The Great Leap Forward, 1911

  • John Lovell


As mass organisation gradually withered away after 1891, the Stevedores and Lightermen had been left as the only unions of any real influence in the port. Neither of these two societies, as we have seen, were inclined for a long time to exert themselves on behalf of a revival of mass unionism. Thus when, in July 1910, the Dockers’ Union invited these two organisations (among others) to a conference on federation,1 it was something of a surprise when they agreed to attend. Both had resisted all overtures of a similar kind for nearly twenty years; why the sudden change in 1910? The point is important, for without the adhesion of the Stevedores and Lightermen the National Transport Workers’ Federation could never have got off the ground in London.


Wage Rate Wage Increase Union Leader Mass Organisation Port Authority 
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  1. 1.
    For the initiative of the Dockers’ Union in this respect see Harry Gosling, Up and Down Stream (1927) p. 147.Google Scholar
  2. 26.
    Ben Tillett, History of the London Transport Workers’ Strike 1911 (1912) p. 1.Google Scholar
  3. 31.
    J. H. Clapham, An Economic History of Modern Britain (Cambridge, 1938) book iv, pp. 60–1.Google Scholar
  4. 34.
    Basic hourly wage rates were the same in 1911 as they had been in 1891, in all spheres of port employment. However, the proportion of work paid for by the piece increased markedly in this period. (See Howarth and Wilson, West Ham (1907) p. 195.) It is impossible to say to what extent this development compensated for the stagnation of time rates.Google Scholar
  5. 40.
    E. H. Phelps Brown, The Growth of British Industrial Relations (1960) pp. 320–1.Google Scholar
  6. 45.
    See Tillett, London Transport Workers’ Strike, p. 2. See also C. Watney and J. Little, Industrial Warfare (1912) pp. 78–80.Google Scholar
  7. 102.
    See Sir Joseph Broodbank, History of the Port of London (1921) 11 449–51.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. C. Lovell 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Lovell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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