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Title: Work and earnings : coal miners in north-east England and south Wales as a case study, 1852-1856
Author: Solomon, G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 6903
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2020
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When interested in historical wages, historians have typically paid much attention to the rate at which individuals were paid (either by the piece or by the day). They have devoted less consideration to how much these individuals worked over the course of the year and the degree to which their earnings varied. This thesis uses the highly detailed records of work and earning from three collieries between 1852 and 1856 (two in the north-east of England and one in south Wales) to quantitatively examine these factors. By reconstructing the employment histories of men and boys working in these mines, the thesis is able to investigate how earnings varied over the course of the year, as well as between individuals. It demonstrates that earnings were varied and unstable, which ultimately resulted in workers adopting income smoothing techniques (such as the use of credit or income sharing). The thesis also considers the driving factors behind this instability by analysing the influence of work availability and productivity on the earnings of those employed. Finally, the thesis reallocates attention from the consideration of adult male workers alone, to the family as an economic unit. It demonstrates how children interacted with the family income pool, and the consequences of this from an economic perspective. The thesis therefore demonstrates the importance of a holistic and multifaceted approach to investigating employment in order to understand historical work and earnings.
Supervisor: French, H. ; Withey, A. Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: coalmining ; coal mining ; wages ; earnings ; industrial revolution ; Britain ; north-east England ; south Wales ; family economy ; Wylam ; Townley ; Risca