Coalminers' housing in Fife : company housing and social relations in Fife mining communities, 1870-1930
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Fife coal-owners owned their workers houses and controlled the processes of housing provision and allocation. They were both employers and landlords. As a result the spheres of home and work were inextricably linked. This thesis examines the nature of the social relations arising from this "tied" relationship in the light of both local and national, political, economic and social developments, between 1870 and 1930. The themes of deference, paternalism, community, socialisation and social control, and the residual effects of pre-existing social relations, particularly pre-industrial relations of production, are explored. The empirical research concentrates upon the analysis of two coal companies in particular; the Fife Coal Company Ltd. and the Wemyss Coal Company. These companies operated coal mines in contrasting geographical locations; the former throughout inland west Fife and the latter along coastal south-east Fife. Each company built rows of colliers' houses in close proximity to the mines. At the beginning of the period housing for coal-miners was provided, not by speculative builders on the open market, but, by the coal-owners through their company architects and sub-contractors. Houses were provided as part of the employment contract as a means of attracting and maintaining the workforce. By the end of the period, the State, through the agency of local authorities, was the principal provider of working class housing in mining communities; coal companies had withdrawn from the housing market. The thesis attempts to explain this process in terms of changing social relations of production.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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