Address of the Coal Miners of the North Staffordshire District - A notice from the Enoch Wood Scrapbook

Move your pointing device over the image to zoom to detail. If using a mouse click on the image to toggle zoom.
When in zoom mode use + or - keys to adjust level of image zoom.

Date:5th of May 1831

Description:This notice invites us to explore the hardships suffered by North Staffordshire's coal miners in 1831 - when their early trade unions were still not widely recognised.

Employers often intimidated organised workers, while the government tried to crush trade unions.

In 1834, six Dorset labourers were arrested on the basis of their 'illegal oaths.'

They later became known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Although less famous, North Staffordshire's miners shared their struggles.

"Unpleasant feelings..."

The authors refer to a notice recently posted by local coal masters. It seems they were suggesting that the miners were making excessive demands. In reply, the authors protest that "we want no more than a fair remuneration for our labour."

"Ordered to leave the union..."

The authors accuse their masters of indifference to their suffering.

The miners have been offered the choice to leave the union or starve.

Despite this, the coal masters still claim the right to unite between themselves - a blatant double standard, say the miners.

"Do not blame us..."

The authors claim that they find themselves forced to act against their employers, though not unreasonably:

Fellow workmen, to you we say, be Firm, be Peaceable, be United, and though the struggle may be sharp, it cannot be long; VICTORY must Crown the United efforts of Honest Men.

"England expects every man to do his duty."

The notice ends with this patriotic rallying cry.

This document was printed by W. Rowley, of the Market Square in Hanley, and is now among the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


Link to this resource

Donor ref:(121/16474)

Copyright information: Copyrights to all resources are retained by the individual rights holders. They have kindly made their collections available for non-commercial private study & educational use. Re-distribution of resources in any form is only permitted subject to strict adherence to the usage guidelines.