The Factory Movement, 1830-1855

The Factory Movement, 1830-1855

The Factory Movement, 1830-1855

The Factory Movement, 1830-1855

Excerpt

In his History of the Factory Movement, published in 1857, Samuel Kydd claimed that the Movement's 'efforts in the factories, on the platform, through the Press, the pulpit and the Parliament, called into existence almost every shade of controversy, religious, moral, social, economical, political, philosophical and Parliamentary'. The present book is an attempt to examine these controversies through a new history of the Movement. Although various aspects of the agitation for industrial reform have attracted the attention of historians, especially since the publication of the late Professor Cecil Driver's pioneer work, Tory Radical, The Life of Richard Oastler, the story of the Factory Movement itself has remained a comparatively neglected chapter of British history. This omission was perhaps natural, because of the widely scattered locations of the source material for a narrative in which 'national' and 'local' history are blended. But the very fact that parts of the agitation still arouse historical interest and, on occasion, controversy, may be some justification for presenting the first account of the whole Movement.

The period with which this chronicle deals strictly extends over the fourth to the sixth decade of the nineteenth century. But in the first chapter I have endeavoured to set the scene with a reminder of the industrial and legislative background, while in the last chapter the personalities, achievements and influence of the Movement are followed into later years. Through the body of the book, the need to consider the effects of other events and agitations has imposed a generally chronological pattern--which was, in any case, desirable, in order to trace the evolution of the Movement's ideas, policies and repute. As many speeches and writings would lose much of their vigour and emotion in paraphrase, direct quotation has been employed on many occasions. And because this is in many respects a strange story, which includes tours along several historical byways, I have indicated the sources used in . . .

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