The impact of machinery: hullbuilders

Alastair J. Reid

in The Tide of Democracy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780719081033
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702949 | DOI:
The impact of machinery: hullbuilders

Show Summary Details


This chapter explores on the impact of machinery on traditional skills in the shipbuilding industry. It suggests that the evidence needs to be handled with some care for, by being over-influenced by the interpretation of some of the early histories of the unions involved and relying on selected pieces of first-hand testimony, it would be possible to conclude that the experience of craftsmen in modern British industry has indeed been one of traumatic loss of position. However, when this material is placed in its original context of ambiguity about the extent of industrial change and emphasis on the survival of real skills, it becomes clear that it does not provide an accurate picture of the role of craftsmen at work. Throughout the period of this study the craft sectors of British industry continued to rely on high levels of manual aptitude, technical intelligence, and self-organisation, particularly in the case of the assembly of complex items like large metal ships.

Keywords: shipbuilding; machinery; trade unions; craftsmen; industrial change; metal ships; manual aptitude; technical intelligence; self-organisation; manual labour

Chapter.  9116 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.