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Title: Why we're all going on a summer holiday : the role of the working-class organisations in the development of popular tourism, 1850-1950
Author: Barton, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0001 3450 001X
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis is concerned with the role played by workers and their organisations in the development and achievement of holidays and mass tourism. Starting with an overview which sets the scene, looking at the earliest travel by workers, the main body of the work covers the period from 1850 to 1950. This takes in the proto-package tours to the Great Exhibition; investigates ways and means used by workers to get a holiday before payment was received for the period of leave; examines campaigns by trade unions for holidays with pay; discusses the kind of accommodation provided for or demanded by working-class holidaymakers. Relevant legislation is also taken into account in the development process. Workers' independent contribution to the achievement of holidays and the means to enjoy them are traced from the beginnings of urban industrial society until the immediate post World War Two Period and the availability of paid holidays for the majority. During the early stages of working-class history, before 1850, workers did not take time off to travel and stay away from home as a leisure activity, although some people travelled to search for work or migrated, usually due to economic circumstances. As a process of change and development is being studied rather than an event static in time, shorter trips have relevance during the period from 1840 onwards when excursions clearly played a part in the initiation of workers into travel for pleasure. Day excursions were the precursors of longer trips. As these early developments are outside the main period of study yet of importance to the growth of holiday taking amongst workers, they have been included and discussed in order to set the context of the work and to provide the background for the starting point of the main discussion. Primary source materials used in the research included minute books of local committees associated with the arrangements for the Great Exhibition, correspondence of these committees, hand bills and advertisements, trade union reports and correspondence with the Trades Union Congress, oral reminiscences, minutes of government commissions and select committees and official reports. I have also referred to numerous works on tourism, workingclass culture, labour history, theories of leisure, social and economic history, contemporary newspaper reports and even fiction. There is a paucity of original materials produced by workers themselves. Paradoxically, minutes and documents from the working-men's committees for the Great Exhibition are preserved but very few primary resources remain for the numerous, more recent holiday savings clubs. Perhaps this is because the Exhibition was seen as a special event worthy of commemoration whilst going-off clubs were just a part of "normal" life and therefore items relating to them were disposable as artifacts. Ways and means of securing time-off work or a holiday away from home before paid leave was available are investigated and discussed. The TUC's archive in the Modern Records Centre, at the University of Warwick has provided a valuable primary source of materials and information dating from the 1920s onwards. This and the minutes of the Select Committee on Holidays with Pay, have been essential in the investigation of the campaign for paid leave in the first half of the twentieth century. A suitable supply of accommodation in locations which would appeal to workers, be physically accessible to them and available at prices they could afford was a prerequisite of any growth in the scale of working-class tourism. A chapter is devoted to the discussion of holiday accommodation. Boarding houses, holiday camps, and beach huts are investigated, as are some of the organisations devoted to the provision of holidays for workers. Socialists were ardent campaigners and supporters of the right to working people to enjoy holidays without the attendant worry of loss of earnings and potential destitution on the return home. Socialists were also keen that these holidays should be an edifying experience, based on fellowship and worthwhile activities, hence their involvement in pioneering holiday camps. The labour movement became more politically influential after the First World War, through the Labour Party and trade union consultation by Governments. Campaigns for holidays with pay could then effect change both within the collective bargaining structures and through Parliamentary legislation. Policy and planning by the labour movement during the period when paid holidays were becoming a reality not just an aspiration are discussed. In conclusion, the thesis aims to demonstrate the social, cultural and political influence of working-class people and their organisations, in determining by their active involvement the growth and development of mass tourism, rather than through the passive consumption of a product offered for sale by entrepreneurs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sport & Recreation