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Title: Potato harvesting in the Lothians, 1870 to 1995
Author: Holmes, Heather D.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis examines the themes of harvest technology, techniques, labour supply and employment conditions for the potato harvest in the Lothian area of Scotland during the period 1870 to 1995. These themes, which are inter-related, focus on what it was like to harvest the crop during a period when much casual labour was required, and also when the process was undertaken mechanically. Using documentary evidence, published sources and oral testimony, the thesis demonstrates how the various harvesting technologies used throughout the period (the potato graip, potato plough, spinner, elevator digger and mechanical harvester), affected harvesting techniques and the work of the people employed to gather the crop. By focusing on the three main types of workers employed to gather the crop, local women, school children and Irish migrant workers, it can be seen that a diverse range of employment conditions were given to each, and throughout time, as a result of local customs, traditional employment conditions, legislation and other regulations which sometimes only operated for a short period of time. The study of the workers shows that there could be problems in obtaining a supply of labour which were caused by personal and economic circumstances of the workers themselves, combined with factors outwith their control, such as attitudes towards their employment and the introduction of legislation. It can then be seen why the labour supply altered during the period of the study, and the reasons for the adoption and use of the mechanical harvester during the second half of the twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available