Working the Land

A History of the Farmworker in England from 1850 to the Present Day

  • Nicola Verdon

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. The Victorian And Edwardian Farmworker

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Nicola Verdon
      Pages 23-53
    3. Nicola Verdon
      Pages 55-88
    4. Nicola Verdon
      Pages 89-120
  3. The Farmworker in the Century After 1914

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 121-121
    2. Nicola Verdon
      Pages 123-156
    3. Nicola Verdon
      Pages 157-188
    4. Nicola Verdon
      Pages 189-221
    5. Nicola Verdon
      Pages 223-248
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 265-284

About this book


This book offers a new history of the farmworker in England from 1850 to the present day. It focuses on the paid worker, considering how the experiences of farm work – the work performed, wages earned and conditions of hiring – were shaped by gender, age and region. Combining data extracted from statistical sources with personal and autobiographical accounts, it places the individual farmworker back into a broader collective history. Beginning in the mid-Victorian era, when farmworkers were the most numerically significant occupational group in England, it considers the impact of economic, technological and social change on the scale and nature of farm work over the next hundred and fifty years, whilst also highlighting the continuation of some practices, including the use of casual and migrant workers to perform low-paid, seasonal work. Written in a lively and accessible manner, this book will appeal to those with an interest in rural history, gender history and modern British history. 


Agriculture Farming Agricultural Labourer First World War Second World War Victorian Edwardian

Authors and affiliations

  • Nicola Verdon
    • 1
  1. 1.Modern British HistorySheffield Hallam University SheffieldUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-0-230-30439-0
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-31674-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site