Essays in Labour History 1886-1923 (1967) editor with Asa Briggs, ..
Asa Briggs and John Saville, eds., Essays in Labour History (London …
Now in his 90s, Asa Briggs can look back on a life rich in labour and achievement. A practising historian for more than seven decades, he has made important contributions not only to the discipline and its popularisation but to intellectual life more generally, and the development of Britain’s universities more particularly. He has not finished yet. Sixty-nine years after his first book appeared he is about to publish a third volume of memoirs.1 Introducing the essays presented to Asa on his seventieth birthday, Derek Fraser emphasised four historiographical themes which categorised his achievement. Most scholars will recognise his significance in the evolution of the fields of social history, urban history and the study of broadcasting and communications from the 1940s.2 Younger historians may be less familiar with his engagement with labour history, given that subject’s marginality in both universities and popular discourse since the 1990s and the dominant role typically accorded to Marxist historians when it was in vogue between the late 1950s and the early 1980s. Yet it was a feature of his career from 1945 to the 1970s. The substantial and sometimes overlooked part he took in its take-off after 1960 was propelled by an enduring interest rooted in his background, his intellectual development, his times and the challenges that they presented to the expansion, modernisation and maturation of the discipline.3
Essays in Labour History 1886-1923 1971 (Paperback) Asa Briggs
is a collection of twelve scholarly essays on the twin themes of labour and transport history. Those on travel range from an account of a journey in late eighteenth-century Britain to a survey of long-distance bus travel in the modern United States. Asa Briggs, in his review of Victorian attitudes to new technology and the railways, records how Dickens was so affected by his experience of a rail crash in 1865 that if the memory returned he would get off a train without completing his journey. John Armstrong considers co-operation and competition between coastal shipping and the railways in the later nineteenth century. The essays on labour range from a discussion of the radical press of the early nineteenth century to the ending of George Lansbury's leadership of the Labour Party at the Brighton conference in 1935. Eric Hobsbawm contributes an essay on the May Day holiday and Chris Wrigley examines the cause of industrial unity and peace between 1916 and 1921.