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Players' work timeA history of the British Musicians' Union, 1893â2013$
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Martin Cloonan and John Williamson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991326

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784991326.001.0001

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Early days: the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union, 1893–1918

Early days: the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union, 1893–1918

(p.36) 2 Early days: the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union, 1893–1918
Players' work time

John Williamson

Martin Cloonan

Manchester University Press

This chapter outlines the early history of the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union (AMU) and the work of its first General Secretary, Joseph Bevir (“Joe”) Williams. It illustrates the types of work undertaken by musicians in the last nineteenth and early twentieth century. Debates about whether musicians’ collective interests are best served by a trade union or a professional association are outlined. The key issues facing the Union in its early days are discussed including competition from military bands and European immigrant musicians, recruitment, strikes, the Union’s penchant for litigation, its efforts to communicate with members and its political lobbying and campaigning. The effect of the First World War on the AMU and musical employment is also outlineds.

Keywords:   Joseph Bevir (“Joe”) Williams, Amalgamated Musicians’ Union (AMU), London Orchestral Association (LOA), Military bands, Music Hall Strike (1907), Variety Artistes’ Association

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