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The art of the possiblePolitics and governance in modern British history, 18851997: Essays in memory of Duncan Tanner$
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Chris Williams and Andrew Edwards

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090714

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090714.001.0001

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‘One meaning blots out another’? Liberals and Labour in the East Midlands coalfield

‘One meaning blots out another’? Liberals and Labour in the East Midlands coalfield

(p.45) 3 ‘One meaning blots out another’? Liberals and Labour in the East Midlands coalfield
The art of the possible

David Howell

Manchester University Press

Duncan Tanner analysed the relationship between Edwardian Liberalism and Labour politics, and the diversity of this relationship across regions and occupational groups. He emphasised the durability of Liberal attachments amongst some sections of the working-class electorate. One area where this was relevant was the east midlands coalfield: Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. This essay focuses on the relationship between industrial conflict and political change, by looking at industrial conflict in the district after 1910. The ordered solidarity of the 1912 miners’ strike should be complemented by an analysis of the 1911 rail dispute. In the latter case Chesterfield was notable for a riot that involved an attempt to set fire to the Midland station. There is some evidence that railway workers were more likely to back Labour candidates in the subsequent by-elections although, of course, they were greatly outnumbered by miners. How far this suggests a legacy of 1911 is debatable. The miners’ member elected for Chesterfield in the 1913 by-election, Barnet Kenyon, continued as Liberal member until his retirement in 1929, a venerable survival from the politics that Duncan Tanner analysed.

Keywords:   East Midlands, Chesterfield, Rise of Labour, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Rioting, Labour Unrest

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