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Title: Industrial welfare and recreation at Boots Pure Drug Company, 1883-1945
Author: Phillips, Simon
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2003
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Industrial relations and business history, preoccupied with negotiated agreements and economic trends, has viewed welfare schemes as peripheral to the experience and history of work. In comparison to other forms of sport and leisure, the role played by industry in creating cultures of leisure has been largely under-researched. As a response to these patterns, the thesis elevates welfare and recreational schemes to the fore through a case study analysis of Boots Pure Drug Company. In the first half of the twentieth century, workplace welfare developed from informal, ad hoc initiatives to multi-faceted, systematic welfare departments incorporated into the wider functions of management. Welfare work at Boots came to encompass the areas of sport, social activities, education and outings and holidays. Welfare and recreation in its many forms formed part of broader social obligations that transcended the domains of employment, commerce and civic life. Boots cultivated a 'trinity' of welfare that combined the welfare of the employee with that of the customer and the local community. Leisure activities were also governed by wider themes of youth, gender and prevalent patterns of leisure. Recreational initiatives symbolized, however, more than the provision of a variety of amenities alone. Rather than functioning simply as activities in themselves, they reflected the contemporary climate of efficiency and the work ethic but also functioned as cultural indicators, incorporated into an enveloping Boots family culture. This culture saw the existence and survival of customs, rituals and traditions unique to Boots, passed down through generations of the Boot family, senior managers and directors and rank and file employees. Consequently welfare was not characterized simply by the archetypal 'downward diffusion' dynamic of paternalism but incorporated a fraternalism, displayed both in leisure activities and on the shop floor. Furthermore, the thesis notes a maternalism that correlated with the increasing numbers of female staff but also contemporary perceptions of the woman's 'emotional' role in society. The thesis makes a contribution to the emerging 'social history of work' and provides an agenda for further research into this comparatively unexplored dynamic in the history of work and leisure.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Retailing business in Nottingham