The Webbs: Working On Trade Union History

For Sidney and Beatrice Webb, recording the struggles of early trade unionism - and subsidising its publication - were an integral part of their social commitment, by Chris Wrigley.


More than that, they were able to control the production of their books, organizing the printing, fixing the prices and keeping an eye on the stocks. This way they could direct certain books to chosen wider audiences, thereby enhancing the role of their writings as propaganda and furthering the Webbs' names politically. Special cheap editions of their books on trade unionism were produced for trade unionists. Thus, an 1898 special edition of their History of Trade Unionism (1894) was published with the optimistic inscription on its title page 'Printed By The Authors Specially For The United Society Of Boilermakers And Iron Shipbuilders, To Remain Forever The Corporate Property Of The Society For Branch And Office Use'.


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