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The Vital SparkThe British Coastal Trade, 1700-1930$
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John Armstrong

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780986497308

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780986497308.001.0001

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The Crewing of British Coastal Colliers, 1870-1914

The Crewing of British Coastal Colliers, 1870-1914

(p.129) Chapter 8 The Crewing of British Coastal Colliers, 1870-19141
The Vital Spark

John Armstrong

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the employment conditions on British coastal ships between 1870 and 1914, focussing on the modern and industrial screw collier fleet on the east coast, which previous studies have traditionally overlooked. It uses data from British government censuses of seamen taken during the period and employment data from eighty Crew Agreements. In detail it discusses wage rates; methods of payment; recruitment stipulations; methods of maintaining crew morale; the hierarchy of promotion; and the way crew members expressed dissatisfaction with working conditions - such as through desertion. It determines that screw colliers received regular work, long-term employment opportunities, reasonable wages, and less hazardous employment conditions than other maritime career paths such as long-distance voyagers, and was thus a popular role.

Keywords:   Maritime Labour Conditions, Labour Economics, British Seamen, Screw Colliers, Wage Labourers, Maritime Employment History, Coal Trade

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