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England's Great Transformation"Law, Labor, and the Industrial Revolution"$
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Marc W. Steinberg

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226329819

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226330013.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Redditch, Commercial Agriculture, Needle Manufacturing, and Small-Town Justice

Redditch, Commercial Agriculture, Needle Manufacturing, and Small-Town Justice

Chapter:
(p.104) Chapter Six Redditch, Commercial Agriculture, Needle Manufacturing, and Small-Town Justice
Source:
England's Great Transformation
Author(s):

Marc W. Steinberg

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226330013.003.0006

This chapter presents a detailed study of how employers in Redditch used the local magistrates’ court in both needlemaking and farming for labor control. Redditch was an important market town south of Birmingham and its farmed supplied this city. It was also one of the world’s largest centers for needle manufacture. Needlemaking had a very defined division of labor, but was largely unmechanized. In 1860 the major employers and landowners of the town successfully petitioned the government for a borough court of their own. Court magistrates were local elites sympathetic to employers of all kinds. It rapidly became a court with one of the highest percentages of master and servant prosecutions in the country. The chapter analyzes how major employers added to their authority in the workplace by relying on the court for work discipline.

Keywords:   Redditch, needlemaking, farming, local magistrates’ courts, labor control

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