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Defence or Defiance introduction

“Defence or Defiance- a people’s history of Derbyshire” is at once a complete book of all things to do with the working class and progressive movement, in the whole of Derbyshire from the earliest times to 1970, as well as a snap-shot of the leading personalities and events in those times.  

Above all, the book seeks to keep the ordinary reader up to speed by locating Derbyshire’s events against the national picture. From Derby’s herculean struggle against textiIe masters in 1833-4, or the `millocracy’ as Marx dubbed them, to the county’s magnificent solidarity with the miners in the General Strike of 1926. From the modern era back to the earliest days … it’s all there.
Sourced from original documents, newspapers, dusty minute books, oral reminiscences and hundreds of secondary texts, Graham Stevenson’s account will be inspiring to all trades unionists and a reservoir of rich information for academics and students of labour history.
The book was researched when Graham Stevenson was a local full time official for the Transport & General Workers Union in the Derby area in the early 1980s and was completed during a sabbatical at Coleg Harlech, won as part of an educational grant for full-time officials awarded by the union’s General Executive Council in 1982.
Later in the 1980s, it was revised and finalised for hoped-for publication, backed by the then General Secretary, Ron Todd. But extensive cutbacks in the T&G at the time would later prevent this and new priorities intervened. 
Since publication only became possible with the arrival of his own website in 2004, almost a quarter of a century after the first research, Graham says that “Defence or Defiance” has been, “like a labour of love”!
  • People's history of Derbyshire Part I   ( 6 Articles )


    A People's History of Derbyshire from the 17th Century to the 1970s


    Part I: Chapter headings and outline follow:


    1: the earliest days, 17th Century Democrats, the crowd in action, Lead Mining in Derbyshire, guilds and unions, the woolcombers. framework knitting, cotton mills, the Stockingmakers' Association and the French Revolution and its aftermath.

    2: Luddism in Derbyshire, the Knitters' Union and the Pentrich Provocation of 1817.

    3: 1825-1834, unions and the Combination Laws

    4: Countdown to the Reform Act of 1832, the GNCTU and the Derby Turnout of 1833-4

    5: Chartism, its bith (1839), second pase (1840-42), decline and renewed growth of trades unionism (1843-66)

    6: The Golden Age of Empire - Derbyshire Trades Unionism 1848-1890

  • Peoples' history of Derbyshire Part II   ( 3 Articles )


    Defence or Defiance - a Peoples' History of Derbyshire: Part II
    Chapter 7 deals with the period 1890 to 1914, social conditions and the growth of militancy, votes for women and the emergence of Labour as a political force. There are 14 studies of trades unionism in particular industries.
    Chapter 8 covers the 1914-18 war, its impact on the Labour and trade union movement and the stirrings of revolutionary politics in Derbyshire.


  • People's history of Derbyshire Part III   ( 5 Articles )

    Defence or Defiance - a Peoples' History of Derbyshire: Part III Outline:

    Chapters 9 to 12 cover the periods from the First World War to the General Strike (Chapter 9), the strike itself (Chapter 10), the Depression years (Chapter 11: 1927-39), and the Second World War (Chapter 12)

    1 The 1918 general election
    2 The revolutionary period 1919-21
    3 Battles on the economic front - from the war to the early twenties
    i) The engineering industry
    ii) General and Municipal Workers
    iii) Printing and paper workers
    iv) The mining industry
    v) The railway industry
    vi) Teachers
    vii) Police unionism
    viii) Co-operative and other distributive workers
    ix) The builders labourers union
    x) The textile industry
    xi) The Workers Union
    xii) Agricultural workers
    xiii) Boot and shoe operatives
    xiv) Painters
    xv) Public services and professional workers
    4 Battles on the political front
    i) political radicalism in the early Twenties
    ii) the Co-operative movement and Labour politics
    5 Unemployment and the depression 1921-25
    i) the textile industry
    ii) the Workers Union
    iii) the mining industry
    iv) the building trade
    v) the NUVB
    vi) the engineering industry
    vii) the Transport and General Workers Union
    viii) the railway industry
    6 Unemployed Struggles 1920-25
    7 Electoral battles 1921-2S
    8 References
    CHAPTER 10
    “There were no signs of weakening. On the other hand more workers were coming out and joining the strike.” Report of the Derby Trades Council on May 12th 1926 at the end of the General Strike.
    1   “Class fear’ or “magnificent generation”? - the stage is set
    2   “Hamlet without the Prince” - the strike in Derbyshire at the beginning
    3   From “soakie to a “gold mounted fountain pen” - the miners battle on
    4   “The miners could have won a wage reduction without Thomas’ help - by way of an epilogue
    5   Appendix - Calendar of key events: April to May 1926
    6   Chapter 10 References
                (1)       Mond-Turnerism: political and non-political unionism                   
                (2)       The Workers Union and the TGWU (1927 - 1932)                             
                (3)       Unemployed Struggles (1927 - 1929)                                                                       
                (4)       Social Conditions in the thirties                                                
                (5)       The 1932 Kinder Scout trespass                                                          
                (6)       The Left and the unemployed                
                         (i)           The United Front                                                               
                         (ii)           The Unemployed Act                                                      
                (7)       The thirties – a political decade                                                 
                (8)       The unions gain renewed confidence
    The TGWU                                                                           
    The engineering industry                                                           
    Railway trades unionism                                                            
                                                    The NASOHSPD painters                                                           
                                                    Textile Workers                                                                  
                                                    The leather, boot and shoe industry                                        
                                                    The pottery industry                                                                     
                                                    The draughtsmen                                                             
                (9)       The decade in retrospect                                                                     
               (10)     References     

  • People's history of Derbyshire Part IV   ( 3 Articles )

    Defence or Defiance - a Peoples' History of Derbyshire: Part IV

    Part IV of Defence or Defiance, the history of the labour and trade union movement in Derbyshire ends with "The Modern Era" (Chapter 13).
    This section also contains the Appendices, which include:
    a historical list of officers of the Derby Trades Council
    a historical list of UKSC and NUVB branch officers
    a historical list of Derby Builders’ Labourers’ branch officers
    a dictionary of Derbyshire labour movement biographies
    a description and dating of historic labour laws
    a list of initials used in the text
    a list of source and dates of photographs of Derbyshire labour movement personalities and events featured in the local press
    a note on inflation and prices
    a list of the works of Derby-based Marxist William Paul
    a bibliography of the sources used follows at the very end