The Coal Miners' Address to the Public - A notice from the Enoch Wood Scrapbook

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Date:27th of May 1831

Description:So-called 'blackleg' labour has been a controversial feature of industrial tension for generations.


When North Staffordshire's miners formed a trade union in the early 1830s, their masters responded by taking on non-union workers (or 'blacklegs') who would not try to seek improved pay and conditions.

The miners of the new union regarded these men as traitors, and wrote of them in crushing terms, referring to the story of Jesus' betrayal by Judas in the Bible: the Chief Priests and Scribes sought means to destroy Jesus, so our Masters and Agents are seeking traitors, and to our great astonishment and to their disgrace, they have found Judas's <acronym="These spellings have been left as they appear in the text.">(sic.)</acronym>...

"Be Peaceable, be firm, and be united..."

Blackleg workers have often been treated violently, even in modern times.

However, this notice calls on miners to remain calm and disciplined: Peaceable, be firm, and be united, though Judas betrayed his Master and his Brethren, yet the Eleven stood fast... and came of more than conquerors.

The anonymous notice is signed by 'a coal miner.'

This item is now among the collections at Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


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