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

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Date:10th of May 1831

Description:During 1831 tensions ran high in the North Staffordshire coal industry, as miners threatened to unite against their employers.

At this time, early trade unions were barely recognised by employers.

Three years later in 1834, the government would in fact attempt to crush the labour movement on the basis that unionised workers took 'illegal oaths.' Six union members from Dorset were sent away to Australia.

"Be not too rash!"

This bill is an attempt by a 'well wisher' (probably meaning the mine owners) to persuade miners not to strike, join the union, or take such 'illegal oaths.'

"Withdraw from that dangerous Union..."

The authors of the bill claim that the miners should be grateful for their wages.

Without wages, families will be 'plunged into the greatest distress,' and local parishes may not support them.

In any case, the union's funds will soon dry up. By then other miners will have gladly accepted union members' jobs.

The masters offer one last chance to give up:

"Your Masters are willing to forget your past misconduct, and accept you into their employ again, at the same liberal Wages... More they cannot give..."

This document, printed by Burslem printer M. Brougham, is now among the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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