Advertisement

William Walker, Labour, Sectarianism and the Union, 1894–1912

  • Henry Patterson

Abstract

William Walker was born into Belfast’s skilled working class in 1871. His father worked in the Harland and Wolff shipyard and was a trade union official.1 The first 30 years of Walker’s life coincided with two processes whose intertwining would dominate his experiences as a trade unionist and political activist. The first was the major expansion of its shipbuilding and engineering industries, which, together with its already substantial linen and engineering industries, would make Belfast the industrial heartland of Ireland. The Harland and Wolff yard, which had a workforce of 1,500 in the 1860s, when it was the only yard in Belfast, employed 9,000 people by 1900.2 In the 1ate 1870s, another shipbuilding enterprise was set up by Frank Workman, a local businessman, who was joined by George Clark from Glasgow in the Workman Clark ‘Wee Yard’. Clark, like Edward Harland and Gustavus Wolff, would become involved in Conservative and Unionist politics and Walker was to challenge him for the North Belfast parliamentary seat in 1907.

Keywords

Trade Union Labour Movement Labour Party Unionist Politics Tenant Farmer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Austen Morgan, Labour and Partition: The Belfast Working Class 1905–23 (London, 1991), p. 61.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    W.A. Maguire, Belfast (Keele, 1993), p. 63.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    John Lynch, ‘Harland and Wolff: its labour force and industrial relations, autumn 1919’, Saothar: Journal of Irish Labour History, vol. 22 (1997), p. 47.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Year Book for 1909 (Belfast, 1910), p. 1.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    See Catherine Hirst, Religion, Politics and Violence in Nineteenth Century Belfast: The Pound and Sandy Row (Dublin, 2002).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Peter Gibbon, The Origins of Ulster Unionism (Manchester, 1975), p. 71Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Henry Patterson, Class Conflict and Sectarianism: The Protestant Working Class and the Belfast Labour Movement 1868–1920 (Belfast, 1980), p. xvii.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Emmet O’Connor, A Labour History of Ireland, 1824–1960 (Dublin, 1992), p. 37.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Terence Bowman, People’s Champion: The Life of Alexander Bowman, Pioneer of Labour Politics in Ireland (Belfast, 1997), pp. 45–6.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Aiken McClelland, William Johnston of Ballykilbeg (Lurgan, 1990).Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Fintan Lane, The Origins of Modern Irish Socialism, 1881–1896 (Cork, 1997), pp. 192–3.Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    Graham Walker, A History of the Ulster Unionist Party: Protest, Pragmatism and Pessimism (Manchester, 2004), p. 92.Google Scholar
  13. 25.
    John W. Boyle, ‘William Walker’, in J.W. Boyle (ed.), Leaders and Workers (Cork, 1978), p. 60.Google Scholar
  14. 26.
    John Gray, City in Revolt: James Larkin and the Belfast Dock Strike of 1907 (Belfast, 1985), p. 30.Google Scholar
  15. 27.
    Henry Patterson, ‘Industrial Labour and the Labour Movement, 1820–1914’, in Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw (eds), An Economic History of Ulster, 1820–1939 (Manchester, 1985), p. 177.Google Scholar
  16. 30.
    F.S.L. Lyons, Ireland since the Famine (London, 1971), p. 215.Google Scholar
  17. 32.
    On the IOO see John W. Boyle, ‘The Belfast Protestant Association and the Independent Orange Order’, Irish Historical Studies, vol. XIII (1962), pp. 117–52.Google Scholar
  18. 32.
    For a critique see Henry Patterson, ‘Independent Orangeism and Class Conflict in Edwardian Belfast’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. 80, section C, no.1 (1980), pp. 1–27.Google Scholar
  19. 59.
    David Howell, A Lost Left: Three Studies in Socialism and Nationalism (Manchester, 1986), p. 104.Google Scholar
  20. 61.
    William Walker, ‘Rebel Ireland: and its Protestant leaders’, Forward, 3 June 1911, reprinted in The Connolly–Walker Controversy, p. 5.Google Scholar
  21. 62.
    See Graham Walker, The Politics of Frustration: Harry Midgely and the Failure of Labour in Northern Ireland (Manchester, 1985).Google Scholar
  22. 63.
    Gerry Adams, The Politics of Irish Freedom (Dingle, 1986), p. 129.Google Scholar
  23. 64.
    Bob Purdie, ‘An Ulster Labourist in Liberal Scotland: William Walker and the Leith Burghs election of 1910’, in Ian S. Wood (ed.), Scotland and Ulster (Edinburgh, 1994), p. 116.Google Scholar
  24. 68.
    Frank Wright, Northern Ireland: A Comparative Analysis (Dublin, 1987), pp. 84–5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry Patterson 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Patterson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations