of families were evicted from their homes and feelings ran high. The union reached a membership of over seen thousand across the two counties, from its starting point of three hundred only a few months before: 
Clay Cross 700
The union raised large sums for shelters and tents to accommodate the locked out and evicted families. Strikebreakers were brought in, not only to take the jobs but also, more outrageously, the homes of the union men. The coal owners created company `unions', for example the Free Labour Society created by William Hunt of the Clay Cross Company, in competition with the lockouts’ organisation. As hunger set in, and the absence of a formal strike fund revealed itself, many men began to drift back to work. Trades unionists of all kinds rallied to assist the miners in their desperation. The London Society of Brushmakers granted £10 to a deputation of miners from the county, "who are locked-out because they have joined a trade society", at a meeting on the 30th January 1678.  The Executive of the carpenters' ASC&J gave £5 specifically to the Staveley miners.
By the beginning of 1867 there were still about 1,500 men out in Derbyshire, but after January the movement faded away. By June only about 500 members were left in the union in north Derbyshire, with around 1,400 in Nottinghamshire and south Derbyshire jointly. In May, 200 miners of Church Gresley and Swadlincote were locked out for being in the union. The struggle united the whole county and in June a tremendous `camp meeting' to rally the miners was held in a field near Cotmanhay. Jonas Hooper of Church Gresley and Joseph Severn of Ilkeston were amongst the main speakers. As was William Brown, a lay Methodist preacher and miner from Yorkshire, who had come to the area to help organise the event, which was reminiscent of revivalist religious events common at the time. Their stirring addresses mingled trades unionism and religion in an evangelical vein. The oft-repeated received wisdom - more a half-truth than a half-lie but nonetheless mis-directional for all that - that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than to Marxism arguably dates from this period, when dis-established religious figures were willing to openly speak for working class rights in a way that the Churches of England or Rome were not prepared to. The miners at long last gave in during March 1868, but only after all those long months of starvation and legal harassment. 
For four years the miners of the county became inactive, but in 1872 concessions to the nine-hour day began to be made. Two thousand workers came out in a technically non-union dispute at Ripley; they were followed by other workers at Alfreton and all successfully extracted these concessions.  Coal was once more in demand and in these favourable conditions the South Yorkshire Miners' Association was able to once again establish itself in the county, At first only one lodge of a hundred and sixty five members were established in the New Whittington, Killamarsh and Unstone areas. From then onwards, the union's revival was rapid. But the quasi-religious camp meetings of the Sixties gave way to a more secular vein. While religion often coloured the language of trade unionists, it had become much less important as an aim in itself.
SYMA lodges SYMA membership
in Derbyshire in Derbyshire
October 1872 17 1,311
January 1873 21 2,134
November 1874 38 7,018
Once again, parallel to this development, there grew a desire for a specifically Derbyshire county association. The DNMA again resurfaced, mostly in Derbyshire, rather than in Nottinghamshire. In 1873, there were 21 lodges and around 3,000 members, within a year this situation had almost doubled. The SYMA and the DNMA did not compete, except in Clay Cross, rather there were natural spheres of influence. The South Derbyshire and North Leicestershire Miners' Trade Society was founded in 1873. The SYMA was strong in the very far north and its organisation of a miners' parade in Chesterfield in 1873 was very impressive. Thirty thousand visitors poured into the town to watch the miners, their thirty brass bands and lodge banners. As always, miners prized their banners as a badge of battle. Such pride was exemplified on another occasion, when the Clay Cross branch paraded its new £60 banner through the town lead by a band. Considered the "finest piece of workmanship of its kind in the county - on one side was a traditional `before and after' theme of the non-union, ragged, poverty stricken collier, on the other was a `Liberty' female form." 
Bitter struggles characterised the experience of the miners, as when eleven leaders of the Butterley men were refused work after a dispute ended in 1874. 1,100 employees signed a petition calling for their re-engagement. "As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them," argue the men. Such victimisation was commonplace, but only served to harden the resolve of miners. A photograph of those involved in the 1874 Butterley dispute is in the possession of Erewash Museum (see pic below). It is labelled "Victimised by the Butterley Company May 5th 1874, without charge" and the names of the individuals were originally hand-written: T Shooter, G Brown, G Cox, G Taylor, T Vickers, J Statham, ? Seal, T Wheeldon, J Wright, T Purdy; by their demeanour and distribution, Wheeldon is clearly the leader of the group. Many sharp battles of this kind occurred, some enabling actual positive gains, although the miners were often criticised for the `greed'. But, as a DMA leader put it: "in 1871 coal was selling at 8s per ton, and it was now (i.e. 1873) sold at £1. Out of the 12s per ton advance, labour had only 2s, therefore capital had the remainder." 
It was, however, a time of rapidly expanding demand and the employers were not in a position to opposite the growth of trades unionism. Yet, much dissatisfaction developed amongst the Derbyshire miners at the remoteness of the SYMA's Barnsley headquarters. Indeed, the union was renamed the South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Miners' Association in 1876, on the proposal of the Horton lodge. This concern grew sharper as the masters began to seek wage cuts after the early Seventies' prosperity. Membership fell from over 7,000 to nearly 4,800 two years later. By late 1876, the SYMA (or SYNDMA as it should now be called) began to dramatically loose members in Derbyshire, despite its extended name. By December 1879 it had barely 250 members left in the county and from the following year Derbyshire miners began to go their own way. In the meantime, both the DNMA and the South Derbyshire society fared no better and were virtually extinct by 1878. From a high spot in 1873, within five years wages had dropped by about a half, now being well below the 1871 level. 
The conditions for the development of one united mineworkers’ association in the north of the county association were more than ripe. The Derbyshire Miners' Association (DMA) was formed by a group of the former activists from both the SYMA and the DYMA at a meeting at the Sun Inn, West Bars, in Chesterfield. Fifty delegates met on the 6th December 1879, representing upwards of 10,000 miners.  The pits represented were:
Blackwell Foxley Caks Sheepbridge
Brampton Grassmoor Staveley
BeythorpeKniveton Park Summerley
Clay Cross New Stead Unstone Silkstone
Cottam Pangelay's Unstone Main
Pointing to the improved state of trade, they resolved to ask the owners for "a reconsideration of their present rate of wages". The new association revealed itself to be strongly influenced by the general trend to the establishment of formal conciliation boards, which they asked the masters to agree to, so that a situation might prevail "whereby strikes and lock-outs might become things of the past". The men were very "anxious to arrange matters amicably", but as time passed by and the masters had not responded, they decided to ballot the coalfield. But it could not have been a serious proposition; in the face of the employers' hostility the union was virtually powerless until it could translate the initial enthusiasm for the union into a fighting machine. Despite the wide support at the beginning of the year, by the end of 1880 the DMA had only 10 lodges.
But as trade continued to improve and the employers began to worry over the prospect of a dispute, the DMA was able to extract important wage concessions and recruitment soared. Despite the fact that the stated aim of the DMA was to convince rather than compel, disputes occurred especially at places where the union was weak or non-existent:
colliery reason for Dispute
Grassmoor working hours
Summercotes use of safety lamp and piecework earnings
Coles Park use of safety lamp and piecework earnings
Mapperley wage cuts
Meanwhile, miners in the south of Derbyshire had set up a permanent body - the South Derbyshire Amalgamated Miners' Association - which was founded in 1883 under the leadership of William Buckley. Initially covering only the Church Gresley area, it spread to the whole coalmining area in that part of the county.
The Coal Mines Act of 1872 had created minimum safety standards and many miners' leaders continued to argue for improvement by recourse to the political system. Liberal support was strong among the miners. The work of Nottingham Liberal MP, Mundella, in popularising conciliation boards, firstly in his own industry of textiles, paid off in mining as well. The Employers' Liability Act of 1880 was particularly welcome to miners, for it gave all workers a general legal claim for damages arising out of accidents at work. If a fellow worker was partly to blame, the employer could evade responsibility, a qualification only dropped in 1897.
Despite the benefits of the Act, the tragedy of the miners' lot was not altered. The dreadful explosion at the No 7 Parkhouse pit on November 7th 1882 was one of the worst disasters of the time. 45 men and boys died and 33 widows and around 100 orphans were thus created in one fell swoop. A whitewash inquest held at the Queen's Head in Clay Cross absolved the employers from blame, containing not a single miner the jury was composed of `gentlemen', farmers, grocers and just two skilled craftsmen. The "accident" was attributed to a methane gas explosion and naturally most of the dead were horribly burned. Thus the tragedy and danger of mining was not eliminated by legislation and the political strategy adopted by the miners only partly alleviated the daily problems of the collier, mainly by providing limited compensation in some circumstances. In the wake of the controversy over the Parkhouse explosion and the consequences of legislation, the Midland Colliery Owners Association instigated the setting up of a Miners' Fatal Accident Relief Society in 1883. Initially, the DMA was distrustful of this move, believing it to be an attempt to allow the owners to escape the implications of the Employers' Liability Act. Typically, miners sought a sense of pride in the danger of their work and the immediate concern simply had to be the winning of a pay packet to feed their families. 
A six-week dispute against wage cuts in Ilkeston began spontaneously in 1885. The DMA took control of the strike, even though most of the men were not members. Emotions were strong. When a crowd of a thousand men and women broke the windows of the house of one Francis Newton, a strikebreaker. A set of mock wooden gallows, with a black stocking hanging from it, was left outside his home. The colliery manager went berserk when the crowd reached his house, shooting and wounding nine of the strikers. In the end, despite the furore, the dispute was settled by a compromise of halving the reduction demanded by the employers. 
The DMA secretary, James Haslam stood in the 1885 election for the Chesterfield division as a "Liberal-Radical", without the formal support of the Liberals. Haslam failed to get elected with 1,907 votes to the Tories' 2,136 and the Liberals' 3,408, but despite this the experience by no means daunted the DMA. It continued to support the Labour Electoral Association, a Liberal body devoted to getting working class candidates selected by the party. For some time the miners would remain attached to the Liberal in a way no other group of workers would.
A strike wave swept the Derbyshire coalfields in 1889, displaying the first signs for a long time of a truly organised militant spirit. A strike at Pilsley, near Clay Cross, at the beginning of 1889 was the climax. There the men struck for a 10% increase for the pit-top, unskilled banksmen. All underground workers had been accorded a 20% increase the year before, but banksmen had been missed out. In a tremendous display of solidarity, the colliery struck. Haslam addressed the men in the open space before the Star Inn and there was never any doubt of some success. In the end, the dispute ceased with the company's offer of 3s 2d for the banksmen, a small increase but a tremendous moral victory.  Another dispute emerged at Alfreton over the butty system at the same time. All this activity resulted in a stupendous growth for the DMA, which now began what was to become a long tradition of an annual demonstration at Chesterfield. The first event in 1889 had 51 lodges represented, with 15 brass bands. The era of the miners' gala had arrived. Proud, defiant, independent and strong, the miners paraded their virtues and all workers around in the county nearby would have taken note.
Perhaps because of its Liberal adherence, the DMA was reluctant to join the new federation of county union, the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) in 1890, because of suspicions about its supposed excessive militancy. The Federation had emerged out of the national pressure on politicians to introduce an 8-hour day act, an issue that should have been especially relevant to Derbyshire. Between 48 and 54-hour week generally applied in the county, a reflection of the weakness which the DMA faced. This weakness was to diminish in almost inverse proportion to the increasing importance of the county's coal production. In the period 1880 to 1913 production in the area increased by 125% compared to a national increase of 95%: 
national tonnage Derbyshire tonnage
1880 147 million 8 million
1913 287 million 18 million
The Derbyshire coal trade owed much to its expansion to the coming of railways in a big way. Midland Railway especially favoured Derbyshire coal over Yorkshire coal and maintained a favourable haulage rate. With the expansion came a vast increase in the numbers employed and consequently the DMA membership. By the beginning of the Nineties mining trades unionism was at last firmly established, but the union had yet to experience greater trauma and wider political lessons had yet to be observed.
DMA membership in the 1880s 
No sooner had the railways established themselves than workers began to react defensively. Late in 1849, porters' wages at the Midland railway were cut from 17s a week by 1/-. Draymen, with wages at 18/-, were "offered" a reduction of 1/- as well. At Leeds the men refused to accept this and in consequence 40 men were sacked and the directors advertised for new men at the new rate. In solidarity with this outrageous behaviour, the Derby men immediately followed the Leeds example. This lead to a general cessation of nearly all the Midland Railway staff, which was considerably embarrassing to the company. No doubt a satisfactory solution was found, for only days later the local paper was able to coyly announce of the strike that "happily it is now ended". 
Within four years further problems arose when the company retained a fortnight's wages. About 120 men met at the Park Street "Labour Hall", near the station, to resolve that they strike to keep their weekly payment of wages, but allow the company to retain four days in hand. "Namely, that our previous Saturday's weekly wages be paid to us on the Thursday night following".  Trying to win support from the public for their position, the men "excited general sympathy...and a...considerable amount of money" to their cause.  Out on strike only a short while, the men easily won their argument against this background.
But this initial ease with which the railway workers took action was soon to be restricted by the rigid military style discipline that was imposed, in part to inhibit the development of unions under the guise of achieving greater efficiency. For a decade or more, independent and militant action was stifled. A railwaymen's society was established nationally in 1865, with some considerable difficulty, for the employers' hostility was an overwhelming stumbling block. Two years later a newly formed Engine Drivers' and Firemen's United Society seemed ready to really take off, following massive support for a dispute in the North East of England and East Yorkshire. On 28th April 1867, a delegate meeting of over a thousand men was held at Derby, which decided pretty unanimously in favour of recommending a solidarity general stoppage. But later meetings caused the new leadership to think again and in the end the strike in the north failed and with it the new union.
After the intervention of a reforming Liberal local politician, M T Bass MP, the early efforts of these unsung heroes of the railway began to bear fruit. A series of major railway disasters, caused by the fatigue of staff working on over long duties, focused public attention on the industry. Some of the most dangerous lines were in the Derbyshire area, particularly on the Birmingham-Derby line. One of Bass' protégés, the early Derby-based union leader, Charles Vincent, was to write later: "Of all places on the Midland (railway) the sidings at Toton, on the Erewash Valley Line, were the most notorious... (it) … was the chief slaughterhouse on the Midland".  Typical was the case when a trainload of mixed goods travelling from Birmingham to Derby, crashed into a heavy coal train when the driver and fireman fell asleep from sheer fatigue. Miraculously, they escaped death and were able to provide the details of their shift. The driver, a Derby man, had written his shift patterns in a book. Covering a lengthy period, these revealed an average of nearly a 16-hour shift over 6 weeks. 
numbers of days daily shift in hours
Not that this was at all unusual. Marx discovered an example, reported in Reynold's News in 1866, of a fireman obliged to work an 88 hour 40 minute week. This worker found that he was only eligible for payment for a maximum shift of 13 hours a day, or 78 hours a week, the discrepancy being taken as voluntary unpaid overtime! Such excess hours were considered an obligation arising from the `privilege' of being a railway worker. 
Of course all this was simply the historic conflict between profits and safety. Yet technical improvements that could bring a higher safety standard were possible and affordable. In the second half of 1871, Midland Railway was an averagely profitable company, netting £192,756 in profits. The five key railway companies could pull in anywhere between one fifth and one quarter of a million pounds profits per annum. (See note on assessing the relative value of historical prices in the final Appendices.) Railways were, at this stage at least, a very significant investment possibility. Yet how can we understand the apparent contradiction of the involvement of M T Bass (1799-1884)? Himself a wealthy and powerful man, brewer millionaire, Midland Railway director and MP for Derby (1848-83), Bass helped to create the first, permanent railwaymen's union largely because of his concern for this safety factor.
Perhaps there was more than an element of self-interest in his stand? His family beer empire ran the largest railway network which was independent of the purely railway operating companies. The carriage of bulk expensive commodities, on which his business relied, was too serious a matter to leave to chance, accidents cost money as well as lives - and even these too were beginning to cost money in the form of compensation. As the largest shareholder in the Midland Railway, he unsuccessfully attempted to convince the board of directors of the need to ensure a better safety record. Quite apart from any business considerations, as a local Liberal MP in a railway town, Bass had to be interested in public safety. It was good politics in a time of a widening franchise. But as a shareholder, he believed it to be a profitable line to argue for better safety provisions. His strand of democratic capitalist politics was ideologically attached to the concept that a managed capitalism was better for business than an entirely free market.
There was even a case for saying that more profits could be made by improved attention to safety. Citing the level of compensation to the public paid by the Western Railways, at £120,000 per annum, Bass argued that if only three quarters of that sum were spent on better safety measures, like four lines instead of two, then £40,000 extra profit would be available each year.  The message was: safety is profitable when you are dealing with the public. Bass resolved to do something about it, when his fellow directors failed to back him, and found the rising tide of disquiet at their gross exploitation amongst the railwaymen as a fertile basis for the nurturing of his plans. A key figure in his scheme was Charles Basset Vincent, an ex-dentist, who had drifted into railway working and tinkered with some of the early attempts at trades unionism. After writing to the Birmingham Daily Post about railway accidents, Vincent was informed that the famous Mr M T Bass, MP for Derby, wished to see him. A £5 note, maybe five or six weeks wages, was provided for him to go to Rangemoor Hall in Burton-on-Trent.
Vincent was thrust into a new world; "24 hours before, I was at the very lowest rung of the ladder of disappointment and despair", he later wrote.  His role would be to provide Bass with working class contacts to support his intended parliamentary bill to shorten hours of railway `servants', as they were then called. With the finance, organisation and patronage of Bass, via Vincent, the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS) was formed in 1871. (After a series of mergers and name changes this organisation's history can be traced into the modern National Union of Railwayworkers, Maritime and Transport Workers - RMT) At first only a name, it was decided to begin the organisation of an effective national railway trade union by the convening of a London conference. Preparatory to this, "pre-concerted" meetings were held in a private room at the Green Dragon Inn in St Peter's Street, Derby. It would be wrong, however, to believe that the union was simply the creature of Bass and Vincent. Rather, they sought to bring to themselves a generally held view that this was so. Many others were involved. Bass and Vincent did play an important role in the first years in Derby, but this could only have been so given the grounding already prepared by other, working class trade union pioneers.
Throughout the Midland, secret messages were passed to and from Vincent. There was a little cabin or box on the north end middle platform of Derby station, immediately under the footbridge leading to the `Loco' works' offices. Here, a signal points man, John Graham, was employed to give notice of incoming trains. But, being the chief centre of the company's network, Derby was a difficult place to organise. Company officials watched the men like prison warders. Public union meetings were impossible. Vincent did give a public lecture at the Temperance Hall on Saturday 22nd July 1871, which was chaired by Bass. Correspondence that had passed between Vincent and Allport of the company was printed on large posters, which were displayed throughout the town. "Overworked Railway Servants" was the title of the lecture, but few attended, for as Vincent put it "the men ... absented themselves due to fear of being spotted". Following the theme of the lecture, Vincent gave many examples of long hours of work. Many "had not had their clothes off their backs for a whole week, because they had been engaged at work all the time". Some had not had a Sunday off for 15 years and Toton sidings were especially quoted as following particularly dangerous practices like "double shunting". A hostile heckler constantly pressed the question of short hours and higher wages as being dependent upon the capital available to the company. Bass neatly sidestepped the issue, arguing that they were concerned with safety not wages. Yet, clearly demonstrating his motives, he revealed that as the Midland railway paid £80,000 a year in compensation for accidents, surely "in a pecuniary point of view it was to the interests of the railway companies to diminish the hours of labour...and to give ample and generous wages". 
Despite this manufactured hostility, there proved to be a groundswell of support for unionism. A major trial of strength locally the workforce won hands down. The issue was the question of hours, but tragically the victory was in reality only a tactical withdrawal by the railway company and then only in the workshops. A "committee for the nine-hours movement" in the railway workshops met at the Temperance Hall on 1st October 1871, seeking to emulate the success of the ASE in Sunderland on just the same issue. This would certainly have been an alliance of craft unions and the ASRS. A subsequent mass meeting of around 2,000 workers endorsed the petition to the Midland's directors, which it was planned would be followed by an even larger demonstration through Derby on a Saturday in November, once the demand had been met. With every single one of the workers united and determined there was no doubt that success would be theirs. Two bands and two enormous models of clocks led a huge procession. These indicated 6.00am on one side - the new starting time - and 5.00pm on the other side - the new finishing time, taking into account the unpaid breaks.
Rapidly, the movement spread to other firms, across industry, which all irresistibly adopted the nine hours after the railway workshops had set the pace. Those to succumb were Handyside's, Brittania Foundry, Fletcher's, Litchurch Foundry, Bemrose's printing works, Boden's lace factory, Abell's foundry in Brook Street and Pusantoy's, the building contractors.
While the railway workshops' agreement provided for the introduction from the 1st January of the nine-hour day, the settlement was by no means the end of the issue. Only weeks later the men were out again, when the directors tried to dictate how the fifty-four hour week would be applied. The entire workforce struck to keep shorter meal breaks, so that they would leave for home earlier in the day. But their resolve, so strong before, was to weaken dramatically, when the leaders of the dispute were dismissed and the directors stood firm on their `diktat'. 
Faced with this onslaught and the ever-present difficulty of obtaining recognition on the operating side of the Midland, the ASRS, in blind panic, outlawed strikes in its 1872 constitution. It made no difference to the company's attitude. Practical experience soon ensured that the rule was dropped and within a very short time the union was declaring that "by renouncing our right to resist injustice by the resort to strikes we have disarmed in the face of the enemy".  Midland points workers, guards and shunters engaged in activity in 1873, which produced an offer of 2/-, a week increase. Following on their lead, the engine men and firemen, after some agitation, extracted a 10-hour day and a 3/- increase.
Parallel with the practical battle for minor economic concessions, the ASRS did actually find its organisational abilities improving. The Derby No1 branch of today’s RMT can trace its foundation to 22nd March 1872, possibly the oldest labour movement body in the city with a continuous existence. From these beginnings, the ASRS would eventually expand elsewhere in town and county. A ballot for the General Secretary was held in 1872 and a Derby man was a major contestant. Whilst failing to win he did make a major reputation for himself. George Chapman was the winner with 1,439 votes, while Vincent's contact in the little hut, John Graham, narrowly lost with 1,137 votes. Four other candidates shared a thousand votes between them; one, embarrassingly, polling only four votes and another only three votes! With such a good showing, Graham was destined to establish himself as the natural candidate for the ASRS's first organiser and with his efforts the union began to spread. Derby branches were not amongst the most important at this stage. The union was divided into districts and Derby was part of the fifth district, which stretched down from Barnsley to Derby and across from Stafford to Gainsborough. But, by 1875, ASRS membership in the county was still marginal: 
Derby No 1 64
Derby No 2 47
Clay Cross 28
Most of this was concentrated in the Midland Railway, although at the other local railway - the Great Northern - there were signs of discontent. After considerable agitation, the company made a concession of a 3/- a week increase and a ten-hour day for guards and as low as an eight hour day for shunters. While a large part of the demands were satisfied, the men were generally unhappy with the failure to reduce the 12 hour day for all.  At the Midland a strike broke out in the summer of 1876 in an attempt to prevent earlier gains being rolled back. Some workers, including one leader, William Burroughs, were dismissed and the whole strike collapsed. 
This kind of intensity did not abate, but the ASRS under the influence of Liberal notions of trades unionism, did pursue more benevolent and charitable aims. A railway servants' orphanage, founded by Vincent, was opened in 1874/5. Consisting of two semi-detached houses off London Road, Derby, at the bottom of Bradshaw Street, it opened with five orphans. The London Road property became the Granville Private Hotel and the orphanage was transferred to the Ashbourne Road, to become the St Christopher's Orphanage in 1902. In 1879, Bass' protégé, Vincent, had elbowed the ASRS out of the orphanage management, causing a bitter internal conflict, which resulted in his dismissal from the orphanage and expulsion from the union for withholding Society property. The committee of management of the orphanage had become infuse with Midland Railway officials and one serious bone of contention was it refusal to take in more than one child of any one orphan family. Over two-thirds of the funds were spent on `administration’, so the ASRS set up its own orphans’ fund. For his part, Vincent immediately began organising the Railway Clerks Association, rather unsuccessfully after generating the myth that he was the actual founder of the ASRS. (The RCA would become the modern Transport and Salaried Staffs Association - TSSA.)
In the meantime, conflict did not go away. In 1879, a strike over wage cuts by 60 Midland Railway goods guards and others, based in London and Derby, ended after 12 days. Again, a strategy of mass dismissals and replacement of strikers by new labour won the day for the company, but concessions still had to be made. The dispute arose because, to save money, the company had for some time been manipulating the guaranteed earnings level with lodging allowances. Prolonged absences from home became common for guards, drivers and engine men, as legislation began to force the railway companies to act on safety matters. Vast sums of money had to be spent on new rolling stock and improved safety systems, thus cutting into the profit margins of railway companies. A strike broke out at Leicester over the employers' abuse of the lodging system and this rapidly spread across the Midland Railway. Around 80 or 90 men from Derby assembled at their clubroom on the Saturday night at 9 o'clock. There, the guards bitterly complained about the practice of stopping the lodging allowances to make up a week's pay. After paying the costs of lodging out of their own pocket and failing to be properly reimbursed it, said one man, "seemed something like highway robbery", this was "the last straw which had broken the camel's back" after four years of "oppressive treatment".
The men unanimously resolved to strike over what they called the "trip-system", In summer, when the men could earn good money, the company simply stopped them from earning trip money. While in the winter they were only allowed three trips in a week, where they could in fact work six. To make up the week's guaranteed pay the lodging allowance, which was intended to refund the men for legitimate expenses paid for by themselves, was included and classified as part of the minimum wage. The effects of this outrageously dishonest system were dramatically illustrated at one meeting when a guard produced his `journal', showing that he had worked 19 hours and 50 minutes for nothing. On the Sunday evening, the goods guards met at the Green Dragon in an enthusiastic joint meeting with the engine men and firemen, who had yet to strike. It was unanimously agreed that they would all resist what was in effect a reduction of the eight-hour guarantee. Sensing a major battle, the company sought to avoid the hours issue. Using a `carrot and stick' approach, the employers fudged a settlement amidst the, by now, traditional victimisation. 
Even so, railway workers continued to gather interest in unionism. A Derbyshire United Engine Drovers Association was established in 1873, as a discrete body for craftsmen and was to survive for three decades more. But a much more decisive development occurred in 1880, with the creation of ASLEF - the Amalgamated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen. There were not only the internal disciplinary measures that strongly characterised the railwayman's lot to tame the wayward. The vagaries of the unstable boom-slump economy of the time ensured that as recession developed, the sharp fear of unemployment grew. This enabled Midland Railway to adopt a policy of "weeding out" labour from time to time. Not that workers took it without protest. For example, in September 1886, as the winter trade depression loomed, 57 spring makers went on strike at the Carriage and Wagon workshops after suffering cuts in piece work prices. 
ASLEF faced an early test in 1887, when the 8-hour guarantee yet again surfaced as an issue of contention. It was announced by the company that the guarantee of six day's work a week to enginemen and firemen was to be withdrawn from 5th August 1887. The effect of this was that if a man worked 14 hours a day for the earlier part of the week he might not be required in the latter part. Such a move would considerably reduce earnings. Meetings were held throughout the company, including at Derby where resolve to resist the withdrawal of the guarantee was expressed. The directors' public statement declared that they would find it "difficult ... to justify to the shareholders" the superior conditions of employment "enjoyed" by their men, compared to employees of other railway companies. They claimed that the six-day working concept gave engine men and firemen "an interest in shirking work". A central committee representing the loco men met on a Sunday at the Bridge Inn in Derby. The chairman of the meeting was a driver who strongly disputed that the 20-year-old system of six days work led to "shirking". He considered it an "undeserved and unwarrantable insult to respectable body of men". Elsewhere in the county, a meeting of drivers and firemen was held at the Co-op Hall in Long Eaton and another at Staveley.
The company announced the withdrawal of the 10 hours guarantee for train men, the shunting men's 12 hours (inclusive of one and a half hours for meals), in a circular dated 15th July. This made it clearly an issue affecting all men and all railway unions. Twenty delegates from a central committee met with the company's chairman and his deputy, to no avail. It was said that the move was "not a financial question but one ... necessary for the discipline and efficiency of the service". A delay was offered, conditional upon acceptance of the company's conditions, but the central committee rejected this. The men's representatives decided to send a personal telegram appeal to each of the directors. The ASRS issued a circular appealing to all the men to "resist the encroachments of the employer" and plans were laid to call the strike at the expense of the ordinary working week.
A mass meeting of the men was held amidst anger and frustration. The chairman of the central committee was John Needham, a Midland railway employee for 27 years. He explained the case in detail. In 1886 they had begun the campaign for the ten-hour day, with overtime being paid after eight hours. Within a year they had been successful, but by 1869 the Midland had appealed on the grounds of severe financial difficulties to the locomen to give up this premium payment. The men conceded this request only on the understanding that it would be returned in the good times. But when the locomen asked for the arrangement to be reinstated, they had to fight from 1871 to 1873 before it was won back. In 1878 and 1885, attempts were made to erode their right to the eight-hour standard day. With such a history to it, there was no way that the locomen would easily concede the loss of the eight hours. On the day of the strike call, at an agreed time decided on by the mass meeting, men dropped the fires and left blocking Chaddesden Sidings and at least three men were subsequently prosecuted for leaving their trains stranded, deliberately to obstruct the activities of any potential strike breaker.
Reports from Sheffield, Leicester, Leeds, Birmingham, Chesterfield, Normanton, Bristol, Peterborough, Bradford, Mansfield, Burton and Swadlincote came to the central committee at Derby, revealing strong support everywhere. Derby station was thronged with strikers, cheering each man as he came out on strike. Small knots of men remained excitedly around the area until three o'clock. Goods drivers and firemen were solid, but the passenger train service drivers were less so. Even these, however, were mostly out on strike. By the evening of Friday the town was in a state of high excitement and there were crowds all around Midland Road. The ASLEF locomen's strike committee based itself at St Andrew's school, where they issued a statement to the effect that over 300 out of the 350 men located at Derby were definitely out on strike and only one or two had actually tried to go to work. Rather than be seen reporting for work at the normal entrance, one driver was observed climbing a wall, along with a company detective! There were also thousands of ASRS men also involved. A large and enthusiastic meeting gathered one Saturday morning at the Temperance Hall, where the Reverend Hey proposed compulsory arbitration as a solution to the dispute. The men had no special fears in this direction, for the logic of their case was clear. Lester, the central committee secretary, claimed that "not one man amongst them would not accept arbitration".
Yet, at another meeting at midnight on a Saturday at the Co-operative Hall, the idea was further discussed. In particular their proposed representative on the arbitration panel, Sir William Harcourt. But the whole idea was rejected, as there were "no points for arbitration to be determined". A proposal to meet with MPs at the House to appoint a deputation to meet the company directors was approved and delegates went to London on the following Monday. By then the Midland was regarding the whole matter as over and done with. The company busied itself with replacing the strikers with fresh labour. Tension grew in the meantime and a deputation visited the Mayor of Derby to complain about the conduct of the police, who had been acting as messengers to the directors, "riding about from place to place in cabs"!  Questions were asked in Parliament as to the truth that workers previously dismissed for drunkenness and incompetence were filling the shoes of safe and reliable locomen. The reply was that the Government could not intervene in matters "between railway companies and their servants".
Even so, according to the Derby Mercury, well over a thousand men of differing grades were still out on strike across the company. The unions claimed over 2,500 out. Harford, of the strike committee, produced an appeal to trades unionists for funds in which he outlined their case: "they would be reduced to the position of day labourers...so that if the company could only find a man half a day's work they would only pay him half a day's pay...To have accepted such conditions would have thrown to the winds the terms under which the men have worked harmoniously for the last twenty years, and were mutually agreed upon when they came into operation." Despite the understandable outrage at Midland's attitude, there was little sign of a violent reaction from the strikers at the loss of their jobs. A newly hired strikebreaking driver complained that he had been shot at near Beighton Junction, but the subsequent police investigation revealed the shot to have been fired at a rabbit!
In some areas, like Clay Cross, the strike was poorly supported, with all but two of the men returning to work fairly quickly. But in general, the employer's public claim that most men were returning to work was in reality only studied bluff. A packed meeting at long Eaton decided to "disregard the (press) report which stated that men were returning to work at other places". They were more convinced of their own unions' information that more and more men were coming out. The meeting assessed that two things were in their favour - public sympathy based on concern over safety and, above all, time. 
A mass meeting was held of some 3,000 men on the Thursday, which testified to the view that more men were backing the strike. Held on the open ground between the Corn Exchange and the Market Hall, it was addressed by John Needham, who informed the meeting that a published circular between the railway companies was a thin end of the wedge being a pact to lower earnings. The rally called for a public boycott of the railway service ran by strikebreakers, until "the conditions of service of 1867 had been restored. But the boycott was ineffectual and signs of defeat were imminent. The company claimed the following statistics:
Strikers Non strikers New employees
Drivers 980 458 299
Firemen 1,190 619 298
Cleaners 552 ? ?
Many cleaners - a dirty and difficult job given the coal fired nature of steam trains - were promoted to firemen and even drivers on the basis of having at least observed from close quarters for many years what the nature of those tasks were. The unskilled character of cleaning meant that it was relatively easy to recruit fresh labour. On the company's own figures, at least around 1,500 - 2,000 were still on strike. Faced with the fact that time and public support did not seem to be the factors for victory they had thought they were; many weakened, perhaps hoping to gamble on re-engagement if they were not personally seen to be overly militant. . Only several hundred turned out to demonstrate at the half yearly shareholders' meeting and by the Saturday immediately following the mass meeting most had returned, on seeing that the directors had not been over-ruled by the shareholders.
Many were gradually and selectively taken back, but the leaders remained unemployed for a long time. By the next spring, some half dozen were able to obtain paid passage to Chile, where the Government was in the process of establishing a rail network, To acquire the skills of the victimised men, the Chileans were prepared to offer 18/- a day in pay, plus free passage for themselves and their families. There was little chance of the leaders obtaining employment in Britain after the strike and the offer must have seemed tempting to some. Others, like E Merchant, a footplate man who played a prominent part in the dispute, never worked on the railways again. Merchant was fortunate in being able to work for Derby Co-op, becoming its General Manager for many decades during its early growth years.
The strike cost the ASRS dearly, for it reported an expenditure on this one strike of £6,851 out of an income of £22,276 that year. Two decades of constant battle and frequent defeat combined with the persistent calls for moderation from the Liberals to produce an unusual tenor of general unionism on the railways in the Nineties. ASLEF perhaps conveying a different flavour with its craft and exclusive appeal. Elsewhere, the shift to radicalism to come was more evident, railwaymen were slower to follow. In February 1890 one railway workers' leader, Watson, was quoted by the Derby press as saying that he "didn't believe in strikes" and "wanted unity" amongst the railway workers unions. As with other trends to general unionism, large numbers did join up and the embryo of mass all-grades railway unionism was extant. The defeats only served to harden the railway worker to the attacks of the employers and to underline the need for effective trades unionism. The slow evolution of the railway `servant' into unionised wage labour had well and truly begun. 
Some of the early engineering unions, like the Journeymen Steam-Engine, Machine-Makers' and Millwrights' Friendly Society (founded in 1826) and the Associated Fraternity of Iron Forgers (1830), worked hard for amalgamation and were amongst the first to create a thoroughly modern style of trades unionism. So much so that many followed their constitutional patterns as models. In some specialist trades, like the moulders (FIMS changed its designation from Moulders’ to Founders' in 1854) maintained a distinctive identity. There were over twenty foundries in Derbyshire in 1849. Amongst these were: Staveley, Clay Cross, Alfreton, Codnor, Butterley, Wingerworth and Stanton-by-Dale. The society continued to flourish in the county after Chartism. An unbroken link between the earlier and latter parts of the century was maintained by moulders' and founders' organisation in Derby. Two union men being jailed for conspiracy in the town in 1857 after a strike, for example. 
Manufacturing industries dominated by skilled workers often easily succumbed to trades unionism. The sickle makers and grinder smiths organised in Chesterfield in the 1850s, but it was not always easy in other occupations. In 1849, one local Board of Health inspector, called Cresy, saw lead works in Derby that were so unhealthy that sick clubs would not admit workers employed there as members.
In 1851 the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, Machinists, Smiths, Millwrights and Patternmakers - the ASE - was founded from various small craft societies. It was a move overwhelmingly welcomed by skilled engineering workers, as can be seen by the vote of the Derby branch of the old Mechanics' Society for the eight points of amalgamation. Not a single vote was recorded against and 416 voted in favour.  The main industrial aim of the ASE was to control the trade. The Steam Engine Makers, established in Derby in 1850, had already made clear their opposition to overtime, piecework and the use of unskilled labour on production machines. It was, in part, to advance this opposition that the amalgamation began. No sooner had the ASE been formed than the employers combined into the Central Association of Employers of Operative Engineers and the scene was set for major conflict.
In 1852 the employers embarked on a national lock out of ASE members, a development that rapidly escalated from the union's approach to them for the abolition of piecework and systematic overtime. The ASE was forced to retaliate by embargoing all overtime from 1st January 1852, when the employers refused to negotiate. Ten days later the employers responded by a general, but gradual, lock out of the trade. In Derby, a public meeting had been initially called by a handbill addressed to all "engineers, machinists, millwrights, smiths, patternmakers and operatives in general". G Hearn chaired the meeting in "the large room ... (which was) ... crowded by workmen", at the Royal Oak Inn, in Derby's Market Place. Hearn and W Hackett read out an appeal, from the ASE, which drew attention to the fact that the objects of the ASE on overtime and piecework had been fought for by the Mechanics' Society for fifteen years. An enthusiastic vote to support the ASE and those locked out - so far limited to London and Lancashire - was recorded. Works' collections for the lockouts were agreed upon and ASE members pledged to give a day's wages each week in support of the growing dispute. 
Derby engineers seem not to have been involved in lockouts themselves, but continued the solidarity collections that attracted support from the wider labour movement, as the dispute took on a general character. Increasingly the ASE was seen as spearheading resistance to a wider employers' hostility to trades unionism. Derby's coach makers suggested to the UKSC executive that the Society urge its members to contribute to a voluntary subscription, to which the executive commented that "our members in Derby are most sanguine in the expectations as to the result of this appeal and we hope they may not be disappointed - we thank them for urging this case on".  By this time the lock out had lasted for well over three months and men were gradually being forced back to work by starvation. The old tactic of forcing returning strikers to sign a document renouncing the union was employed. ASE members were obliged to declare that they were not now and would not again become members of any union that "professes to control, or interfere with the arrangement or regulation of work". But most workers signed without any intention of conceding such a thing, it was just a device to get back to earning money. The effect of the lock out on long term ASE growth was pretty minimal. The Derby branch had 94 members in 1854, having won 19 new members that year, and it had a turnover of several hundred pounds a year. 
As with other trades, as mentioned in the context of the railway industry, the ASE struggled to establish a nine-hour day from 1871 in a campaign of strike action lasting 14 weeks. A failure to establish a clear agreement on the time of working caused problems and agreed overtime payments were a particular source of controversy. A dispute lasting a fortnight occurred at Fletcher's ironworks at Litchurch, Derby, ending in mid-July 1871 when the ASE, to which most of the men belonged, "did not countenance the action taken". Work was resumed on the old terms offered, that is all extra work payable at one and a quarter times the basic rate, rather than the time and a half sought by the men. 
Establishing itself in the main engineering establishments in the county town, the ASE relied for its recruitment on highly skilled labour. Something like a half of the membership were fitters, a quarter turners and a little less than a tenth were smiths. This craft exclusiveness was not only a factor in preventing semi-skilled and unskilled workers from organising, but it also tended to isolate separate skills from each other. There were other societies of course and the trades kept fairly distinct in this period. The “Old Derby Smiths”, or more formally the United Order of Iron Smiths, Engineers and Mechanics was part of a national federation of whitesmiths. This had been set up in the town in 1822 but survived only fitfully until the 1860s. It was never technically dissolved and the following decade formed the basis of some local stove and grate industry smiths’ and fitters’ societies. The Amalgamated Stove, Grate and Kitchen Range Fitters Protection Society, which had branches in the Midlands and South Yorkshire, arose from this and it had a branch in Derby that outlasted most of the other, at least until 1880.
The Derby and District Friendly Society of Braziers and Tin Plate Workers was formed in February 1972, by 24 tinsmiths at the railway workshops. The Boilermakers' and Iron Ship Builders' Society, founded in 1834, had some 70 members in its Derby branch by 1870 and the union was solely concentrated on particular firms in town geared to boilerwork. In the metal smelting industry the first permanent union, which catered essentially for skilled contract workers, was the National Amalgamated Association of ironworkers, formed in 1868 with local support. Only in the late Eighties were unions established for `underhands' in the iron and steel trades. A Brassfounders' and Finishers' Society was formed in Derby in 1875, by the end of the century it had expanded to form a branch in Burton-on-Trent and had a total membership of 93.  It would later participate in the mergers that led to the setting up of the larger ASE amalgamation of the early 1920s. Indeed, it was the ASE that dominated the engineering industry in a period of Britain's greatest imperial expansion. It was a time when new techniques of mass produced components were developed to meet the needs of the new markets thus opened up. The wide variety of new factory jobs and the incessant process of de-skilling that these new techniques produced would have an effect on the ASE's role.
(ix) Agricultural workers
Early in 1872 a few hundred farm labourers in Warwickshire formed themselves into a union – the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union - and at least one branch was soon set up in Derbyshire. The union had 1,500 branches by 1874, so there would have been a reasonable presence in the county by then. But a major national lock out followed. The union's leader, Joseph Arch, certainly visited Derbyshire seeking support from local trades unionists. At Clay Cross, some 800 miners agreed, after hearing Arch at a mass meeting, to levy themselves at 6d a head until the end of the lock out. In the first week the colliers sent £25 7s 6d to Leamington, the centre of the dispute. 
Arch was in Derby in January 1873 to speak for the Land Tenure Reform Association. Sharing the platform with him was one John Charles Cox, a Liberal landowner and magistrate in Belper, who supported the right of workers to combine. Arch went beyond land reform in his speech, measuring his words to meet the situation in the town. He called on "all artisans to stand at the back of the agricultural labourers when demanding the franchise and help them gain their rights, and then as the wealth producing classes of the community they could shake hands harmoniously for the good of their country and the community at large"  Agricultural workers did not yet have the vote, for the property qualification debarred those who lived in tied-houses. A cynic might have drawn the conclusion that a landowner like Cox had more than an eye on his party's electoral fortunes when defying his own apparent economic interests! In a sense, this small illustration summed up the entire period of transition between the Chartist phase and the next stage of development, which saw the building of an independent working class movement and consequential forms of representation.
Notes and References
1 Figures complied from various references in W A Richardson "Citizens' Derby" University of London Press (1949)
2 Details from original documents concerning each apprenticeship in Derby Local Studies Library
3 R W Postgate "The Builders History" The National Federation of Building Trades Operatives London (1923) p206
4 UKSC Journal quarterly reports - February 26th 1875
5 E J Hobsbawm "Labouring Men - Studies in the History of Labour” Weidenfield and Nicholson (1964) p26-7
6TUC "The History of the TUC 1868-1968” TUC General Council, London (1968) p12; Edmund Frow and Michael Katanka “1868 – year of the unions – a documentary” Michael Katanka Books, Surry (1968) pp43-4
7 “Documents of the First International Vol 2 – The General Council minutes 1866-68” Lawrence and Wishart (c1964) meeting of January 29th 1867 p93
8 “Documents of the First International Vol 4 – The General Council minutes 1870-77” Lawrence and Wishart (c1964) meetings of December 13th and 20th 1870 pp92-3
9 G D H Cole "A Short History of the British Working Class Movement 1789-1947" George Allen and Unwin (1948) pp266-7, p273; J B Jeffries “The Story of the Engineers 1880-1945” Lawrence and Wishart (1946) p67
10 J H Pentney of Newbury - recollections June 1983
11 "UK First Annual Trade Union Directory" (1861) Derby entries
12Derby ABL minutes book September 1891 and February 3rd 1897
13 UKSC quarterly reports August 29th 1873 and UKSC `blank', or tramp card
14 Alderman W R Raynes unpublished memoirs (c1950?) p45. Typewritten manuscript in the possession of Mr W Bullock, his nephew
15 J B Jeffries "The Story of the Engineers 1880-1945” Lawrence and Wishart (1946) p60; UKSC quarterly reports - first quarter 1911 p54
16 A Sherwill - article in GFTU quarterly report March 1903
17 “Derby and District Trade Directory” Kelly (1912) and (1913)
18 W A Richardson "Citizens Derby" University of London Press (1949) pp193-4; G J Holyoake and A Scotton " A Jubilee History of the Derby Co-operative and Provident Society Ltd 1850-1900" Co-operative Printing Society, Manchester (1900) pp24 and 27; D Boydell “The Centenary Story – 100 years of Co-operation in Derby” Co-operative Press Manchester (1950) p59; W Leslie Unsworth “Seventy Years of Co-operation in Derby 1850-1925” CWS Manchester (1927) p21
19 J B Jeffries (ed.) "Labour's Formative Years: Nineteenth Century Vol II (1849-1879)" Lawrence and Wishart (1948) p31
20 J Saville and J M Bellamy "Dictionary of Labour Biography" Vol VI MacMillan (1982) p135; Derbyshire Advertiser July 7th 1944; G J Holyoake and A Scotton " A Jubilee History of the Derby Co-operative and Provident Society Ltd 1850-1900" Co-operative Printing Society, Manchester (1900) pp36-37; W Leslie Unsworth "Seventy Five Years of Co-operation in Derby 1850-1925" CWS Manchester (1927) pp32 and 46; David Boydell "The Centenary Story - 100 years of Co-operation in Derby" Co-operative Press Manchester (1950) pp16 and 23
21 C Williams "NUM - Derbyshire Area: 100 years of progress" Derbyshire NUM (1980) Plate 95
22 William R A Pilcher and Harry N Bridge "The Jubilee History of the Ripley Provident Industrial and Co-operative Society Ltd." CWS Manchester (1910) p15n; Derby Monthly Record February 1910, August 1909; David Boydell "The Centenary Story - 100 years of Co-operation in Derby" Co-operative Press Manchester (1950) p52
23 K Reedman "The Book of Long Eaton" Barracuda Books, Buckingham (1979) p101; Geoffrey Kingscott "A Centenary History 1868-1968" Long Eaton Co-operative Society (1968) pp26-27
24 William R A Pincher and Harry N Bridge "The Jubilee History of the Ripley Provident Industrial and Co-operative Society Ltd." CWS Manchester (1910) pp50-1; G J Holyoake and A Scotton "A Jubilee History of the Derby Co-operative and Provident Society 1850-1900” Co-operative Printing Society, Manchester (1900) p112; David Boydell "The Centenary Story - 100 years of Co-operation in Derby" Co-operative Press Manchester (1950) pp59-60
25 Pigot & Co "Commercial Directory for Derbyshire" (1835) Derbyshire County Libraries, Matlock (1976 facsimile)
26 Derby Mercury February 19th and 26th 1851; January 27th and February 3rd 1858
27 M E Robson "Nailmaking in Belper" Derbyshire Miscellany Vol III No 2 June 1964
28Derby Mercury November 18th 1846; various UKSC quarterly reports 1851
29 UKSC quarterly reports February 4th and August 9th 1832
30 UKSC quarterly reports March 1859
31 UKSC quarterly reports various - as dates stated
32 UKSC quarterly reports December 1862
33 UKSC quarterly reports June 14th 1866
34 UKSC quarterly reports September 1st 1869
35 UKSC quarterly reports September 1st and December 3rd 1869, March 10th 1870
36Derby Mercury January 10th 1872
37 UKSC quarterly reports March 1st 1872
38 UKSC quarterly reports September 3rd 1872
39 UKSC quarterly reports May 27th 1873
40 UKSC quarterly reports August 29th 1873
41 Original UKSC tramp card
42 NUVB "A Short History of the NUVB (1834-1959)" NUVB (1959) p11
43 F A Wells "The British Hosiery and Knitwear Industry - its history and organisation" David and Charles, Newton Abbot (1972) p117
44Derby Mercury January 21st 1846
45Derby Mercury February 25th 1846
46Derby Mercury March 25th 1846
47Derby Mercury June 3rd 1846
48Derby Mercury October 28th 1846
49Derby Mercury October 13th 1847
50Derby Mercury May 2nd 1849
51Derby Mercury June 20th 1849
52Derby Mercury July 4th 1849
53 Derby Mercury February 26th 1851; David Boydell "The Centenary Story - 100 years of Co-operation in Derby" Co-operative Press Manchester (1950) p11
54Derby Mercury September 28th and October 5th 1853
55 Figures extracted from W Felkin "The History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures" (1867) David and Charles, Newton Abbot (1967 reprint) p151
56 Figures and map extracted from W Felkin "The History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures" (1867) David and Charles, Newton Abbot (1967 reprint) p466
57 W Felkin "The History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures" (1867) David and Charles, Newton Abbot (1967 reprint) p488
58 J Smedley - letters to the editor of the Manchester Guardian - reprinted as a pamphlet "Strikes" April 1872
59 Midland Counties Express May 11th 1872
60 Richard Gurnham "200 Years - History of the Trade Union Movement in the Hosiery and Knitwear Industry 1776-1976" National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear, Leicester (1976) pp36 and 39
61 Richard Gurnham "200 Years - History of the Trade Union Movement in the Hosiery and Knitwear Industry 1776-1976" National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Union, Leicester - (1976) pp 47-48
62 Richard Gurnham "200 Years - History of the Trade Union Movement in the Hosiery and Knitwear Industry 1776-1976" National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Union Leicester - (1976) pp53-5
63 N H Cuthbert "The Lacemakers Society" The Society (1960) p270
64 N H Cuthbert "The Lacemakers Society" The Society (1960) p54
65 J E Heath "A brief history of Long Eaton and Sawley 1750-1914” Long Eaton UDC (1967) p21
66 N H Cuthbert "The Lacemakers Society" The Society (1960) p54; J E Heath "A brief history of Long Eaton and Sawley 1750-1914” Long Eaton UDC (1967) p22
67Derby Mercury October 28th 1846
68Derby Mercury July 7th 1847; R W Postgate "The Builders History" The National Federation of Building Trades Operatives (1923) Appendix I p455
69 J O French "Plumbers in Unity 1865-1965 – History of the Plumbing Trades Union" PTU p15
70 R W Postgate "The Builders History" The National Federation of Building Trades Operatives (1923) p209
71 J B Jeffries (ed.) "Labour's Formative Years: Nineteenth Century Vol II (1849-1879)" Lawrence and Wishart (1948) p39
72 S Higenbottom "The ASW - our society's history" ASW (1939) p108
73 Will Thorne “My Life's Battles" George Newnes (1925) p35
74Derby Mercury May 30th 1855; C Williams "NUM - Derbyshire Area: 100 years of progress" Derbyshire NUM (1980) Plate 96
75Derby Mercury April 30th 1851
76 Mark Hovell "The Chartist Movement – a study in industrial and social history” Manchester University Press (1925) p23
77 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners – a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) pp100-101
78 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners – a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p104-105
79 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners – a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p107
80 W Kiddier "The Old Trade Unions - from unprinted records of the Brushmakers” George Allen and Unwin (1930) p47
81 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) pp 115; Nottingham Review June 14th 1867
82 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p126
83 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners- a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p128
84 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p134; A R Griffin "Methodism and Trades Unionism in the Notts-Derby Coalfield 1844-90" Wesley Historical Society Vol xxxvii part 1 (February 1969) p6
85 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p215
86Derby Mercury January 21st 1880
87 C Williams "NUM - Derbyshire Area: 100 years of progress" Derbyshire NUM (1980) Plate 56
88 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p282
89Derby Mercury November 13th 1889
90 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p175
91 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a study in industrial and social history” George Allen and Unwin (1962) p267
92Derby Mercury December 26th 1849
93Derby Mercury January 2nd 1850
94Derby Mercury May 30th 1855, April 5th 1854
95 The Times March 20th, April 1st, April 4th 1854; P S Bagwell "The Railwaymen" Vol 1 NUR (1963) p35
96 P S Bagwell "The Railwaymen” Vol 1 NUR (1963) pp40-42
97 C B Vincent "An Authentic History of Railway Trades Unionism" privately published (1902 - facsimile reprint 1963) p36
98 C B Vincent "An Authentic History of Railway Trades Unionism" privately published (1902 - facsimile reprint 1963) p42
99 K Marx “Capital” Dent Everyman Library (1957) p238
100 C B Vincent "An Authentic History of Railway Trades Unionism" privately published (1902 - facsimile reprint 1963) p50
101 C B Vincent "An Authentic History of Railway Trades Unionism" (1902 -facsimile reprint 1963) p33
102 Derby Mercury July 26th 1871
103 Derby Mercury December 20th 1871, January 1872, P S Bagwell "The Railwaymen” Vol 1 NUR (1963) p51
104 J R Raynes "Engines and Men - the History of ASLEF" Goodall and Suddick, Leeds (1921) p26
105 G W Alcock "50 Years of Railway Trade Unionism" NUR (1922) p118
106 Derby Mercury January 5th 1876
107 Derby Mercury July 12th 1876
108 Derby Mercury January 8th 1879
109 Derby Mercury September 15th, September 29th 1886
110 Derby Mercury August 10th 1887
111 Derby Mercury August 17th 1887
112 Derby Mercury April 4th 1888; February 20th 1890
113 H Fryth and H Collins “The Foundry Workers - a trade union history" AUFW (1959) p72
114 ASE Jubilee Souvenir -1901
115 Derby Mercury January 28th 1852
116 UKSC EC statements Quarterly Reports May 8th 1852
117 J B Jeffries "The Story of the Engineers" Lawrence and Wishart (1946) p40; The 4th Annual Report of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, Machinists, Millwrights, Smiths and Pattern Makers (1854)
118 Derby Mercury July 26th 1871
119 J B Jeffries "The Story of the Engineers" Lawrence and Wishart (1946) p59; T Brake “Men of Good Character – a history of the Sheet Metal Workers, Coppersmiths, Heating and Domestic Engineers” Lawrence and Wishart (1985) pp189-190, 204, 322, 329
There is no precise picture of the origins of the mass organisations of working people. No common thread is clear. No simple genealogical chart exists to follow, only a distorted, tattered spider's web. Entangled and misty. Yet to know the Movement today to be sure of its future direction, one has to know from where it has come. Historically, workers have combined to protect themselves for centuries in spontaneous actions. But when did trade unions emerge and what was their nature? The first historians of the labour movement, the Webbs, defined a trade union as a "continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of improving the conditions of their employment".  Yet such an association was rare until the 19th century and workers' movements clearly predate such constancy.
The history of trade unions, labour movements and peoples' associations in Derbyshire is long and rich. No single pattern of development may be observed. For, over and above the influences of specific trades and industries, there is the historic pull of associations beyond the county. Each industrial centre on the borders of the county influenced events in its environs, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Burton, and Leicester. Why then a study of the county? Much has been made of the county's pre-eminence in the early days of industrial revolution. So much of the machines and masters have been written. What of the men and, yes, the women?
Should trades unionists be concerned with history? Is it not past and gone, and should we not look forward with hope to better things? History, according to this view, is the preserve of dry academics poring over yellowing pages of bygone days. But a study of real history teaches us real lessons for today. Surely, the names and actions, the faces and thoughts of ordinary folk ought not to be forgotten? Not the genealogical meanderings of kings and queens, but the raw, sharp clash of the lives of working people.
Nothing, it seems, changes in history and yet everything changes. How come? The same struggles and the same lessons occur over and over again in the pages of history. But are we really at the same level as out great-grandparents? Is the Luddite of yesteryear the equivalent of the print worker of the 1980s? Were the foreign influenced Jacobins of days gone the 'Moscow-dominated' Marxists of the middle part of this century? Some in the 19th century argued that the rigid control of the workers over the apprenticeship system was an infringement of democracy. So said Thatcher's governments of the closed shop. The same or similar arguments?
And yet... there is a change, a great change in our Movement and in our society. The young and vibrant early capitalist system, flexing its muscles, had all before it in 1800. The creaky, aged, permanently crisis-ridden, class system of today has the staying power and wiliness of the senile. Our Movement has changed too. The early working-class movement went through a powerful revolutionary epoch and was then either disillusioned or diverted from it to adopt easy-going reformist outlooks. Such a philosophy was reflected in the very name taken for the workers' party -Labour, not Socialist. Such a philosophy led directly to the failures of reformist Labour Governments. Yet that very experience has generated a new debate about the relevance or otherwise of Socialism. Whilst those who proposed revolutionary solutions have seen all too many "models" of alternatives to capitalism fall apart. If 300 years of blood and battle, starvation and disease, poverty and plunder, boom and slump are to mean anything then surely we owe it to the pioneers to carry out their historic task?
2. 17th Century Democrats
By the standards of the day in the 16th and 17th centuries, Derby, Wirksworth and Chesterfield were substantial towns and the rest of the county was not unreasonably settled. While Derby as the county town was not of great economic importance, it was a corn trade and lead export centre and a market for wool. Its location on the fast-flowing River Derwent was, however, to give it a big spurt in economic development in time to come. Daniel Defoe, on his tour through Britain, crossed "that fury of a river called the Derwent, and came to Derby ... a fine, beautiful town; it has more families of gentlemen in it than is usual in towns so remote". He presumed the ruggedness of the Peak District forced the gentry to gather together at Derby rather than on their estates. Mines and quarries dominated much of the county. Millstones, whetstones, crystal, marble, alabaster, coal, iron, antimony and lead all came from the county of Derbyshire. In the south and centre of the county the soil was reasonably rich and much corn and cattle production went on. Arable land in many Derbyshire parishes, including those in Derby, was concentrated in big open fields, in which those farming held thin strips. Fences were temporary and had to be removed after harvest to permit grazing. In Derby, rich farmers disregarded this custom, by keeping their fences up to avoid common grazing. One, called Smith, a town official in the late 16th century, had the fences around his property removed and his corn trampled down for infringing the right of common ownership. The ordinary folk reacted swiftly where they could to any obvious breach of the custom of common lands. Four chamberlains responsible for the fair distribution of common lands were removed from office in 1599 for improper behaviour. 
All through the early part of the following century the rights of commoners were under attack at the very time when the rising mercantile class were in conflict with the established ruling class, the land owning aristocracy. Derbyshire saw widespread revolt against the trend to enclosure of common land. This confiscation of land to private ownership generated much opposition, especially during the civil wars of the mid-17th century by the Levellers, a form of early Socialist or Communist, whose revolutionary ideals were strong in the county. The logic of their name and appeal was simple - to level all men and women to heights of equality - especially to level (physically) the common land. Well before this, stirrings of revolt emerged in June 1607, quite specifically against enclosure. The position in the various parts of the county as far as the level of enclosure varied:
Percentage of area without common land 
West Derbyshire 15-30%
East Derbyshire 30-50%
Northwest Derbyshire 50-70%
Thus in the north-western part of the county there was much more yet to lose as the tendency for the rich and the 'noble' to enclose common land adjoining their property escalated. An opportunity to reverse this process emerged with the Civil War. The Levellers determined to take the anti-nobility aspect of the revolution much further than the staid leadership of Cromwell would allow. Total support for this approach existed amongst the Derbyshire lead miners - especially in the Wirksworth area.  There were special reasons governing the hostility of the lead miners of Derbyshire to land enclosure, which ensured their adherence in large numbers to the Leveller cause. Extensive privileges, over-riding the rights of landowners, were granted to lead mining, which had begun the pioneering use of the Derwent for mass transportation of industrial products. Most of the miners were subsistence farmers engaged in 'self-employed' mining as an additional occupation. In certain areas, anyone operating within the ancient lead regulations could mine for the ore almost anywhere and retained extractive possession rights. The landowner had to provide access to water and to the nearest highway.
The Derbyshire ore-miners had formed a bold element in the Parliamentary army. One Henry Hastings had recruited, for example, '100 colliers from his father's mine for the anti-royalist forces'.  But as the war began to turn to the advantage of the Parliamentary side, powerful figures like Cromwell increasingly realised that they had to jettison the support of the increasingly radical forces of the Levellers. But Derbyshire provided cause for concern and, typically, the bourgeois revolution had to depend upon the organised masses. Sir John Gell had mastered Derbyshire and occupied Derby for the Royalist cause and the town provided men for a number of attacks on Nottingham and Newark. The opposing, parliamentary, forces on one occasion marched from Nottingham and momentarily held the town. But the Midlands was also a main centre of Leveller support and, as the tension grew between the newly allied Parliament and landowners on the one side, and the Levellers on the other, insurrection broke out in the region in defence of the economic rights of ordinary people. Thousands of Derbyshire lead miners revolted against the Earl of Rutland in 1649 when he refused permission for the digging of ore in the neighbourhood of his house.  The matter had been put to adjudication by the Rump Parliament, which found against the miners, causing the decision to rebel.
On the pretext of attending a race meeting, thousands of miners, half on horseback with pistols and swords, marched on Derby, only to be thwarted by a regiment of cavalry. Leading the military forces was Major Thomas Saunders of Little Ireton, Derbyshire, who had guarded Parliament with his regiment while Cromwell had marched against the Levellers in the South.  The miners dissolved in the face of the disciplined and well-armed force and indeed generally by sheer force of arms the movement was checked.
With the defeat of the Levellers in all parts of Britain, there was nothing to stop the enclosure of the lands and the development was to have serious, long-term repercussions for the lead industry in Derbyshire. By 1700 and entirely new picture had emerged in the county as far as common land was concerned. In the west of Derbyshire well over 70% of the land was now enclosed without serious challenge. 
3 The Crowd in Action
The clash of ideas and actions in this turbulent period did not simply abate with a political settlement which ensured that the pomp and glamour of the nobility was untouched, whilst the profits and wealth of the merchants thrived. Indeed, contrary to contemporary myth, the use of riot and rebellion as the norm was used by ordinary people as a socially valid and calculated political tool. In no way was it simply the uncontrolled response of an unthinking and inelegant rabble. After all, no popular institutions of dissent were allowed existence and access to the levers of power was strictly out of the hands of ordinary folk.
Grievances were resolved with swift force by the masses. For example, in 1740, when poor harvests had brought a tremendous scarcity of flour, several Derby millers tried to smuggle out of the town 24 sacks, bound for a lucrative market in Leek. Unfortunately for them they were observed on the Ashbourne Road and a huge crowd surrounded them about two miles out of the town.  The crowd seized the flour and distributed some of it freely, the women pouring it into their aprons. The Mayor arrived on the scene and, by a clever trick, enticed the crowd with the bulk of the flour back to the market place where he duly began to read the Riot Act to them! (A necessary legal move to legitimise military repression.) Under the threat of troops, who were at that moment coincidentally quartered in the town, being released upon them the crowd dispersed.
No action was taken against the millers, who had after all acted quite illegally, but two of the women were sentenced to the appallingly severe punishment of seven years transportation to the West Indies, a sentence not infrequently only marginally better than death. Despite this savagery, the lesson only served to sharpen further and future conflict. The riot was thus a part of life in times of great stress, there being no other medium of expression for ordinary people. For political life was reserved for the rich and the gentry, the occasion of elections being used by them to pacify the commoners with free food and drink, even when, as was the norm, no formal election was held. These elections were themselves rooted in the expression of opinion by riot.
The return of Lord Cavendish for Derby at the 1734 General Election was greeted by ferocious riots, as the crowd (composed of non-electors, of course) vent their frustrations at the new MP. Windows were smashed, several were injured and one man killed with a pointed stick.  Viscount Duncannon had learnt by 1746 to provide barrels of ale in the street to prove his worth to the ordinary folk, for only by pacifying the crowd on the street in such a way, could their tendency to use collective riot as a form of protest and expression be avoided. 
Indeed, life was fairly 'riotous' even away from politics. There was a constant upsurge of anti-authoritarian gestures - poaching, rick burning, sheep stealing, cattle maiming and turnpike wrecking. Even the game of football, despite the suggestions of some contemporary commentators, demonstrated that it has always been subject to extreme behaviour. A tradition of Shrove Tuesday football, probably emanating from the old trade guild apprentice system, was strong in Derbyshire. The modern annual event, still celebrated at Ashbourne, has its roots in these customs, as does the Eton Wall Game. The game was rough and riotous then with no fixed playing area and no limit to the number of players. From 1731, the authorities in Derby aimed to suppress the game, without any success. Only in 1846, when two troops of Dragoons were brought in and the Riot Act read, was the game finally ended as a sprawling moving force which ignored roads, rivers, fences and fields. Thus the game was only brought into the confines of one field by force of arms. 
Bread was at this time a very different substance to that of today. It was the staple ingredient of the diet of the ordinary person. The 18th century saw frequent riots over the issue of food and Derby's role as a corn market led to major disturbances in the middle of the century. The poor harvests of 1755-56 pushed the price of corn well beyond the purses of the common folk. The new, capitalist ethics of market forces conflicted violently with traditionally held views of the common folk about the `correct' price of grain. Millers adopted the practice of filling out the corn by grinding beans and peas into it. One miller in Darley boasted that he could grind 10lbs of corn into 20lbs of flour, and it may be taken as certain that lime and plaster was commonly used to adulterate the food to maximise profit. 
The tightened belts of the countryside affected the demand for manufactured goods created in the towns and the consequent combination of hunger and unemployment was an explosive mix. The crowd protest, as a means of social consensus, was at once a reflection of outrage and an expression of the mechanism whereby wrongs could be righted and prices regulated. The expression of these incidents lends credence to the view that the crowd possessed "basic organisation and self-discipline...and some grasp of strategy". In September 1755, lead miners around Wirksworth took to the streets, occupied the flourmills and destroyed with hammers the newly imported French millstones, which ground finer flour and helped to hide adulteration all the more easily. Troops were despatched from Nottingham, but not in sufficient numbers. On Saturday, September 4th, great numbers of miners marched on Derby to carry out the same job as already done in Wirksworth. A strong detachment of troops surrounded Evans' Mill at Darley Abbey, on the approach to Derby, and the imbalance of bayonets and rifle fire, against sticks and stones, ensured that the crowd marched away. Away, yes, but on to Derby! At Snape's Hill on Nunn's Green, they found the French millstones already gone, so did no damage and moved on to St. Michael's Lane where they found some of the offending stones. A mill in the Holmes was besieged all night until the miners were able to destroy the stones. Six men were arrested by the troops, with some difficulty, as the miners kept up a tremendous barrage of stone throwing. The miners in effect, took the town, but as they had no other ambition than to smash the millstones, which being unusual would be difficult to replace, they then simply dispersed.
The Mayor, who was a corn merchant himself, read the Riot Act on Sunday and for a whole week considerable disturbances in the town revealed that it was not only the Wirksworth lead miners who were discontented. Interestingly, so widespread was the feeling of rebellion and so many were those involved that despite many arrests there was not one prosecution. No doubt the authorities were warned that an over-reaction could cause the situation to get totally out of hand. For the remainder of that year the gentry of the town ensured that plenty of subsidised corn was available. Although in the following year, protest riots again broke out with the aim of acting as a controlling mechanism over merchants, when the price of wheat almost doubled in a fortnight.  The crowd acted in Wirksworth on August 30th and in Denby and Derby on September 4th. While there was some limited use of troops against the rioters, the price of food had to come down. The military action was, however, not lost on either the authorities or the crowd, for the following year the riot tactic was used again. This time it was an entirely new issue - conscription for military service. A thousand men marched into Bakewell to seize the Militia Acts lists from the constable's house to ensure the evasion of military service. 
Again riots took place in 1766 when the crowd took the initiative during a period of scarce food. Cheese from Derby was stolen in vast quantities and resold, at what was seen as the proper price, in Leicester. The idea spread to Cavendish Bridge where warehouses were taken over. The Mayor of Derby ordered several troops of Dragoons out as the mood spread. About 30 of the mob were brought to Derby County Gaol, which moved vast crowds in the town to bombard the soldiers guarding the prisoners with stones. Afraid that the situation could escalate, the authorities arranged for the free distribution and sale, at controlled cheaper prices, of corn. As in 1756, the 27 men who had been arrested were treated leniently, getting only a week's imprisonment as a punishment for the loss of thousands of pounds (then a colossal sum) worth of cheese. 
Perhaps reflecting the discontent of the previous year, the election for the parliamentary seat in October 1767 was actually contested. Not that we would understand the occasion as a democratic election. The very few commoners rich enough to qualify for a vote found their support worth much more than the usual electoral bribe. Both Whigs and Tories opened over 70 ale-houses. Money bribes were openly and freely distributed. Five guineas were even sent to the governor of the local gaol for the prisoners there, so they wouldn't feel left out no doubt!
So, our modern conception of rioting needs adjusting if we are to understand these times. Moreover, Derbyshire appears no less prone to the tendency than anywhere else. If rioting was thus a form of social pressure, when and how did associations of wage earners develop? Specifically, how did Derbyshire's historic lead industry relate to the new concept of formal organisations?
4. Lead Mining in Derbyshire
Lead mining was a very significant early development for the county. One of the first references to conditions in mining generally was in 1322 in connection with the death of Emma Culhare who was killed by 'Le Damp' at Morley, Derbyshire. `Choke damp’, or excessive carbon dioxide, and `firedamp’, or methane, were fairly typical hazards and women were commonly employed in the mines in the very earliest days. Miners were employed at a penny a day during the reign of Edward II and by the 17th century inflation had ensured that earnings had reached 6d a day.  But the concept of a wage earner, or waged employee, was not advanced at this stage. Miners were mainly peasants and small farmers who were involved in lead-mining as a supplement to an otherwise sparse living. So, as no established workforce existed, this clearly had considerable bearing on the way in which miners viewed their earnings and working conditions as a collective body. So far as lead miners were concerned there were three methods of payment:
(1) By volume (or 'dish'): to men called 'bargainers', who negotiated for themselves. They were usually involved in the actual cutting of ore.
(2) By fathom cut: to gangs (or partnerships), the head of which negotiated a rate of pay with the mine manager, where the mine was of some size. Usually this would also be work involving the digging of explanatory shafts over a quoted period.
(3) By day wages paid especially for repair work or simple winding of material out of the mine, about which little negotiation seems to have happened.
However, as by and large essentially self-employed individuals, doing a contract job for another, almost as a part time job in some cases, the lead miners often viewed their conditions of employment with relatively scant regard. Quite apart from the 'crowd mentality' evident in the Leveller rebellions, there must have been some sort of ad hoc sense of union amongst the lead miners in that during the 17th century they contributed a certain proportion of their earnings to maintain their struggle against tithes, or compulsory church rent, implying some degree of organisation. In the past there had been notable collective legal battles, as with the one waged against Sir Francis Leek in the 1620s. A local fund had been set up to pay legal costs. By the time of the civil war, employment of day wage labourers became the norm. One former miner, Anthony Coates, was employing 300 labourers in different parts of the Wirksworth area. Some 20,000 men, women and children were involved in the industry in High Peak and Wirksworth by 1642. Less than one tenth were independent miners, the rest being hired in one way or another. Waged labour had arrived. 
The Hillcarr Sough lead mine, which was commenced in 1766, was bedevilled with problems. Construction was halted after six men were killed in a firedamp, or methane, explosion. A shaft was eventually sunk in the middle of Stanton Moor. But, to speed up progress, the owners ordered seven day continuous working. This precipitated a strike and then the dismissal for a period of members of the Stanton-in-Birchover Sick Club. The appearance of such an organisation implies that lead miners had begun to move from benevolent association to collective unionism. Either way, the tensions at Stanton Moor would prove costly, for completion of the sinking of the mine was not achieved until 1787.  Certainly, evidence such as this and the conditions of life and work that lead miners experienced, in the context of a wider trend to frequently discontinuous trades unionism over the next period, which will have been observed with interest by the miners, suggests an element of unionisation even if it was not necessarily taken up in a systematic way. A contemporary account revealed the appalling state of the lead miners in Derbyshire in 1818.  They were paid about ten shillings a week, a very low wage then, which had not altered since 1795, despite the extraordinary rise in prices in this period. The staple diet was raw, unsalted oatmeal and they had to walk great distances, across rugged terrain, to the remote mines.
Whatever the precise situation was amongst the lead miners as far as the existence of a 'continuous association of wage-earners' is concerned, the fact is that recognisable and modernistic trades unionism did not develop amongst them. Perhaps the main factor in this was the rapid decline of the industry for, by the beginning of the 19th century, lead making was already a dying industry. The ancient protective regulations for the industry were designed to “promote pioneer expansion' on unenclosed lands”.  Legislation was passed in 1851, which encouraged some capital-intensive mining operations, most significantly the re-opening of the Mill Close mine near Darley Dale in 1859. Although, of the hundred plus mines in the area, most still employed only an average of three or four men, usually the owner and his family. Most capitalised mines did not pay their aristocratic and wealthy backers. In consequence, the numbers employed within the industry diminished rapidly after the 1860s:
So at the very point when trades unionism might have developed in the county, the industry itself took a turn away that inhibited that prospect. By 1851 lead had been eclipsed by coal as the county's most important mineral, for there were twice the numbers of coal to lead miners by then in Derbyshire. Within a decade the ratio had widened to 4 to 1.  Trades unionism did not thus develop in Derbyshire's most ancient industry, although popular protest and revolt were no strangers to the lead miners. Where then did recognisable trades unionism emerge in the county, and why?
Below: Lead mining in Derbyshire
5. From Guild to Union
The actual maker of an article tended to be subordinated, inside his own craft guild, to the wealthy merchant who undertook to sell it for him. The incorporated livery company became the preserve of the rich and the craftsmen were relegated to a 'yeomanry' position, selling their products exclusively to the trading capitalists. As well as their division within the craft, another, between the artisan employer and the journeyman, developed. The latter began to form their own guilds, which pursued disputes about wages, hours and working conditions. Industrial developments to come tended to highlight all these differences.
All the major entrepreneurs of the Industrial Revolution faced conflict with the skilled worker, particularly the millwrights who had carried forward old rules and customs from the trades of a previous age. The systems of organisation, the keeping of trade secrets and the control of entry to the trade through apprenticeships made the various skilled workers powerful adversaries. Most of all, the explosive quality of the new industrial development and its mechanical nature gave these skilled artisans tremendous negotiating power. To the new 'self-made' masters the trade controls were a hindrance. Mass production and cheap labour was the order of the day. They aimed therefore to either break the apprenticeship control systems, either directly or by simply ignoring it if they could. Such worker controls over working practices were not a new feature, but were rooted in the experience of the past. The new organisations of the working people had organic links with previous generations, if only through a generalised if nascent class consciousness. The old burial clubs, mutual aid societies and friendly societies of all kinds inspired the new trade unions. But above all, the single most influential factor was the old trade guilds - the old company of crafts.
There was almost certainly a Weaver's Guild among the early Derby Companies, an inn called the 'Weavers' Arms' dates to this period and probably acted as headquarters. Unfortunately, little evidence exists about the craft guilds as Derby's town hall, complete with company minutes, books and rolls of members, as well as corporation archives, was burnt early in the 18th century.  Such 'companies' had begun in the City of London, where members of the old companies were freemen of the city, thus possessing a vote. An interesting sidelight to modern slang is that these freemen gave birth to the derisive term implying getting something for nothing - having a `freeman’s’. For the freemen of the City usually refused to journey around the country when business was bad, which was the generally accepted device to prevent excessive entry into the trade of skilled men and consequent unemployment in times of slump. For this reluctance to take part in the general practice the freemen were seen as living off their fellow tradesmen. Hence, 'freemans'. More prosaically, the companies gave their name to the modern capitalistic organisational system, the basic unit of an enterprise. The original companies, however, were trade associations and involved both masters and journeymen. They were partly a conciliation board within the trade and partly a negotiating team with the state. Above all the company controlled entry into the trade.
While the guild system was largely declining, a revival took place in Derby in 1674 when the Mercers Company was formed. Its main concern was to ensure that, on completion of the seven-year apprenticeship, craftsmen did not set up on their own in the area without the company's permission, nor should strangers come into the area to set up on their own account without a 'consideration'. For example, a felt maker from without the town paid eight pounds in 1676 to be allowed to trade, a grocer five pounds in 1700. However, gradually, strangers began to ignore the company, obliging it to open proceedings against them. This form of action in turn began to fall into disrepute and the last prosecution was in 1732; within eight years the company had become defunct. 
By the middle of the 18th century, new organisations of working people began to be formed. While there was no clear formal organisational link between the early guilds and the later trades unions, it seems sensible to expect that the latter drew upon the organisational and practical experience of the former quite freely. Whatever the case, the first unions, in the modern sense of the word, began to emerge as quite distinct from the guilds of the mid-18th century, as experience proved that crowd politics offered little protection in the long run.
6. The Woolcombers
Woolcombers were amongst the first in Derbyshire to organise in trades unions. The Society of Woolcombers originated in the Midlands at the beginning of the century and was certainly a strong organisation in Derby in 1749.  A major conflict occurred in the latter part of 1760 between the Derby men and their masters. The journeymen's wages were four shillings for combing 10 pounds weight of wool, out of which 3d a week was deducted for the masters' 'consideration'. Contemporary records indicate that "the journeymen refused to pay the 3d per week", thus sparking off what was in effect a classic wage dispute, since the 3d would count as an advance on earnings of 6.25%.
At least six masters' businesses were involved - Eaton, Bloodworth, Smith, Stainford, Vickers and Bingham. At each of these, the woolcombers "would not suffer any of the members of their club to work for any master but at the advanced price and threatened all those journeymen who did that they would not only turn them out of the club, but post them in every woolcombers shop throughout England, that is send to the shop that they should not be received as journeymen therein". The phrase "post them" clearly meant that Derby would notify other lodges to list their names as strike-breakers and thus apply an embargo on working with them.
In pursuance of their dispute, the men collected "large sums of money from journeymen woolcombers all around the kingdom". The trade in the town was at a standstill and there was only one way to beat the men. Five woolcombers - Joseph Vipont, Henry Greatorex, Edward Chapman, John Hall and Thomas Allen were brought before James Burrow, Esq., coroner and attorney, to be charged with "Unlawfully conspiring and combining unjustly and oppressively to increase and augment the wages of themselves and other workmen and journeymen ... to extract great sums of money for their labour and hire in the said art" (of woolcombing). With "divers other workmen" whose names were not yet known, the woolcombers were considered to be outrageous for wanting to change "the usual rates and prices for which they and other workmen and journeymen had been used and accustomed to work and labour". Not only did they unlawfully "assembly and meet", but on the 29th November "actually refused ... to work with their said masters at the usual prices"!! The woolcombers' attempt to "corruptly conspire, combine, confederate and agree ... that none of them ... would work...but at certain advanced prices" was most worrying for its "evil and pernicious example" to other workers.
Indeed, precisely for that reason, the dispute must have had a strong local impact. Joseph Bingham, the major and himself a woolcombing master, complained that "the journeymen shoemakers in Derby have also lately entered into a combination to raise their wages". Bingham and a local 'gentleman', Joshua Smith, were the local JPs who listened to the case. Thomas Eaton, master hosier and woolcomber, made a deposition to the effect that the five men had "agreed one amongst another and with others to raise their wages and that they would not work with him(self) or any other master in the woolcombing business unless they would advance their wages". The magistrates asked the men to answer the charges and to "show cause why they should not be convicted for unlawfully entering into such combination...contrary to the statutes". The five had nothing to say, having no defence. Believing Eaton to be a "credible witness", the JPs promptly convicted the men of the charges. 
Thus the woolcombers of Derby, along with their compatriots throughout the country, were amongst the first wage-earning artisans to combine. Their legacy was a fruitful one, but the ancient craft was badly crippled by the Cartwright combing machine, which was widely introduced in 1792. So much so that a special Act of Parliament was passed in 1795 to enable them to follow other trades without having served an apprenticeship.
Other trades had early organisation in Derby; the hatters had a national federation as early as 1771, with representation in the city, and the brushmakers began to organise from 1747. These developments were a specific rebellion against the master-orientated company or guild system. It was, however, to be in the textile trades that the most dramatic development in popular organisation to place.
7. Framework knitting
The framework knitters provided the first major testing ground of a new style of bargaining and a new social relationship. It would be the end of the guilds and the beginning of trade clubs - not quite trade unions in the full sense of the word. The frame-knitting machine was the principle source of textile production and remained basically unaltered until the 1840s. It was a very complex machine, made up of 3,500 parts, taking fifty days to make and twelve days to assemble. The movements of the machine were made through levers and rods, partly worked by the operator’s hands and partly by the feet - so that it was necessary to sit at the machine.
This was essentially a domestic industry at first, with the frames being located in the cottages of the workers. Most significantly, the frames were generally not owned by the worker, but rented from the hosier. Each family worked as a unit, the husband operating the frame while the wife seamed the hose and the children wound the yarn onto bobbins. After the rich hosiers transferred the industry to the East Midlands, in search of cheap labour and freedom from trade control, the framework knitters’ company followed the hosiers in turn. Very soon the knitters of Derbyshire and elsewhere had houses of call, or trade clubs, in a circle of towns "for more certain employ of their members". By the mid 1700s they were being told that their strict control over entry into the trade was "injurious and vexatious" and "contrary to the liberties of the subject". The House of Commons, in judging the principles of a law favourable to the knitters, which had been passed during the reign of Elizabeth I, pronounced that it was "repugnant to the liberties of a free people".  The individual rights of the master were of more concern to liberty than the collective rights of the worker.
As the move to the North had been partly to avoid the controls established by the guild, an absence of firm organisation in the region naturally led to problems. Complaints were made by the knitters of Derby that the masters were making bye-laws contrary to company principles, "they compel every apprentice when out of his time to go to London, though above a hundred miles from thence, to take out his freedom, and many other exactions are imposed on the petitioners to the great decay of the trade".  In recognition of the severe difficulties faced by the workers in the trade in the North, the framework knitters’ company increased the number of deputies or officials to seven, covering the counties of Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.  Even so, it could not solve the problem, for the industry was developing beyond the control even of the traditional company or guild system.
The admission of freemen and the binding of apprentices began to be increasingly difficult, as entries in the company's Admittance Book for the period show, including Derby in 1724. The serving of writs against those who failed to honour company rules often stopped offenders, but the masters began to combine to avoid this most effectively. In January 1728 the deputies at Derby and elsewhere were informed that the company intended to apply to Parliament for a bill for the better regulation of their Charter. However, in the end the company encountered difficulties due to lack of funds. 
The industry grew rapidly, for Derby did not contain more than 30 or 40 framework knitters in 1727 and the frames were predominately located in the south of the county. Gradually the trade moved north and became more important to the county. By 1753, out of a national total of 14,000 frames, it could be observed that Derby had materially increased its importance, "in the manufacture of silk hosiery, there being nearly 200 frames in that place" The manufacture of "thread, and India as well as homespun cotton, had extended" to Derby and even Chesterfield. 
The tendency for textiles to become centred on the East Midlands accelerated sharply with the establishment of John Lombe's silk-throwing mill in Derby in 1718, on an island in the Derwent. At least 4,650 frame knitting machines were in the three hosiery counties, compared with 3,350 in the counties to the south. The location of a silk producing mill would obviously have to take into account where the silk would be knitted. Derby seems certainly to have been selected because of the better possibilities for waterpower. Lombe "preferred swift Derwent to sluggish Trent".  Lombe's move played a part in encouraging a specialisation that created the triad of Derby for silk, Leicester for worsted and Nottingham for cotton.
There was initially, however, widespread concern amongst the establishment at the move by Lombe to extend his exclusive right to use his 'invention' by means of a patent. The reality of Lombe's discovery was that his employer, Crotchet, who had tried a similar project in 1702, had fed him the idea. More seriously, Lombe had outrageously sent spies to Italy to steal the secret of advanced silk production. He had originally decided to keep the knowledge to himself, but after Parliament voted to offer him £14,000 to make his acquisition public knowledge, and considering the sum would have been worth millions in today's terms, he naturally agreed. Such generosity was not misplaced from the establishment's point of view. After all, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie's' army had only recently been checked, coincidentally near Derby. Charles was the Catholic pretender to the throne, Italy was Catholic, and a Protestant had stolen the secret from Catholics. Everyone needed the secret, so why not reward 'our man'?
However, the views of Derby’s own establishment were somewhat different. "So little were the services of Sir T. Lombe appreciated at Derby, in introducing the factory system, that a petition was presented to the House (i.e. Parliament) ... from the Mayor, aldermen, brethren and capital burgesses of that borough, in common council assembled ... alleging that ... (the) ... invention was not only detrimental to the woollen manufacturers, but also to the borough in general, by keeping the poor at home, and thereby increasing their numbers, and that although the said engine employed a great number of hands, the erection thereof had materially increased the poor rates, and that the enlarging the term of the patent would only be a continuation of the grievance." 
Many of the masters had other interests than hosiery, which gave them a degree of financial security and independence, unlike their knitters. Whilst a large number of frames in work would provide a tidy income. For example, Messrs Barber and Raynor, hosiers of Loscoe in Derbyshire, announced in the press in 1768 that they were to dispose of their property, as they were to retire. The property advertised included 50 frames in work, a house and warehouse, an orchard, barns, stables and 70 acres of land. 
The old craft alliance of the master and the journeyman had already begun to break down. A 1752 meeting, held in Nottingham at the Crown Inn to get Parliament's backing for a framework knitters' company charter, saw the big, rich master hosiers walking out of the meeting leaving the journeymen on their own. The end of the old craft 'company' had finally been reached and workers were beginning to bargain for wages. By the following year, fancy tuck rib workers were getting 5 shillings a day.  A semblance of workers' organisation existed, just ticking over, without any formal apparatus, waiting until the need arose for action. In 1761 the framework knitters of the three counties got together to publish a notice of a joint meeting. This issued a public address to the workers, drawing attention to the fact that their "price of labour is greatly lower than in any of the independent branches". The address concluded with excessive humility by hoping the masters would "not refuse your humble and respective servants, framework knitters". 
Whatever the result of that remote set of negotiations, a dramatic change had taken place over that decade. No clear, permanent organisation of framework knitters had emerged, but what had taken place was kind of declaration of independence from each other - masters and workers.
8. Cotton Mills
Derby's silk mill could certainly be called the first factory, in the sense that waged workers and new technology were brought together on the master's premises, under an element of labour discipline. But things did not stand still, the mill was expanded and over the next fifty years many individuals, clock makers and engineers of all kinds worked hard to develop mechanical techniques. Many of these designs were similar and it was but a matter of time before a breakthrough occurred which enabled textile manufacture from cheaper and more readily available materials than silk. Sewing cut up pieces of cloth together, rather then knitting the entire piece, clearly lent itself to methods of mass manufacturing. Spinning cotton threads was therefore the key to the entire expansion of the industry. The biggest impact in the long run on labour organisation came with this increasing industrialisation and mechanisation.
Richard Arkwright (1732-92) is normally given credit for transforming cotton production from a cottage industry to a modern style factory basis. Yet, Arkwight's first 1769 patent for spinning cotton was merely an improvement on existing spinning frames. He himself had been trained as a barber and did not possess the technical skill to manufacture such machines himself. His machine, being considerably based on previously conducted experiments by others, proved to be sufficiently workable as to be quite decisive in bringing Derbyshire even further into the centre of textiles for a period. Contrary to the myth, therefore, Arkwright was not himself a great innovator. An early 19th century commentator claimed him to be "the arch thief (of) other people's inventions". 
Sir Richard's real contribution was in developing the modern factory system, if that was an achievement! Karl Marx cynically saw Arkwright's greatest difficulty as "above all in training human beings to renounce their desultory habits of work, and to identify themselves with the unvarying regularity of the complex automaton. To devise and administer a successful code of factory discipline, suited to the necessities of factory diligence, was the Herculean enterprise, the noble achievement of Arkwright!"  The essential talent that Arkwright brought to these developments was financial acumen and the understanding that a monopoly of spinning operations was what was needed to succeed. In short, he understood the market economy as it applies to private ownership - particularly the relationship between capital and labour. However, even his major contribution, of realising the role that invested capitals could play, was a product of necessity. He had had no choice, since he had not the necessary finance himself to refine his machine and yet he needed more investment to do so. Samuel Need and Jedediah Strutt, both wealthy textile manufacturers provided the capital to back Arkwright.
Indeed, the major problem for the new textile manufacturers was obtaining a stable and skilled labour force. At Belper, Strutt - the second major new textile employer - was lucky in being able to attract the families of the skilled nailers, predominant in that village. However, Arkwright found his first development at Cromford entirely agricultural and had to advertise for workers to join him there: "Cotton Mill, Cromford, 10th December 1771. Wanted immediately, two journeymen clockmakers or other that understand tooth and pinion well: Also a smith that can forge and file - Likewise two wood turners that have been accustomed to wheel making, spoke turning etc. Weavers residing at the mill may have good work. There is employment at the above place for women children etc and good wages." 
Once having attracted labour it was often difficult to keep it. One technique was to use the `gift’ money system, a three-month, renewable contract, with a sizeable lump sum that was not returned if the worker left without permission. Moreover, discipline in work was generally tightened up; the employer gained much power for himself from the system of deductions of fines for petty misdemeanours. By the time of this advertisement, Arkwright's operations had reached big proportions. Over 300 were employed at that stage in Cromford, while there were over 200 at Wirksworth.
Why Cromford? Why Derbyshire? What factors determined Arkwright in his choice of location? The contours of the dales were the decisive factor, providing an abundance of waterpower. Just as Lombe had elected for Derby because of the fast flowing Derwent, so did Arkwright. Shortly after the first mill at Cromford another followed, and then a third, Masson Mill, until he employed some 1,150. Eventually, three mills were erected at Belper, where one observer noted that some of the machines were worked by children who walked treadmill fashion "in a large wheel similar to that of a common crane, one I observed had an ass and two boys walking in it".  The Derwent, it seems, was not always as fast flowing as necessary!
By 1782, Arkwright employed some 5,000 people. He was knighted in 1786 and when he died five years later was one of the richest men of his day. Apart from perhaps the wandering skilled mechanics he employed, none of his workers ever organised in trade unions. Indeed it was only with the turn of the 20th century that the mills began to seriously look like being unionised. But, if the early factories, with their 'apprentice' systems which made bonded slaves out of orphaned children, and rigid work's rules, combined with a sickly philanthropism, inhibited the growth of unionism, where then did textile trades unionism first emerge in the county?
9. The Stockingmakers' Association
Most textile manufacture was still in the home when, in 1773, the framework knitters of Derby met at the Green Dragon to organise for better wages and conditions. Wages were cut from 18 shillings to 13 shillings only a few years after the start of the combination and, to add insult to injury, rents for the 'privilege' of using the masters' frames continued to soar. Frame renting began in a fairly small way in the south in 1663, but by 1775 was common and was practically universal by the end of that century. If one single thing led to the formation of the trade protection associations, it was frame renting. One contemporary commentator, Mr Muggeridge, noted that frame rents tended to create a surplus of goods which, together with excessive deductions from wages of fines and the use of "superabundant machinery, brought into the trade by others than the legitimate employers as profitable investments of capital through exorbitant rent of frames", enabled to hosiers to spread work amongst more workmen than were necessary. 
The home basis of frame knitting placed the employers in a prime bargaining position it being easier for the masters than the workers to combine. Nonetheless meetings were held all over the county in 1773 and, during the course of 17767, the Stocking Makers Association for Mutual Protection (SMAMP) was created; while not a trade union in the modern sense, it was a trade club, designed as a defence mechanism of workers. It had all the essentials of trades unionism's basic principles. But the club or association faded into inactivity as the immediate cause of its resurgence receded away each time. The SMAMP was not a "continuous association of wage earners" campaigning on all or any matters of concern, but rather a single-issue campaign group, acting as the need arose. The pressure associated with the foundation of SMAMP resulted in immediate improvement, but the long-term difficulties were still there. By 1778 the need to protest again arose and Derbyshire knitters presented a petition to Parliament, asking that law regulate wages and frame rent. Daniel Coke, one of Derby's MPs, presented the petition on 23rd February, which claimed that the knitters were "unable with their utmost industry to obtain by their labour the common necessities of life, by reason of low wages". 
Proving that this was so, a hosier from Alfreton testified to the Parliamentary Committee, which inquired into another petition in 1779, following the rejected petition of the previous year. This hosier's books revealed that his workmen did not average seven shillings a week. However, on the part of the big hosiers, Need, (Arkwright's partner) stated that "the workmen were adequately paid, that such were the advantages of manufacture that the more children a workman had, the better his conditions in life". 
Generally, the master hosiers petitioned against the claims for improvements, arguing that the intricacies of the trade made it impossible to fix wages which varied from six shillings a week, after deduction, in the silk branch of the industry, to 4s 6d in worsted. Presenting a claim for 1s 6d to 2s 0d increase; the knitters proved to the Parliamentary Committee that their wages had been declining since 1757. Two decades before highly skilled workers had been able to make 2s 1d a day and were now reduced to 1s 7d. The problem became clearer when seen in light of the fact that skilled men had to work up to 15 hours a day. All this was happening when the price of food had risen by a third while wages had declined. The rent for frames was one shilling a week, plus a charge of 3d for standing it in the master's shop, if that was so. The actual cost of a frame was between £16 to £20. As rents of only 6d per week were paid at Christmas, Easter and Whitsun holidays, the yearly amount required was £2 10s 6d. Henson, the framework knitters' leader, reckoned that, given an average price of a frame as £18, the knitters gave the master a 14% interest on his capital investment, while "the wear (of the machine) did not exceed 4%". 
Following all this, a Bill was presented to Parliament and, even though it would have been ineffectual if passed, it was predictably voted down. Exactly the same Bill was reintroduced the following year, and was again defeated, this time causing great disappointment. Riots and frame breaking erupted in the three key counties as a form of protest. The same pattern began again in 1779 when the silk branch of the trade faced difficulties - the workers' petition that year complained of a 25% reduction in wages. By 1790 the framework knitters of Ilkeston petitioned the master with the plea that wages were so low that it was no longer possible for a man to maintain himself and his family with "honesty and decency".  A year later they had obviously decided to do something more effective than petitioning, for a "Fraternity of Framework Knitters" was established in February. Though short lived, it was well established enough to have printed membership certificates produced. 
So far, the various societies of framework knitters had really been failures as trade unions. It is not difficult, however, to understand why this should have been so. Although the effort involved in organising petitions and the promotion of Bills of Parliament testifies to a considerable degree of organisation, the knitter had no concept of taking their grievances further than Parliament itself. While the fear of the consequences of illegal combination and activities might have been a factor in inhibiting the development of the framework knitters organisations, there were other problems. The lack of funds and an organised structure were clearly unhelpful. Moreover, the difficulties of generating a movement amongst the scattered and isolated knitters must have been daunting.
In all this, the chartered company remained aloof and, while pocketing the money of the knitters, did nothing to effectively press their cause. The reason for this apathy is clear when examining the 'List of Liveryman' of the company. In 1789 the only trade representatives out of 97 were 14 hosiers, 3 stocking-makers and 1 stocking trimmer. The rest were merchants, salesmen and 'gentlemen'. Only three of the liverymen lived in the Nottingham/Derbyshire hosiery area.  In this very irrelevance to the actual needs of the knitters in new conditions of wage labour, the company's demise lay. Increasingly the organisation of the company became erratic and its functions ceremonial. While its formal end, as a significant socio-economic instrument, was some time to come, as the 18th century came to and end, the old craft guild faded and died with it. While trade unions or trade clubs were not strong organisations, they had clearly arrived as the representative voice of working people. In the meantime, all illusions about the old guild style organisation had been swept aside.
In framework knitting, the end of the company was formalised in 1804-5, when it became clear that it could not face the challenge of the new era. A hearing against a Leicester master, accused of carrying on frame knitting without having served a legal apprenticeship, spelt the legal end of the company. At the court hearing, the company's charter was found, as with other small bodies, legal only if the activities of the company were strictly kept to internal government of the organisation itself. The decision clearly marked "the final withdrawal of the Framework Knitters' Company from the scene of conflict in which it had played so inglorious a part". 
If the trade clubs had learnt anything it was that they could not rely on the gentry and nobles in Parliament. The momentous events on the international stage in the last decade of the 18th century and the first decade if the 19th were to play a major part in shaping how that lesson and the experience of trade clubs would come together.
10. The French Revolution and its aftermath
The very concept of reform was generally considered to be in fact revolutionary in the aftermath of the French Revolution. There was no posing of one against the other by those of wealth and power, or for that matter by those without either. The ruling circles of the day were, with good reason, quite paranoid about the spread of dissent, even if they somewhat over-estimated the actual possibilities of insurrection in Britain. The impact of the French Revolution was stupendous. Ordinary people, encouraged by some of those of intellect, actually began once again to conceive of a possibility of a challenge to things as they were. The fear of dissemination of revolutionary ideas by means of a free press was strong in the camp of authority. Laws regulated the possession of press and type in particular places, and Derbyshire was no exception. The County Records Office at Matlock has certificates from Derbyshire men that they were possessors of the offending items, running from 1799 onwards. 
If the spread of revolutionary ideas themselves was swift, then the speed of the setting up of democratic and peoples' organisations matched it. Derbyshire county papers record that in 1793 only four friendly societies were registered in the county. A single year later 98 registered; by 1799 there were 143. Among the first enrolled were societies at Alfreton, Crich, and Ashford. There were ten societies in Chesterfield, eight in Derby and eight in Wirksworth by the end of the century. By the amending of the Combination Act in 1836, 399 had filed registration. Now, while most of these bodies were relatively innocuous and many were not specifically associated with political or trades union ideas, the authorities didn't see it like that and were relieved to be able to register them under the Combination Laws. However, openly radical political clubs were founded.
The 'Derby Society for Political Information' (DSPI), which was set up in December 1791, appears to be the first of the provincial radical 'corresponding societies'.  By January of the following year a similar body had been established in Belper. It proved difficult to develop activities in Chesterfield and in the north of the county in general. While trying to appeal to the working class by maintaining a low subscription of two shillings a year (some societies called for half a guinea, i.e. ten shillings and sixpence), many of the DSPI activists were middle-class radicals. Indeed, the chairman, Samuel Fox, was a 25-year-old son of a tradesman and a relative by marriage to the Strutts. Amongst other members were William Ward, a journalist with the 'Derby Mercury', and another journalist, Charles Ardoyne, who started the 'Derby Herald' as a radical paper in competition with the 'Mercury'. The 'Herald', however, failed after only eight issues, some said because the proprietor "loved ale more than republicanism!" No doubt there were more complex reasons for the failure of the paper than that, but the accusation testifies to the passion aroused by radicalism.
An early masthead of the Derby Mercury
The DSPI's first meeting in public was held at the Talbot Inn on the 16th July 1792, two days after the third anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. There was more than simple symbolic relevance. The Derby Society held a strong and early commitment to universal manhood suffrage, which sharply distinguished it from the many other political reform movements. Moreover, the DSPI went much further than this, for the group certainly had contact with the London Corresponding Society, which was dominated by working class political thinking especially the new idea of "socialism." The Derby Society certainly reflected this thinking when it specifically not only called for political reform (i.e. electoral reform), but also held that it was deplorable that "the labourer must give his money to afford the means of preventing him having a voice in its disposal". Policies around social reform matters were detailed taxation, the game laws, criminal law, education and religious discrimination.
That July of the first meeting marked the very high tide of the revolutionary movement in Derbyshire, when the Government moved against the radical societies throughout the country. No doubt fulfilling his priestly duties, the rector of Morley, the Reverend Robert Wilmot, writing then, reveals the general state of the country "The present state of Europe engages the attention of every man. A very short time will in all probability witness a material change in the newfangled French Constitution of Government. Notwithstanding the anarchy prevailing in that country, there are many persons in this Kingdom desirous of creating the same confusion here... In no part of the Kingdom have they disaffected persons more than in the town and neighbourhood of Derby, from whence they actually sent two persons to the National Convention of France". 
Perhaps Wilmot slightly over-estimated, in his outrage, the support for revolutionism. On the other hand, writing a year, similarly eager to prevent radicalism, he must have under-exaggerated when he wrote: "In my own parish I know but one man (whose name is Alsop) that has ever shown the least wish to overturn the present system of government. That man endeavoured to instil into the minds of those with whom he is connected principles of the most diabolical tendency, such as total insubordination of all rank and orders of men, and ideas of the justice of a perfect equality of property". 
A war against the principles of the French Revolution was almost inevitable and indeed such was declared in 1st February 1793, from when France and Britain were in a state of war. The war, and the natural hysteria consequently created amongst some sections, rapidly curtailed the activities of radical societies like the DSPI. Increasingly, the leadership of the local group turned to less radical elements and, by May 1793 when a petition to Parliament was rejected, the society formally disbanded in a state of extreme caution. Despite this, in Derby and the county the longing for parliamentary reform and social change was still strong, "Nowhere outside London were the successive acquittals of Thomas Hardy, Home Tooke and John Thelwall in the respective months of October, November and December 1794, on charges of high treason, received with greater delight than at Derby." This was on the occasion of the arrest of the entire leadership of the London Corresponding Society. 
In the summer of 1795, colliers from Ilkeston, Newhall and Swadlincote ceased work and banded together in unison. Whilst there `riots' took place across much of the county - in Belper, Breaston, Derby, Chesterfield and Wirksworth - in the following year. Stepping up the repression against radicals the Government had suspended Habeas Corpus in 1794, making imprisonment without trial much easier. Further, it restricted the freedom to hold meetings and positively encourage the arrest of dissidents. Mobs of sailors and dragoons attacked John Thelwall during a speaking tour of Derbyshire.  Thelwall again spoke in Derby in March 1797, creating further disturbances.
A bill to restrict combination of workers was rushed through Parliament in indecent haste - it took only six weeks to become the Combination Act - a most odious piece of class legislation. Any workers who got together to ask for a wage increase (or had the temerity to oppose a wage cut!), or who actually did the unthinkable and go on strike, faced imprisonment of up to three month's hard labour, or a fine of £20 (the equivalent of three month's wages). Because of Prime Minister Pitt's haste to rush the Bill through, working people had little opportunity to protest to Parliament; so, in the year after passing of the Combination Act, petitions of protest from all parts of the country flooded Parliament, including Derby.
The employers' law was to become public law; workmen had to obey their masters as they would the State. The two Acts of 1799 and 1800 prohibited all common action in defence of their common interests by ordinary people. These laws were the most blatant use in the history of England of the State's powers to serve the interests of one class. Traditionally there had been many laws governing the price of goods and wages and working people were used to calling on the State to regulate affairs of commerce and trade. The anarchy of the new technological revolution and the building of a State machine, designed to suit themselves, by the rising capitalist class, trampled on this tradition. The new State itself, the creation of the new capitalists, put the master, the capitalists themselves, in 'loco parentis'. In matters of trade and industry the masters were to act for the State. The manufacturers expressed their class hatred to Parliament: "for us they are cheap and docile labour, men and women forced to take such wages as we think well to give them...Insubordination is the enemy...scratch a trade unionist and you will find a Jacobin, catch him talking in his sleep and you will overhear an atheist." They appealed: "make laws giving us absolute control" in the workplace and they got their wish.
Much of the fear of the employer class centred around the belief that the old craft organisation and the associated ' restrictive practices', would spread to new areas of manufacture, or the new technology of the age. The State clearly lined itself up on the side of the employers in what was then an unprecedented manner. Part of this process was the founding and reorganisation of the Derbyshire Militia. The Deputy Lieutenancy qualification rolls and lists from 1762 onwards and the Militia Officers' qualification rolls from 1773, in the Derbyshire County Records Office, show how intense care was taken that only men of "suitable standing" were given responsibility in the local defence system.  Volunteer cavalry corps had been formed in Derbyshire in May 1794, with two troops in Derby, one in Chesterfield and one between Ashbourne and Wirksworth. Formal troops were formed between each Derbyshire hundred (sub-division of a county having its own court) in 1798, but the volunteer forces were quite sufficient for the needs of suppressing various riots in the latter part of the 18th century.
However, as the situation grew more serious, the need to conscript troops into the county militia grew. As with early attempts to conscript, the Supplementary Militia Act of 1796 was firmly resisted. Riots broke out at Bakewell, Ashbourne and Wirksworth. Lead miners marched into Bakewell, armed with digging tools, where they seized the conscription papers in the courthouse to burn them publicly. This carbon copy repetition of the riot of three decades before was prevented from growing out of hand, for the Roxburgh Fencibles, who were quartered in Bakewell for several months, suppressed subsequent disturbances. Troops were deployed in Derbyshire in November 1800 to damped popular disturbances.
Behind all this tumult was a growing and serious economic situation. Rising prices and a deteriorating standard of living affected workers very sharply. A cut of wages of a third, compared to an increase in prices of one quarter, in the years 1790-1830, caused the worst living conditions amongst labouring people for half a century. The price of bread, a basic necessity of life in the diet of the poor, doubled in only a few months. Potatoes were classed as a luxury. The overall prices of wheat quadrupled in twenty years.
Wheat prices in shillings and pence per quarter;
1790 26s 2d
1811 95s 3d
1812 126s 0d
While skilled men's wages went up very little, in no way comparing with the increase in food stuffs:
1793 22s 0d per week
1812 36s 0d per week 
It would all prove to be the underlying factor that would bring Britain nearer to the brink of revolution than any agitator of the early radical political societies ever could have done.
CHAPTER ONE REFERENCES
1 Ed John Willett and Ralph Manheim "Bertold Brecht Poems - 1913-56" Eyre Methuen (1976) pp 252-3
2 Sidney & Beatrice Webb "History of Trade Unionism" Longmans Green (1902) p1
3 Daniel Defoe "A Tour Thro' the whole Island of Great Britain" Vol II (1968- first published 1724-6) p562; A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) pp 252-3
4 W E Tate “The English Village Community and the Enclosure Movement" Gollancz (1967) p72
5 H M Brailsford “The Levellers and the English Revolution" Cresset (1961) pp 565-7
6 Dr. T Brighton "Royalists and Roundheads in Derbyshire" Bakewell Historical Society (1981) pp43-4
7 R E Sherwood "Civil Strife in the Midlands (1642-51)" Phillimore (1974) p231; Fenner Brockway "Britain's First Socialists - the Levellers, Agitators and Diggers of the English Revolution" Quartet" (1980) p104
8 Dr T Brighton "Royalists and Roundheads in Derbyshire" Bakewell Historical Society (1981) p43-4
9 W E Tate "The English Village Community and the Enclosure Movement" Gollancz (1967) p78
10 A W Davison "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) p73
11 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) p72
12 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) p114
13 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) pp210-14
14 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) pp102-3
15 Derbyshire Archaeological Journal Vol 95, pp37-45 (1975) "The Rioting Crowd in Derbyshire in the 18th Century; Andrew Charlesworth "An Atlas of Rural Protests in Britain 1548-1900" Croom Helm (1983) p126
16Derby Mercury 20th September 1757
17 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) p103-6
18 I Pinchbeck "Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution" F Cassells (1969) p240
19 J Rhodes “Derbyshire Lead Mining in the Eighteenth Century" Peak District Mines Historical Society/Moorlands, Leek (1980) p22; J R Dias “Lead, Society and Politics in Derbyshire before the Civil War” in `Midlands History’ Vol VI (1981) pp46-50
20 Nellie Kirkham “Derbyshire Lead Mining Through the Centuries” D Bradford Barton, Truro (1968) PP 103 – 112; H M Parker and L M Willies "Peakland Lead Mines and Miners" Moorland Publishing, Ashbourne (1979) No page numbers, see note to plate 21
21 F Hall “An appeal to the Poor Miner" (1818) p7 quoted in E Halevy “A History of the English People" Vol 2 Penguin (1938) p88
22 G Joan Fuller "Lead Mining in Derbyshire in the Mid-19th Century" Reprinted from the East Midlands Geographer Vol 3 pt7 No23 (June 1965) p378
23 G Joan Fuller "Lead Mining in Derbyshire in the Mid -19th Century" Reprinted from the East Midlands Geographer Vol 3 pt7 No23 June 1965) p385
24 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) p237
25 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress" 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) pp273-5
26 W A Richardson "Citizens' Derby" University of London Press (1949) p148
27 Manuscript “The woolcombers strike for better wages 1760" package of original handwritten notes on the dispute in Derby Local Studies Library
28 F A Wells “The British Hosiery & Knitwear Industry - its History and Organisation" David and Charles (1972) p46
29 W Felkin “History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures" David and Charles (first published 1867, centenary edition - 1967) p80
30 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters" David and Charles (first published 1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint p136
31 F A Wells “The British Hosiery & Knitwear Industry - its History and Organisation" David and Charles (1972) p37
32 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters" David and Charles (first published 1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint pp106 and 237
33 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters” David and Charles (1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint p106; F A Wells "The British Hosiery & Knitwear Industry - its History and Organisation" David and Charles (1972) p50
34 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters” David and Charles (1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint p158/9
35 "Nottingham Journal" 21st May 1768 quoted in F A Wells “The British Hosiery & Knitwear Industry - its History and Organisation" David and Charles (1972) p71
36 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters” David and Charles (1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint p190
37 "Derby Mercury" 27th February 1761
38 A Ure “Philosophy of Manufactures" (1835) quoted by Karl Marx in "Capital" Dent Everyman (1957) p453
39 K Marx “Capital" Dent Everyman (1957) p 452
40Derby Mercury" 13th December 1771
41 A W Davidson "Derby, Its rise and Progress” 1906 reprinted facsimile edition (1970) S R Publishers, East Ardley (1970) p130-1
42 W Felkin "History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufacturers" 1867 (centenary facsimile edition) p476
43 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters” David and Charles (1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint) p385
44 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters” David and Charles (1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint) p394-5
45 Gravenor Henson "Henson's History of the Framework Knitters” David and Charles (1831 - 1970 facsimile reprint) p385
46 "Nottingham Journal" 7th August 1790
47 R Gurnham "200 Years - the Hosiery Unions; 1776-1796" A reproduction of this certificate is printed in Gurnham opposite page 2
48 F A Wells "The British Hosiery & Knitwear Industry - its History and Organisation" David and Charles (1972) p90
49 F A Wells "The British Hosiery & Knitwear Industry - its History and Organisation" David and Charles (1972) p93
50 Joan Sinar "The Derbyshire Record Office in 1962" p76; reprinted from the DAJ Vol LXXXII (1962)
51 Sir F Eden "The State of the Poor” J Davies (1797)
i) The Hatters, Brushmakers and the Tramping System
ii) The Horse-nail Makers' Society of Belper
iii) Journeymen Tailors
iv) Tinplate Workers
vi) China Clay Workers
ix) Coach Making
x) Foundry Workers
xi) The National Association for the Protection of Labour
4. Chapter 3 Notes and References
1 The Law, Society and the Unions
While the establishment of formal trade organisations of workers was partially deterred by the passing of the Combination Acts, it did not prevent agitation amongst the weavers locally, who pressed Parliament for a regulation of their wages. Together with others, the journeymen weavers of Derby sent a petition asking for a method of settling wages, pay and price of labour from time to time.
Similarly journeymen calico printers presented a petition to Parliament from Derbyshire and a few other counties in 1804, against the large number of apprentices then in the trade. The price of goods was based on the adult wage of 30 shillings a week, while apprentices were paid only four shillings to seven shillings.  Consequently, a flood of this cheap labour could enable the masters to secure massive profits. There was a ratio of one apprentice to one journeyman in Derby, the worst record in the country, so naturally there was considerable support in the county for the petition.  It should come as no surprise that Parliament fell on the side of the masters and yet another petition proved necessary in 1806, when a Select Committee concluded that either all restrictions should be abolished, or additional restrictions about apprentices should be introduced. The general experience, especially in the textile industry, had led to the conclusion that Parliamentary appeals and craft guilds were no solution. The way was open to contemporary style trade union bargaining, once the tactic of Luddism had been found wanting.
Despite the fact that the Grand Jury at the Derby Assize in 1819 had severely expressed its disapproval of all combinations and advised people to keep the peace, other trades continued to follow the most recent example of the framework knitters in the organisation of trade protection societies - or trades unions. In 1817 a man of the name of Snow had been reported as travelling across the Midlands, including Derby and Belper, agitating amongst the stockingers, thus testifying to the continued organisation in that trade.  But others had followed suit. The bricklayers of Nottingham, who were in dispute, appealed to their fellow tradesmen in the surrounding towns and counties, including Derby, not to break their strike in 1814 , indicating some very early organisation in the area in that trade. Although it was not until May 1825 that a Derby branch of a bricklayers' society claimed public existence. 
Another early trade union was the Union Society of Printers, Cutters and Drawers, founded in the three counties of Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire. No sooner than it was known to be in existence than it was declared to be an illegal organisation in that the object of the society was to "prevent the masters from using machinery by agreement of the workmen".  Despite the strict control of the law, organisations continued to be founded. These societies ranged from local stick clubs to powerful national friendly societies. Trades unions were at once friendly societies, playing a social insurance function, and trade regulating bodies. Not all friendly societies were trade unions, but the experience of both was mutually beneficial. All these societies thrived, despite the law.
Total Population Members of Friendly Societies 
1801 1803 1815
Derbyshire 161,142 22,681 22,412
National 8,872,980 704,350 861,659
Against the background of guilds, rebellions, political reform and revolutionary societies, the growth of the unions was fast and strong. In particular, the heritage of the secret friendly societies was very powerful in the trade unions - even to the use of the term 'Lodge' for local branch. Many of the superficial activities of the friendly secret societies were common to the early unions. The Brushmakers had a 'call sign' of five whistled notes, making a clear recognition tune. The Masons had a secret (but well known!) hand signal and the Boilermakers held their glass in a special way. An important friendly society aspect to the early unions, which actually played a major part in controlling the numbers of skilled workers within specific trades, was the system of 'tramping' from town to town seeking work. (For more details see coverage later in this chapter.) Trampers were the first 'organisers' of the early trade union movement, in that they kept the previously local trade societies in touch with each other. Most of the societies in Derbyshire used the tramping system and, of course, members of lodges from other towns came through Derby on a 'tramp'. (The term for a tramper - 'foreigner' - denoting a non-local man was used in, at least, Midlands’ workshops until the beginning of this century and, of course, the modern day worker uses the term for doing a job for himself in the bosses' time!)
The United Society of Brushmakers began to co-ordinate between the main cities of the trade from the 1770's. Derby's clubhouse was at the Lord Nelson, while the Staveley Society met at the Green Man.  The clubhouse was very much a centre of the society's life. Apprentices would get their certificates, after their seven-year stint, presented at the clubhouse, where they paid for their 'footing' by buying drinks for their workmates. Operating in this semi-clandestine way, it was quite easy for the burgeoning trade union movement to spread within a single trade. Beyond this, it was impossible to organise. Societies for unskilled workers, or for cross-skilled groups, simply did not and could not exist. So, while the Combination Acts did not crush trade unionism, they inhibited their development. It was not until 1824 that trades unionism as such ceased to be illegal, when the Acts were repealed. A massive flood of trade union activity was released and a strike movement evolved, aiming to recoup past losses. The repeal of the Acts simply legitimised an already existing situation. An entirely new historical position now existed. "From that day Labour became a power in England", wrote the then Home Secretary, Lord Melbourne.  Society was deeply divided, for real power lay in the hands of a tiny elite of the wealthy, vastly outnumbered by a huge agricultural labour force, but, also and more importantly, a growing industrial working class. A pioneer `sociologist', Patrick Colquhoun, revealed that labouring people outnumbered their rulers by eight to one, amongst the 18 million population. 
% of the population
Aristocracy and bourgeois (capitalist class) 2.26
Professional and petty bourgeois 9.26
Artisans and skilled workers 24.88
Unskilled workers and farm workers 63.59
This social divide was huge and the pressure from 4.5 million skilled workers was particularly great.
Philanthropic measures generally were scarce, although there were examples. In Derby in 1816, a large amount of money was raised by public subscription for food for the unemployed and some public work was created in cutting down the hills on the high roads around the town.  Generally, however, social expenditure, whether private or public, was limited. Poor Law expenditure in the county in 1834 was only 5/- a head of the population - a very low level indeed compared to other counties. £261,710 was donated to the top twenty charities in 1832, for spiritual relief via religious tract societies; the spiritual mood of the poor being seen as of greater value than their physical well being. Such conflicts and contrasts seemed calculated to boost the very concept of trades unionism. Arguing the case for trade unions in 1825, a contemporary writer explained that, faced with "a redundancy of hands" in every trade, the workers had no alternative to accepting the wages and employer offered, "unless they be in a union". 
2. The Textile Industry:
i) Child Labour
Without doubt the most disturbing feature of the textile industry in this period was the excessive and sometimes brutal use of child labour. After the passing of an Act in 1767, the child population in the workhouses had increased enormously as the authorities of London and the newly created big towns, anxious to rid themselves of the financial burden of local orphans, siphoned them off. The new cotton mills of Derby were viewed by them with relief, for orphaned children could be sent to their new 'employers' at seven years of age for a fourteen year 'apprenticeship'. Special 'prentice houses' were built next to the new mills and these children spent their early years in cruelty and drudgery.  Frances Homer, MP, speaking in the House of Commons on the 6th June 1815, said that: "These apprentice children were often sent one, two or three hundred miles from their place of birth, separated for life from all relations". In one case children had been "put up for sale with a bankrupt's effects and were advertised publicly as a piece of property". 
Overall, child labour was crucial to the development of the cotton mills and there was very little legal protection for the children. Even those like Arkwright, who was nowhere near as unscrupulous as some of his fellow masters and who prided himself on benevolence and liberality, relied on gross exploitation. That benevolence of Arkwright has rather obscured the fact that his fortune was based on those harsh places populated by a large unwilling workforce. A classic document of the day gives some idea of what it was like - "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" by John Brown was re-published by the radical working class newspaper, the "Poor Man's Advocate" in 1832. The memoir detailed an account of "apprentices" at Litton Mill, Derbyshire, living on water, porridge, oatcake and broth, working 6am to 9pm daily. The orphan "apprentice", (or, to be more accurate, bonded slave) Robert Blincoe, was born in 1792 and did not become free until 1813, after 14 years in "apprenticeship".
One of eighty children sent by St. Pancras workhouse, he first worked at Lowndham Mill, Nottinghamshire. The staple diet contrasted sharply with the image he had been given at the workhouse - it would be roast beef and plum pudding, he had been told - but milk porridge was all he would get.  There was no soap, making cleanliness next to impossible. The "apprentices" slept two to a bed in dirty, tiered cots. Working conditions were appalling. It was forbidden to sit down at all during the long 16 hour shifts in the hot mills. Beatings and even torture for "idleness" were frequent and one governor, William Woodward of Cromford, was a complete tyrant. Blincoe reported that in ten years his body was never free from contusions brought about by beatings. 
Escape was futile. The generous reward of five shillings provided to those who ensured the return of a fleeing apprentice, was more than enough to catch most. The ignorance and/or collusion of local magistrates ensured the ineffective operation of the scanty legislation deigned to control the working condition of "apprentices". Accidents were frequent; Blincoe saw one, in which the mill machinery crushed a young girl so badly that "her blood (was) thrown about like water from a twirled mop".  Miraculously, she was saved from death but for what kind of life? Brown saw the way "apprentices" were treated as part of an equation. They were "treated and consumed as a part of the raw material". 
For most of his "apprenticeship", Blincoe worked at Ellice Needham's Litton Mill, near Buxton - an even worse experience than at Lowndham Mill! The food was so bad that at first, while the established "apprentices" at Litton Mill "ravenously devoured" it, the transferred Lowndham children "turned away from (it) with loathing". Within days they would be so hungry that they would "be glad to pick from a dunghill" any thrown out scraps.  Some became so upset at their treatment that they deliberately stole, so as to be caught and sent to Botany Bay as a preferable alternative!  Apart from this, the only release was death, and indeed deaths from disease were frequent - but the supply of orphan children was great enough to fill the places of the dead. Despite the fact that the law was supposed to be on the side of the oppressed "apprentices" at Litton Mill, they were utterly unaware of their rights and totally unable to obtain justice. Blincoe tried to complain at one stage and found it an entirely impossible task. Towards the end of the apprenticeship, Blincoe, with some others, resolved to limit the working day of 14 hours to a more reasonable one, only to be immediately turned out of the apprentice house. The next day Needham cruelly beat Blincoe with a walking stick, breaking it in the process!
Blincoe decided to run to Thornelly, the magistrate at Stanton, some eleven miles away, to report his master. Stopping off only at Ashford for refreshment at a friendly stockinger's home, he raced all the way. Arriving there, he was turned away by the servants who told him to complain to the "justices' meeting" (or magistrates' 'court') at the Bull's Head in "Heam" (presumably Eyam?). After the round trip of 22 miles, he arrived back at Litton. The next day he appeared in front of the magistrates, but they could not make a decision on his complaint in the absence of Mr Needham. On his pleading, they gave him a letter to show his master, protecting him from a beating for reporting the affair. To no avail, however, for the master beat him for his temerity; so much so, so ferociously, that he was scarcely able to stand upright.
By the weekend Blincoe again sneaked out to run to a lawyer at Whetstone Hall (Wheston), where he waited seven hours to no end largely because the lawyers (Shore and Cheek) were friends of Needham. This time Blincoe returned to Litton and simply gave up; however, he extracted an agreement from the overseer not to beat him if he promised not to run away again. Concerned altruism, regard for a profitable environment and even guilt motivated some sections of the establishment to introduce legal controls of the working conditions of apprentices in 1802. But even successive parliamentary investigations, from 1816-19, did not reveal the state of things at Litton Mill because "the surgeon and magistrates were friends and guests of the master".  How many more places like Litton were there?
Illustration: Blincoe's journey
Life after "apprenticeship" was easier - but only by degrees. Blincoe left Litton Mill, quite legally, after he had received his indentures, to find work at Oldknow's cotton factory at "Mellow". This is, in fact Mellor, now just yards over the border of Derbyshire towards Manchester but then firmly in Derbyshire. A remarkable excavation is underway at the old mill right now - see `Bob's Mellor Mill Diary:
My thanks also to Ann Papageorgiou, who has written to say that she used to play in the ruins of Oldknow's factory as a child and therefore knows the area well. "Oldknow’s factory (often called ‘Mellor Mill’) is on the Derbyshire-side of the river Goyt and was therefore in Derbyshire when Blincoe worked there", Ms Papageorgiou writes, also quoting from a local history book by Ann Hearle ('Marple and Mellor', part of Archive Photograph series): 'From the time of the Saxons, when counties were first established, Mellor and Ludworth were in Derbyshire and Marple in Cheshire, with the boundary formed by the rivers Goyt and Etherow. In 1895 Marple Urban District Council was established and in 1936, Mellor and Ludworth were, not without opposition, 'moved' from Derbyshire into Cheshire and became part of MarpleUrabn District' (p7)".
This superior and benevolent employer started Blincoe at the poverty wage of 1s0d a week, when at that time agricultural labourers were earning 16s0d to 20s0d. Despite this, Blincoe admits that the lives of Oldknow's apprentices were not as bad as that which he had just left. Oldknow provided plain, but good and sufficient meals; his apprentices were kept clean and decently dressed; they were not beaten. Nonetheless, the hours were 6am to 7pm. Blincoe was being grossly underpaid compared to the other adult workers on account of his debilitated state. He applied for a wage increase, which he partially got, but shortly afterwards he got 'the bag' (i.e. the sack).  Life then, as an adult unskilled worker in the cotton mills, still left a lot to be desired and Blincoe reports that discipline, if not exactly cruel, was certainly harsh.
So, if Litton Mill operated easily on the fringes of the law, what was it like in establishments that tried to work within the law? A report of the "lookers over the governers" from around 1821, on the conditions of apprentices at a factory near Shirland, Derbyshire, tell us all.  The meals were considered to be very good and consisted of:
Breakfast at 8am - boiled milk and bread.
Dinner at 12 noon - meat and potatoes.
Supper at 7pm - boiled milk and bread.
In winter, when milk was often unobtainable, it was substituted for by gruel - "made of the last meal" - or, if merely scarce, it was mixed with gruel to make porridge. As for clothing, the report goes on rather apologetically to say that "if there has been any neglect on my part I am very sorry for it". The overlooker was confident that "no Governor or matron ever asked me for anything for the children that I ever denied". The sleeping rooms were, he believed comfortable and "with one exception, and the alteration, then pointed out was attended to... (Moreover)...the sheets are changed every three weeks". Exceptionally, the apprentices received some 'instruction' (education), though no doubt a 6am start at the Amber works was not conducive to much learning at the four evenings a week as Sunday morning compulsory lessons in knitting, the three 'Rs' and religious instruction. So, even the supposed models of perfection were, by modern standards, very harsh places of work.
ii) Adult Labour and the Strike Movement of 1824
Adult workers fared somewhat differently, however. They performed the skilled jobs and the framework knitters were still in many ways to the forefront of trade union organisation. But their newfound organisations were still pursuing the same old problems with the same old strategy - petitioning Parliament. Very rapidly the knitters learnt to advance their cause by utilising many strategies at once - Luddism, petitioning and modernistic trade union action. Once Luddism had faded away, new emphasis was given to the latter two approaches. There was continual pressure on the Houses of Parliament for permission to introduce a bill for "preventing frauds and abuses in the framework knitting manufacture and in the payment of persons employed therein".  Witnesses before the 1819 committee on framework knitters' wages, all agreed that wages were in the region of 14s0d to 15s0d a week for 12 to 13 hours a day. However, the knitters' hoped-for Act of Parliament was predictably defeated and the mood of anger at this failure was sharply expressed by a general strike throughout the three textile counties, involving some 14,000 stockingers. The strike, as well as representing a reaction against the failure of the Bill, also positively aimed for rate increases, which were won in some areas.  This relative success of the 1819 general strike motivated the knitters to resort to that measure even more decisively in 1821.
Work prices were generally back to the pre-1819 figures by now, but on this occasion the masters were not going to sit back and wait for defeat. The invoked the Combination Acts. Four of the knitters' committee were brought to the Nottingham law courts and, despite pleading that they only aimed to relieve extreme poverty and not to cause industrial upset, they received three months gaol. Faced with this, the strike movement collapsed amidst general confusion. Such a dramatic development attracted the attention of the radical political movement and many volunteered their support to the knitters, including the famous pamphleteer and journalist, William Cobbett. In his open letter to the stocking weavers of Lancashire, Nottingham and Derby, during the 1821 dispute, Cobbett sharply identified the cause of the conflict as being the new productive relationship existing between master and men.
Again, three years later, a major dispute occurred - despite the previous use of the Combination Acts. Particularly high duties on silk caused acute poverty to the knitters in Derby in the early part of 1824. In the plain silk hose trade, Derby knitters collected almost £300 in three months as part of a provident scheme to give benefit to unemployed workers, in itself a phenomenal achievement. An agreed prices scale had been introduced in 1817, but was little used. In response to pressure, the masters continually promised that they would revert to the 1817 scale when conditions were improved. But this never seemed to come about.
In April 1824, the framework knitters produced a handbill, addressed to the "Inhabitants of the town and county of Derby, and every friend of humanity", in which they explained that they had so far tolerated being "out of employ" for seven weeks in a "peaceable manner".  The masters countered this by propaganda about the knitters' wages - a familiar move to the modern reader perhaps! The knitters' committee were outraged and sent a letter of opposition to the masters' claims to 'Derby & Chesterfield Reporter', bitterly trying to set the record straight.  The 'Reporter' aimed to act as a moderator of public opinion by producing detailed figures of wages claimed to be accurate over a period of seven years for a 12-hour day, compared to the price of wheat. (For what it is worth modern equivalents are provided for ease of reading, although readers may wish to consult the note on valuing historical prices at the end of `Defence and Defiance’.)
Average wage Wheat per quarter
Range in shillings and modern equivalent cost in shillings and modern equivalent
1817 16/- to 20/- 80p to £1140s £7.00
1818 16/- to 20/- 80p to £190s £4.50
1819 14/6d to 18/6d 72.5p to 92.5p 68s £3.40
1820 14/6d to 18/6d 72.5p to 92.5p 73s £3.65
1821 13/- to 17/- 65p to 85p60s £3.00
1822 12/- to 16/- 60p to 80p58s £2.90
1823 11/- to 15/- 55p to 75p59s £2.95
1824* 11/- to 15/-55p to 75p69s £3.45
1824 14/6d to 18/6d 72.5p to 92.5p 72s £3.60
*to March only
(The latter figure of wages in the range was that offered by hosiery manufacturers!)
Despite its 'Liberal' pretentious, the Reporter, noting that there had been "processions of a numerous body of the workmen in the silk hose branch" of late, revealed its attitude quite sharply. Applications for parish relief during the 'turn-out', or dispute, worried the paper, for it believed that the knitters should rely on their own funds and not appeal for public assistance; "although laws against combinations are still in force, yet there is a very general impression in the public mind that all such enactments are, if not useless, at least unequal in their operation". Not all were so unhelpful, and among the many donations from working class groups like the 'Burton Road Friendly Society' were donations from the concerned 'middle-class'. This financial support would be decisive in ensuring victory.
The knitters returned to work on Monday, 3rd May 1824, with the hosiers having conceded the 1817 price list. The Leicester framework knitters, after the same thing, were not so lucky and were still out in mid-June. Interestingly, the 'Reporter' noted that locally the "complete neglect with which the Combination Laws were regarded on both sided was a factor in the peaceable character of the dispute."  Bursting with pride and glee at their success, the Derby framework knitters inserted the following advertisement, addressed to the people of Derby: "The framework knitters of the town and county of Derby beg leave to return their most sincere thanks to a generous public, for their liberal support during the late "turn-out"; and to inform them at the same time, that they have commenced a UNION for the support of each other when out of employ. Any donation or subscription will be most thankfully received at Mr. SMITH's sign of the greyhound, Friargate; Mr. MARRIOT'S Lord Nelson Wardwick; Mr. DAVIES' Greenman St. Peter St., Mr. WEBSTER'S White Hart Bridge; also by all the Booksellers in the town." Most of these public houses were already well-frequented haunts of other trade societies.
After this magnificent degree of support, the knitters found themselves with £60 left over after the dispute with which to start their union.  Workers in other sections of the textile trade in the town rapidly followed the knitters example. In October tape weavers at Pigott, Bagley and Madeley turned-out. Average earnings there, after rent of looms was deducted, didn't exceed 10s9d per week! The Reporter commented that this was "be speaking (the) prosperity in that branch of the trade". Similarly, the framework knitters of Chesterfield struck for an advance in mid-November 1824, for all that time the hosiery trade was considered to be 'brisk' and even the Reporter believed the workers' demands to be "reasonable". Trades unionism spread like wildfire. When the Lancashire calico printing industry spread into north-western Derbyshire in 1825, as the first cotton mill was converted to the new process of printed textiles, workers rapidly organised in this newer industry. Lancashire regularly began to press itself as a competitor to Derbyshire. Places like Darley Abbey Cotton Mill, near Derby, employed over 500 people, a fairly average number for the county, whilst in Manchester the mills were then quite small. At one point it was argumentative which area would become the centre of the cotton industry, but in the end the convenient location of the northwest to the ports settled the problem in their favour.  But unionism was firmer established in some ways at this point in Derbyshire, as was the trade itself. An announcement in the press, signed by the men from Crich, Wessington and Wirksworth, to the gentlemen employers in the calico, gingham and fancy weaving business, reveals the toughness of the operatives. The men called the masters to a meeting at the Bulls Head, Crich, to consider an advance as a "turn-out will be very contrary to our desires, but we cannot bear to go quietly on in slavery and poverty". 
Throughout the textile trade the masters resolved to resist the wages explosion forced upon them. By successful combination themselves, they began to introduce wage cuts designed to reverse the previously conceded increases. Some sections of workers were prepared to stand considerable privation to achieve and maintain justice and the 1824 strike movement began to attain a sharpness not seen earlier. At Heanor over sixty stone weight of bread was distributed to framework knitters who had been "from a month past, standing out for an advance of wages".  Frame-breaking began to reappear. At the very end of the year, on the 31st December at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, over 40 men "with their hats chalked in front, and armed with bludgeons and short sticks with spikes in went to the shop of William Plackett, a stocking maker at Breaston. They forcibly unscrewed parts of his frames and took them away with them."
A large crowd unsuccessfully resisted a later attempt by the constabulary to arrest one of the leaders - James Kelly - who was tried for felony. The Reporter believed that: "If the stocking maker can by peaceable means and fair endeavours obtain an advance in his wages he had undoubtedly a right to do so."  So, it was acceptable to engage in the tactic of quietly starving, hoping to outlast the master. But woe betide anyone who interferes with the rights of property. The knitters didn't see it quite as the Reporter did and the trend back to Luddism as a form of negotiating continued in the following year. In the summer, one Joseph Harris was committed to the Borough Gaol, charged with "wilfully breaking a lace frame and (having) destroyed certain lace then being in the frame, the property of MessrsBoden and Morley". 
A fall in wages the following year saw "such loud complaints as to induce the masters to agree to an advanced (price) list".  Some masters, however, cut the lists and this was resisted in Derby. A meeting of silk weavers was held at the Durham Ox for the "purpose of adopting measures to secure a proper remuneration of their labour." A committee was appointed to correspond with the "General Central Association" and it was decided to petition Parliament for a "Wage Protecting Bill".  The earlier defeats in 1825-26 ensured that this attempt to recapture the glories of 1824 failed and the movement fell apart. After four general strikes, attempted insurrections and Luddism, the framework knitters' militancy was thoroughly exhausted and trades unionism in that trade lay dormant for two decades. A cotton spinners' union was formed in 1829, confining its membership to males; women were urged to form their own union. A male/female weaver's union was set up, but both failed to effectively get off the ground in the county at this stage.
3. Early Trades Unions in Derbyshire
i) The Hatters, Brushmakers and the Tramp System
The Derby Society of Journeymen Hatters was a pioneer trade union that, like the knitters, had unsuccessfully petitioned against a bill before Parliament, which would have removed the limits on the number of apprentices a master might take on. In common with all other early trade societies, the hatters had a strict ratio of 'boys' to men and the range of their activities centred strongly on the provident, benefit side of unionism. The Hatters were, like the early framework knitting journeymen, very much in favour of tramping. Modern idiom assigns the word 'tramp' a disgusting or derogatory tone; but it was not always so. The strict control exerted by the trade societies over the numbers entering their trade meant that some mechanism needed to be used to control the only surplus of labour that ever arose. That is to say, the results of the primitive boom/slump of the early capitalist system. The ups and downs of industry tended to be quite local in some trades and the resort to tramping the surplus skilled workers to localities that needed them prevented the entry of excess workers into the trade.
This characteristic of control of the trade by the use of tramping was quite general to the skilled artisans. Another trade prominent in the county was the Brushmakers, which had lodges in Derby and Staveley. The latter group had a coat of arms upon which they, in 1815, inscribed a motto, which underlines just how crucial this trade characteristic was to them:
"In peace and unity may we support our trade,
And keep out those that would our rights invade." 
Initially, the tramping system developed slowly and rather off-hand. Although it was a direct copy of the old company systems, the early trades unions developed tramping as a practical response to the very real problems they faced. Skilled tradesmen tended to give a hand to a fellow worker as he called at the workshop for a job. As the societies grew the caller would be invited to the clubhouse. Gradually, the special signs of secret societies were adopted to enable a caller at the public house to be accepted into the society's hospitality.
By the 1820s many of the new trade unions had developed quite a sophisticated system. At this time Brushmakers had less than 1,400 members in the whole of England, but had the most advanced tramping system of all, with a printed tramping route produced in 1829 that stretched over 1,210 miles, through 44 towns including Derby. The route went through Derby from Leicester to Staveley and on to Sheffield. A complex pattern of tramping relief varied according to miles travelled, but the payment for beer and a bed was standard. All this was administered by means of a centralised accounting system, still leaving local branches with considerable autonomy. A brushmaker calling at the Green Man in Staveley, or the Lord Nelson in Derby, would be given journey money, a shilling's worth of beer, a meal and a bed for the night. A whistled tune of five notes might be expected, as a recognition code. The details of this would be entered into a small book called a blank, which he carried around with him. Once having completed the entire tramp of 1,210 miles without getting a job, the Society would give him unemployment pay. His blank might include the following information if he had passed through the East Midlands to Sheffield:
Miles Money Beer Bed Total
Leicester to Derby 29 3s10d1s0d6d4s6d
Derby to Staveley 28 2s10d1s0d6d4s4d
Staveley to Sheffield 11 1s6d1s0d6d3s0d
The local secretary of the Society in 1829 was Robert Kay.  There were five brushmaking firms in Derby itself in 1835, which would surely have all been historically organised by the Society; these firms were:
Thomas Glover 25 London Street
Charles Smith King Street
George Smith 15 Sadler Gate
Wilson & Barton 23 Bridge Street
George Ford2 Ford Street 
Speculation that these were unionised is likely to be sound, for we are not talking about later forms of union organisation, whereby loyalty is contested by and with the master, at least not in such as trade as brushmaking, even at this date. It is as well to recall that the origin of the British meaning of the word for mass workers’ organisations, `trades unions’ (which spellcheckers, contrary to ordinary use, have been programmed to recognise as being possessive of trades!). In contrast, American English renders the name as `labour unions’, for the very good reason that protection of the trade was not such a distinctive feature of the history of workers in that country. Thus, in Britain, especially England, wherever a distinctive trade existed the point of the workers’ society was to protect the trade and it was simply not in an apprenticed journeyman’s interest to reject belonging to the appropriate trade society. Nonetheless, from here onwards, masters in many industries, as trade gave way to industry, would now begin to apply the `modern’ capitalistic ethos of seeking non-union shops.
(The National Society of Brushmakers and General Workers, the direct descendent of the old Brushmaker's Society was still in existence in the early 1980s, with 1,600 members and headquarters in Watford. No doubt, its role would have evolved into a classic modern trade union by that stage but the organisation appears to have faded away with the melting away of modern manufacturing capacity to developing countries. )
In the 19th century, nearly all the skilled trades tramped, there were the following:
Only cotton-spinners, potters and most miners did not tramp - but it was practically universal amongst skilled workers and their unions all had tramping systems. The blacksmiths had 36 calling places, while the Brushmakers increased theirs to 64 by the 1830's. In 1824 the printers had 43, the steam engine makers 37 and the shoemakers as many as 80.  Between 1819 and 1834, the shoemakers had a substantial organisation in Derby, while the "Original Society of Papermakers", founded in 1800, covered some, if not all, of the five mills in the county. Little Eaton was a stopping off place on the national tramping tour for twenty years from 1830. Most of these societies would have included a stop in Derbyshire, usually Derby, which had 135 pubs in 1835, many of which catered for the unions. It is tempting to conclude that the 'Butcher's Arms', the 'Dusty Miller' and the 'Plasterer's Arms' were union clubhouses. But whether they were or not, there was a strong tradition of naming pubs after a close connection with a specific trade and tramping played no small part in this.
It seems that pubs were of great importance in the lives of the people. Speaking of the 18th century, one writer said that no-one can study the history of this time "...without being impressed by the truly immense space which drinking occupied in the mental horizon of the young... (and) old". The writer had in mind, no doubt the permanently besotted state of the elite of society. Nonetheless, such acceptable, even fashionable, habits meant little ostracism yet existed of the early unions for using public houses. The absence of safe, affordable and pleasant beverages of any kind, other than alcohol, combined with the traditions of the hospitable inn to provide a safe haven. Pubs were cheap central meeting places where all could go. Landlords were mainly interested in getting custom and working class organisations brought people aplenty. Particular publicans were sometimes loyal to a particular trade - maybe their own at sometime - calling their establishments after the tools of the trade or the trade itself. The Masons used the 'Masons Arms' in Edward Street, Derby, in the 1850's; but arguments or vagaries of trade often caused changes - the Masons used the 'Baker's Arms' in Buxton in the 1850s and were followed by the Tailors some thirty years later. 
Tramping played another important role of strengthening industrial disputes. No employer dared to take on scab labour in a strike situation, for, in those days of shortage of skilled labour, he might end up blacklisted for all time. But the reverse was true - strikers could and did work elsewhere as an effective tactical complement to their strike action. The striker would have a special coloured card to confer special status while seeking work. In fact a variety of coloured cards would be use, defining 'free' members, ordinary members and strikers. The tramp was therefore an absolute necessity of the early unions to keep the number of men in the trade low and the union rate high.
ii) The Horse-nail Makers' Society of Belper
Nail making was of particular importance to Belper - it had been an established industry there since the 14th century. From 1776 onwards nail making became quite industrialised and Belper was especially reliant on the industry until textiles took over. The nail makers of the town were certainly organised at least as early as 1822, but must have had some organisation in the years of technical illegality to emerge with such vigour. A 'national' society centred on Belper was established that year, with quite a sophisticated rulebook. The society, called the 'Horse-nail Makers' Union Society', was founded on the 14th January 1822 and made its position clear from the outset. Its limited and, at that stage, impractical aim was to: "restore the trade to a position which will enable us to maintain our prices by legal means, and to restore mutual interest between us and our employers". To achieve this it would be necessary that horse-nail makers should "unite in bonds of indissoluble friendship and mutual respect for each others welfare, to obtain that end".
There were to be three districts, Thorpe in Yorkshire, Belper in Derbyshire and Netherton in Staffordshire and Worcestershire, which would all form the 'national' body. However, Rule IV specified that "Belper shall be the centre of all communications". The subscription was set at 3d a week to enable the society to "render assistance more complete" Each local society would retain £2 for every member in a fund so that "assistance afforded to a suffering society" could be paid at the rate of six shillings a week for each member - a local strike fund in effect. The society operated quite efficiently, issuing membership cards and quarterly reports, and operating in quite a modern way generally. However, its key concern was an old one - that of excessive apprenticeship - "in consequence of the immoderate number of apprentices... (in) the trade, it is resolved to stop the evil by all possible means". 
Adam Smith, the original and definitive economist of capitalism, saw the nail factory as the paradigm of the system. Its efficiency, through the use of the principle of division of labour, was illustrative of what was need in all industries, he thought. It enabled the deskilling of the originally craft task, with the consequent reduction in labour costs. An untrained boy could make thousands of nails a day, whereas a time-served smith would only manufacture one tenth of that by his own efforts.
iii) Journeymen Tailors
The tailors had combined periodically in the 18th century locally, but came quite out into the open in Derby in 1825. A turnout for an increase in wages began on 2nd April and within days the men had won the full nine shillings extra a week they were asking for.  This initial success was much resented by the masters and, biding their time, in November they dismissed the union operatives and advertised for new men: "To journeymen tailors: Wanted a number of good workmen who may meet with constant employ by applying to any of the respective masters of this place. NB Wages equal to 24s per week, but none need apply who belongs to the union or combination." This was in effect a unilateral reduction of wages, breaking the agreement of earlier in the year and seeking to break the union itself. The tailors resolved to set up a cooperative. Immediately underneath the masters' newspaper notice the journeyman tailors had theirs, seeking custom for work done at union rates. Orders could be left at the Crown and Mitre, Amen Alley. 
The instigator of the dispute was one William Collumbell, who had been a foreman at one of the master tailors' shops. Collumbell announced in December that he had formed 'a union' with the journeymen tailors of all the other larger towns in the surrounding counties. The master tailors, by now, were producing goods by labour at non-union rates and Collumbell promised that the union could quote for making clothes by seeing him at "the top of St. Mary's Gate." He complained bitterly of the inferior quality of the masters' goods and promised to match the goods and prices of the embargoed products.  (A Thomas Collumbell played a major part in the 1833-34 Derby turnout, so it is intriguing to speculate that, given the unusual name, we may have here encountered the father’s, or uncle’s, earlier activities.) The tailors had learnt that it was not possible to organise in one town alone and that without general unity of the workmen in the trade it was not possible to beat the masters by combination. It was an important lesson for them and one not to be forgotten.
ii) Tin-plate Workers
There was certainly a society covering tin plate workers in Derby at the beginning of the 19th century. Derby journeymen of all trades, including the metal working industries, were involved in the collection of signatures to a petition to Parliament in June 1800, along with many other towns. This sought to repeal the 1799 Combination Act. Whilst, more specifically, one Joseph Bamfordtravelled to Derbyshire from Preston on a tramping card of a tin plate society in 1808. He received “1s6d Dinner himself and wife 1s9d”.
The National Union of Tinplate Workers, founded in 1821 as a federation of certain local societies, by December 1822 had a branch in Derby. There were only seven members, but they sent as much as £9 in support of a seven month old dispute in the tin plate trade at Wolverhampton that year. (Over £944 was collected in all.) This dispute, which was only partially successful, was over a 10% imposed wage cut and was notable for the treacherous behaviour of a Derby member, contrasting sharply with the solidarity of the others. One Thomas Cox, a native of Wolverhampton, found himself out of work in Derby and went to one of the embargoed firms "to injure the cause by going to work in one of the manufactories, where he might have been supported", that is to say whereas he might otherwise have received union benefit for being out of work.  The society's general report in 1824 detailed the accounts of the Derby branch as follows:
£ s d
Proportionate share of expenses 3 13 6
Expenses of tramps and men on calamity 3 1 3
Letters and parcels, secretary's salary etc. 16 4
Arrears due 1 16 5
Remitted to the Audit Committee 4 0 0
All indicating not only a high level of activity and financial stability. By 1831 there were 11 members in Derby and 42 elsewhere in the county and a tramping member from Derby was recorded by the Liverpool society as being there in 1837. Similar evidence for the continued existence of organisation amongst tin plate workers in Derby arises for the 1840s. The trade will have seen a big uplift in work associated with the coming of the Midland Railway in 1836. Glasgow tramp records indicate Derby members in 1841-2 and Derby members with card numbers No 6 and No 11 appear in Liverpool in 1843 and 1845.  (The tin plate workers were eventually to become part of the National Union of Sheet Metal Workers (NUSMCHDE), which in the 1980s joined TASS, which in turn formed MSF with the ASTMS, which went on to create Amicus with the AEEU.)
v) Blacksmiths 
The Derby Friendly Smiths' Society was founded at the Royal Oak Inn in Derby on 22nd March 1822. The rules, which were legally registered fourteen months later, reflect the caution that needed to be adopted at the time. Members were prohibited from introducing strangers, or engaging in "political discourse, seditious sentiments or songs". While we can be fairly certain that the ban was more honoured in the breach than in the observance, prudence dictated the wise course of conforming, on the surface at least, to the law. While the society met at a pub, it was severe in its rules with members who came into "the clubroom intoxicated". For dangerous talk could come out with the drink. A drink steward or marshal was therefore appointed, not so much to fetch the beer as to keep everyone in check with how much they drank. The society allowed a limited amount of ale to be consumed out of its funds. Rule XVIII stipulated that the marshal should "keep the reckoning, and if he calls for more beer than the club allows that night, he shall pay for it himself". Beer could only be ordered through the marshal and anyone drinking "out of his ... turn" could be fined sixpence. Severe penalties were imposed for all such infringements of club rules. Tramping benefit was also introduced and paid up members could call on the foremen of recognised shops for jobs in other towns. Where the smith could get no work, he would get "his supper, one pint of beer, one night's lodging and one penny for every mile he may have travelled since last relieved". Such provision naturally required close liaison between other towns and, in consequence, a national society of smiths began genuinely to emerge. The Blacksmith's genealogical history may be traced to today's general union, the GMB.
vi) China Clay Workers
China production grew rapidly in Derby and as the town became a centre of the industry the numbers of employees at the china works rose, from seventy in 1790, to two hundred some twenty seven years later. Some of these workers were organised - especially the skilled trades. The elite were the hand painters, who earned top wages and were thought of as 'educated and independent'. The Derby Tories saw them as a dangerous set of radicals, so much so that, in 1813, the True Blue Club refused to place an order in Derby for some china they required for their club house, giving the job to a competitor in Worcester.  By 1832 a National Union of Operative Potters was set up and there were certainly delegates from Derbyshire at its conference the following year.  Soon it had 8,000 members, mostly in Staffordshire, but many in Derby.  The union was to collapse in 1837, but was later re-established. There are direct links with today's Ceramic & Allied Trades Union (CATU).
vii) Building Trades
Building workers, as we have seen, were organised in Derby quite early on, especially masons, bricklayers and woodworkers. A large meeting of bricklayers was held on Monday 25th April 1825 at the Mason's Arms in Derby, with the intention of forming a society for "preventing any person in future learning their business who is not a bound apprentice for the term of seven years". A monthly contribution was agreed to.  Wood workers organised too; in 1833 delegates of cabinetmakers throughout the country met in Liverpool to form a national union. The Derby Society had nine members out of a total of 1,020. Carpenters formed the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners (ASC&J) from a number of local societies in 1827 and a joiners' society was certainly based in Derby by 1836, but more probably from the very beginning of the society.  Stone and woodworkers' craft societies were eventually all amalgamated in today's UCATT.
Derby was a minor centre for certain kinds of coach building. The Coachmakers' society - The United Kingdom Society of Coachmakers - can certainly be dated in Derby to 1834; however, it is likely that they were also present, in some form, much earlier. There were four Coachmaking firms in the towns, at least one was certainly organised and, most likely, they all were:
Dagley & Smith London Road
Charles Holmes 27 London Road
Thomas Jackson King Street
Thomas MooreCurzon Street
The UKSC emerged from a nine-month conflict in the north-west of England, during the course of which support was sought and won nationally. Although no central organisation existed, over £5,000 (a good wage for a workers would be £110s0d a week) was donated by Coachmakers in over 100 towns, including Derby. The UKSC would later become part of the National Union of Vehicle Builders (NUVB), which in turn later still became part of the Automotive Group of the Transport & General Workers' Union , the T&G.
ix) Foundry Workers
If some found it easy to organise because of their skilled status and relatively good wages, others faced serious difficulties. Workers at foundries in Chesterfield were getting only 15s0d a week in May 1795 and things did not improve with the Napoleonic Wars.  Only with the onset of trades unionism were foundry workers' wages, if not conditions, much improved. Indeed the iron moulders (skilled foundry workers responsible for the manufacture of the moulds) in Derby became particularly strongly organised. Founded in the town in 1817, one of the first in the country, the lodge was - in common with 28 others - entirely autonomous until the 1824 repeal enabled the Friendly Ironmakers' Society (FIMS) to function.  (Eventually, the Foundry Workers would become part of the Amalgamated Engineering & Electrical Union, now part of amicus.) Foundries were to become increasingly important for the county as demand for machines in the textile trade mushroomed. In 1806 there were eleven furnaces in Derbyshire, producing in excess of 9,000 tons a year in total. By 1830 there were eighteen furnaces producing 18,000 tons.  There were five key iron founders in Derby itself by 1835: 
Falconer and Peach City Road
William GibsonDerwent Foundry
George Haywood Court 3, Willow Road
Marshall, Barber and Wright Britannia Foundry, Duke Street
The Britannia and Derwent Foundries would grow to become particularly important. However, it would be firms like Smith's and the giant Butterley Company in North-East Derbyshire that would dominate production in the 1830s.
Derbyshire Iron Production 
Furnaces production in tons per annum
1806 11 9,074
1823 15 14,038
1830 18 17,999
1839 14 34,372
Ironworkers were a particular moving spirit behind the next major development in trade union history - John Doherty's National Association for the Protection of Labour (NAPL).
x) The National Association for the Protection of Labour (NAPL)
The first local group supporting NAPL seems to have been a Derbyshire society of (probably) textile printers that joined in April 1830.  However, the Derby and BelperFIMS branches, along with the Derby Blacksmiths, were the actual local founders of NAPL. The blacksmiths built on their own organisation of 1822 to help develop the alliance of ironworkers, the Associated Fraternity of Iron Forgers, which was founded in Derby in 1830. It was, thus, quite easy for Derby ironworkers to realise the potential of NAPL, which aimed to bring together all unions in all trades for the first time. Thomas Matthews of the Derby smiths' union, met with Nottingham smiths, moulders and fender makers, at the George and Dragon in Nottingham, on the 23rd August 1830, to form a local NAPL, during a propaganda tour by John Doherty, the national leader.  NAPL rapidly grew, bringing together about 150 existing trade societies and establishing itself as especially strong in five counties, including Derbyshire.  Cotton spinners especially supported NAPL, but textile workers, ironworkers, mechanics and miners all joined up. Derbyshire miners were won in their thousands to join NAPL in 1831 by delegates from Lancashire. Cotton spinners especially supported NAPL but textile workers, iron workers, mechanics and miners all joined up. Derbyshire miners were won in their thousands to the NAPL in 1831 by organising delegates from Lancashire. It is important to note this since, contrary to established myth, miners were not amongst the first sections of workers to organise, nor were they then the strongest. Indeed, non-union labour from Derbyshire was used to crush the Northumberland and Durham miners' strike in 1832. 
As a NAPL and Blacksmiths' local official, Thomas Matthews obviously considered theses problems at length, for his view was that many trades were holding back from total commitment to NAPL because they had been "deceived and disappointed in former struggles". Nevertheless, the view of the NAPL was to "commend and admire the present glorious efforts to unity among the working classes. Divisions and dissensions in trades have proved destructive to the working classes and given victory to avaricious task masters." Calling for "the death blow to all hurtful dissensions", Matthews showed a keen sense of revolutionary politics. Speaking shortly after the 1830 revolution in France he said of these events: "The holy alliance has been wrested from unholy hands and given to the people of England and France in solid friendship and unity which so unhappily prevails at this eventful and glorious crisis: but let it be recollected that the holy alliance in the working classes is no less glorious, honourable and praiseworthy". 
Under Matthew's guidance, the formal establishment of Derby's own NAPL came with the convening of a meeting of some 200-300 people at the Nag's Head in the town itself.  Thirteen trade societies in Derby supported the Association from the outset.  NAPL was, above all, a defensive organisation of workers. Each union joining paid £1, plus one shilling per member, per week, thereafter. If any of the affiliated bodies struck against wage cuts, then each striker would receive eight shillings a week benefit. So finance was crucial to the organisation and Derbyshire, or more specifically Derby which provided a massively significant share, contributed strongly to the central organisation; sums sent from the county between July 1830 and September 1831 were: 
£ s d
Belper 2 6 8
Derby 105 0 7 1/4
Rest of Derbyshire 7 10 0
Total for Derbyshire) 114 17 3 1/4
Clearly Derby predominated in the county, but having made the point that finance was seen as the sinews of war by NAPL, it ended up falling down on the very thing in which it intended to excel. A major dispute in the textile trades developed in the spring of 1831, when the workers demanded a restoration of the 1824 rates. G Robinson, the Derby branch secretary of NAPL, visited Manchester to raise funds for the strikers but, while he received the "warmest pledges of support", the financial response was disappointing. Despite these weaknesses, NAPL not only took root in some areas like Derby, but also actually grew afresh elsewhere in the county. John Doherty successfully spoke in Chesterfield in August 1831 to a group of workers who agreed to join the organisation. While speaking at the meeting, Doherty venomously attacked both publicans, some of whom refused the NAPL the use of rooms, and also the truck system, whereby workers were paid in kind, instead of in wages, often finding themselves irredeemably tied to the `company store'. (The word is Norman-French in origin, meaning exchange or barter.) Truck gave Derbyshire workers cause for complaint, just as it did in many others areas. Some successes were registered by the re-born trade union movement after 1825 amongst unskilled workers, exemplified by the fact that in this period one astonished complainant wrote to the Home Secretary over wages struggles of miners at Staveley. But NAPL was not a long-term success; it did not have the right ingredients at the right time. But the idea carried on - the concept of a grand union, uniting all trades and all workers would grip the imagination of many workers, not the least in Derby. The idea was nurtured by FIMS and the Builders in particular and eventually found expression when support for general and united trades unionism spread like wildfire in 1833-4. Derby would be the very testing ground for this new unionism.
CHAPTER 3 REFERENCES
1 J L &B Hammond “The Town Labourer 1760-1832” Victor Gollancz (1937) p316
2 J L & B Hammond 'The Town Labourer 1760-1832” Victor Gollancz (1937) p318
3 A Aspinall 'The Early English Trades Unions – Documents from Home Office Records" PRO/Batchworth (1949) p241
4 A Aspinall 'The Early English Trades Unions – Documents from Home Office Records" PRO/Batchworth (1949) p174
5 Derby Reporter 5th May 1825
6 A Aspinall 'The Early English Trades Unions – Documents from Home Office Records" PRO/Batchworth (1949) p165
8 For much of this background see both W W Kiddier “The Old Trades Unions - from unprinted records of the Brushmakers” G Allen and Unwin (1930) 'The Old Trade Unions - from unprinted records of the Brushmakers"; W A Richarson “Citizens’ Derby” University of London Pres (1949) “Citizens Derby"
9 Yuri Kovalev Essay on "Chartist Literature" in "The Luddites and Other Essays" ed L Munby Michael Katanka Books (1971) p76
10 G D H Cole & R Postgate's 'The Common People 1746-1938" Methuen (1938) p70
11 Derby Mercury - issues throughout 1816
12 W Longson in "Trades Newspaper" 30th October 1825
13 J L & B Hammond "The Town Labourer 1760-1832” Victor Gollancz (1937) p162-3
14 E Royston Pike (ed) "Human Documents of the Industrial Revolution" Allen and Unwin (1966) pp78-79
15 J T Ward “The Factory Movement 1830-1855” MacMillan (1962) p368; John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p24
16 John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p54
17 John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p36
18 John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p40
19 John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p45-46
20 John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p53
21 John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p49
22 John Brown "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe" Caliban (1966) p84
23 Mss "Statement of food and clothing of the apprentices with hours of working and meals" c1821 Derby Local Studies Library
24 F Wells “The British Hosiery and Knitwear Industry - its history and organisation" David and Charles (1972) p82
25 F Wells “The British Hosiery and Knitwear Industry - its history and organisation" David and Charles (1972) p103
26 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 15th April 1824
27 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 22nd April 1824
28 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 6th May 1824
29 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 1st July 1824
30 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 7th October 1824
31 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 18th November 1824
32 D Peters "Darley Abbey From Monastery to Industrial Community" Moorland Publishing, Buxton (1974) p62
33 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 25th November 1824
34 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 2nd December 1824
35 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 13th January 1825
36 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 8th June 1826
37 W Felkin “The History of the Machine Wrought Hosiery and Lace Manufactures" David and Charles Newton Abbott (1967 reproduction of 1867 edition) p446
38 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 3rd May 1827
39 W Kiddier “The Old Trades Unions - from unprinted records of the Brushmakers” G Allen and Unwin (1930) “The Old Trades Unions – from unprinted records of the Brushmakers” G Allen and Unwin (1930) p16
40 W Kiddier “The Old Trades Unions - from unprinted records of the Brushmakers” G Allen and Unwin (1930) p160; W A Richardson “Citizens’ Derby” University of London Pres (1949) "Citizen's Derby" University of London Press (1949) p168
41 Pigott & Co "Commercial Directory for Derbyshire" (1835) Derbyshire County Libraries, Matlock (1976 facsimile) p42; W Kiddier “The Old Trades Unions - from unprinted records of the Brushmakers” G Allen and Unwin (1930) p25
42 R Leeson "Travelling Brothers - The Six Centuries Road from Craft Fellowship to Trade Unionism" Allen and Unwin (1979) p15
43 R Leeson "Travelling Brothers - The Six Centuries Road from Craft Fellowship to Trade Unionism" Allen and Unwin (1979) p126
44 Sir George Trevelyan "The Early History of Charles James Fox" Longman’s, Green (1881) p89; R Leeson "Travelling Brothers - The Six Centuries from Craft Fellowship to Trades Unionism" Allen and Unwin (1979) pp279-283
45 "General Rules of the Horse-Nail Makers Union Society" (1822) - Derby Local Studies Library
46 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter" 14th April 1825
47 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter" 24th November 1825
48 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter" 8th December 1825
49 See A T Kidd "History of the Tinplate Workers & Sheet Metal Workers & Braziers' Societies" NUSMWB (1949) pp 139-149; Ted Brake "Men of Good Character - a history of the sheet metal workers, coppersmiths and heating and domestic engineers" Lawrence and Wishart (1985) pp 53-4, 58, 70,77
50 Angela Tuckett "The Blacksmiths' History –what smithy workers gave trades unionism" Lawrence and Wishart (1974) p403-4
51 A W Dawson "Derby, Its Rise & Progress" S R Publishers East Ardley (1906 facsimile reprint 1970) p270-4
52 F Burchill & Ross "A History of the Potters' Union" CATU – Students Bookshop Hanley (1977) p60
53 A L Morton & G Tate “The British Labour Movement 1770-1920” Lawrence and Wishart (1956) pp67- 68
54 Derby and Chesterfield Reporter 27th April 1825, 5th May 1825
55 S Higginbotham "Our Society's History (ASW)" (1934) p25 & p139
56 Pigott & Co "Commercial Directory for Derbyshire" (1835) Derbyshire County Libraries, Matlock (1976 facsimile) p43
57 C Kinggate "History of the UKSC" NUVB (1918) p12
58 Sir F Eden "State of the Poor" Vol ii J Davies (1797) p109
59 H Collins & J Fyrth "The Foundry Workers: A Trade Union History" AUFW (1959) p21
60 W Page(ed) “The Victoria History of the Counties of England – Derbyshire” University London Institute of Historical Research/Dawson (1970 facsimile reprint of 1907 edition) see pp356-362 for a general historical review of trade in the county
61 Pigott & Co "Commercial Directory for Derbyshire" (1835) Derbyshire County Libraries, Matlock (1976 facsimile) p44
62 W Page(ed) “The Victoria History of the Counties of England – Derbyshire” University London Institute of Historical Research/Dawson (1970 facsimile reprint of 1907 edition) p361
63 G D H Cole "Attempts at General Union – a study in British Trade Union history 1818-34" MacMillan (1953) p20
64 Angela Tuckett "The Blacksmiths' History –what smithy workers gave trades unionism" Lawrence and Wishart (1974) p39
65 J L & B Hammond "The Town Labourer 1760-1832" Victor Gollancz (1937) p335
66 J E Williams "The Derbyshire Miners - a Study in Industrial & Social History" Geoge Allen and Unwin (1962) p88
67 United Trades Co-operative Journal 4th September 1830
68 R G Kirby & A E Musson 'The Voice of the People – John Doherty 1798-1854" Manchester University Press (1975) p172
69 G D H Cole "Attempts at a General Union a study in British Trade Union history 1818-34" MacMillan (1953) p36
70 R G Kirby & A E Musson 'The Voice of the People – John Doherty 1798-1854" Manchester University Press (1975) p262
71 R G Kirby & A E Musson 'The Voice of the People – John Doherty 1798-1854" Manchester University Press (1975) p229
72 R G Kirby & A E Musson 'The Voice of the People – John Doherty 1798-1854" Manchester University Press (1975) p243