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Title: The labouring miner in Cornwall c. 1740-1870 : a study in social history
Author: Rule, John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3539 6074
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1971
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This study is concerned with the working and community life of the labouring miner in Cornwall from the seventeen-forties, to the collapse of the copper industry in the late eighteen-sixties. These were the years when copper wining dominated the county's economy. Production began to overhaul that of tin in the 1740's and reached its peak in the quinquennium 1855-60. The rapid rise of this great industry, with the advances in technology and industrial organization which it entailed, makes its story the story of the Industrial Revolution in Cornwall. This study is concerned with the social history of that period of transformation. The first section is a statistical and historical introduction, providing data on the growth of the industry, the size and nature of its labour force, population, and the organization of the industry. Section 2 is concerned with the miner at work. The working conditions in the mines are described, as is the extent and nature of child labour. The system of wage payment is examined in detail as are the changes in hours of work and the rhythm of labour consequent upon the increasing capitalisation of the industry. A third section is concerned with the material conditions of the miner's life; his standards of housing and diet, and considers the family as an economic unit. Section 4 is concerned with popular disturbances and the collective action patterns of the Cornish crowd. The miners were notorious for the frequency and determination with which they used direct action to secure collectively desired ends. Food rioting was the most frequent of such direct action forms, and the incidence, character and effectiveness of the food riot are considered in detail. Other forms of crowd action are then examined. Section 5 is concerned with community life in the mining villages. After a placement of the mining community in its geographical and social setting, attention is turned to Methodism. Methodism's introduction to the county practically co-incided with the beginning of the period under consideration. Thereafter its rise was rapid and its influence considerable. Its growth is outlined, the character of village Methodism analysed and the phenomenon of recurrent revivalism examined. Particular aspects of community life are then considered in turn, viz. patterns of recreation, education, and smuggling and wrecking, the last being examples of forms of behaviour which were in conflict both with the law, and with the prevailing moral teaching of Methodism. A final section is concerned with the impact of trade-unionism and political radicalism on the miners. It is a concluding examination in which the lack of social, industrial, and political militancy among the miners is examined in the light of the industrial and social organisation of the region, the strength and influence of Methodism and the effect of the tribute system. The period was one of transformation, this final section looks at the problem of why the absence of forms of conflict usually associated with a period of rapid industrialisation was so marked.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; DA Great Britain