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Title: The soul of the Labour Movement : rediscovering the Labour Church 1891-1914
Author: Turner, Jacqueline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 2857
Awarding Body: The University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines the formation, decline and contribution of the Labour Church during the formative years of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and Labour Party between 1891 and 1914. It provides an analysis of the Labour Church, its religious doctrine, its socio-political function and its role in the cultural development of the early socialist arm of the labour movement. It includes a detailed examination of the Victorian morality and spirituality upon which the life of the Labour Church was built. It also challenges some of the existing historiography and previously held assumptions that the Labour Church was irreligious and merely a political tool, providing a new cultural picture of a diverse and inclusive organisation, committed to individualism and an individual relationship with God. The Labour Church was founded by the Unitarian Minister John Trevor in Manchester in 1891 and grew rapidly. Its political credentials were on display at the inaugural conference of the ILP in 1893, and the church proved a formative influence on many pioneers of British socialism. As such, the thesis brings together two major controversies of Nineteenth Century Britain: the emergence of independent working-class politics and the decline of traditional religion. This thesis considers the Labour Church's role in an era of cultural change, in increasing secularisation and politicisation. It examines the disagreements between John Trevor and his political allies regarding the format, purpose and the morality of the Labour Church; the distinctive character of the Church's theology and doctrine within the wider religious and political debates of the period. Beyond the labour movement, it charts links between the Labour Church and the women's movement, children's associations and with regard to radical literary traditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available