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The responses to unemployment in the 1930's, with particular reference to South-East Lancashire

Hayburn, Ralph H. C.


Ralph H. C. Hayburn


John, 1916-2009 Saville


This Thesis is a study of unemployment in the 1930's in the cotton-spinning region of South-East Lancashire, including the two cities of Manchester and Salford. It falls into three sections. The first concerns the economic background - contemporary explanations of mass unemployment, and interpretations of the problems facing the staple British industries in the 1920's - and also the social problems of long-term unemployment, the 'Means Test', families living 'on the dole'.

The second part deals with the response of voluntary organisations, including the T.U.C. and Labour Party (outside Parliament), to the problem of the unemployed. From early 1932, the National Council of Social Service began to undertake the organisation of occupational centres for the unemployed. This developed into an extensive movement, and by 1936 there were 1,500 centres in existence in Britain, about four hundred of which were for women. The response of the T.U.C. was rather limited: the Unemployed Associations established after 1932 were a half-hearted attempt to provide those who had lost their employment with the opportunity to remain in touch with their unions.

Part III is a history of the National Unemployed Workers' Movement. This left-wing organisation, closely connected with the Communist Party, was particularly strong in South-East Lancashire, where unemployed skilled engineers provided a core of militant leaders. In the years between 1929 and 1936, the N.U.W.M. held five national hunger marches to London, and contingents of unemployed from South- East Lancashire took part on all of these. In addition, there were numerous local demonstrations in these years, especially in the last months of 1931, following the reductions in unemployment benefit and the introduction of the Means Test in the Budget of September of that year. After 1936, however, with the fall in unemployment, the activities of the N.U.W.M. began to decline.


Hayburn, R. H. C. (1970). The responses to unemployment in the 1930's, with particular reference to South-East Lancashire. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 19, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Keywords Economics
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Economics, The University of Hull
Award Date Oct 1, 1970


Thesis (29.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1970 Hayburn, Ralph H. C. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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