Huzza!! Kidcrew Again! Kidcrew Again! An appeal for blackleg workers from the Enoch Wood scrapbook

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Date:16th of May 1831

Description:In the early 1830s early trade unions faced a struggle to gain the recognition of employers, and their members were often treated harshly.

An appeal for knobsticks

A 'gentleman of the pit' in this notice appeals for workers not in the union to come forward and work for him - "knobsticks of all casts, colour and complexion, may have liberal pay, and good quarters; they may work their Eyes out if they choose, for none will say wrong they do."

The Tommy Shop

Many workers were paid in 'truck' rather than in cash. This meant that they received goods in exchange for their hard work. Often they could purchase these goods from a company-owned Tommy Shop.

These workers, says the author, will indeed be able to shop at a "commodious and well furnished TOMMY SHOP," where they will be able to buy candles and tobacco - all "at a respectable TOMMY SHOP price."

A warning

"None need apply," warns the author, "who are in the habit of thinking or saying that men ought to be Renumerated for their Labour, or who are members of that Bug Bear the UNION."

A threat

"We hope we shall soon have the UNION on its Beam Ends," says this gentleman of the pit.

And it would be years before trade unions gained recognition as valid organisations - as soon as 1834, four farm labourers from Dorset would be transported to Australia for administering "illegal oaths" to union members.

About this document

Burslem pottery manufacturer Enoch Wood collected this document and it is now among the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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