Social reform in Victorian Leeds: the work of James Hole, 1820-1895; by J. F. C. Harrison. 1954.



Contents

 

Page
I "MR. HOLE OF LEEDS" 1
II SOCIALISM IN PRACTICE AND IN THEORY 2
(1) The Leeds Redemption Society - a communitarian experiment 2
(2) The Leeds Cooperative Society- consumers' cooperation 13
(3) Social Theory - Lectures on Social Science and the Organization of Labour 17
III THE ADULT EDUCATION MOVEMENT 27
(1) Leeds Mechanics' Institute 28
(2) The Yorkshire Union of Mechanics' Institutes 29
(3) The Yorkshire Union Village Library 39
IV SOCIAL REFORM IN LEEDS 42
(1) National Education 42
(2) Working Class Housing 44
V LIFE IN LONDON 1867-1895 49
VI CONCLUSION 53
NOTES AND REFERENCES 55
INDEX 68

 

PREFACE


Among historians today there is a fairly widespread acknowledgement of the need for local studies to supplement the generalised accounts of national social and political movements, A suspicion has begun to spread that perhaps our perspective has in some instances been a little distorted by an over-reliance upon evidence from metropolitan sources; and a preliminary search has begun to reveal important material in other centres. Especially is this true of the nineteenth century, when the economic and social growing-points were as much in Yorkshire and Lancashire as in London. Much of the material for a study of the social movements of Victorian England lies buried away in minute books and pamphlets, or preserved in the childhood memories of old people who remember the tales which they heard from their parents and grandparents, in Leeds and the West Riding.

The present study is a small contribution to the unfolding of the story of Victorian social effort. It is grouped round the figure of James Hole, who as a person appears a somewhat shadowy figure, but whose work has a significance wider than that of its Yorkshire setting. The two decades between the collapse of organised Chartism and the passing of the second reform bill constitute a hitherto neglected period of the nineteenth century; and yet a comparison between the social hopes and possibilities of the England of 1848 and that of 1867 suggests that the intervening period was one of fundamental readjustment and searching for new paths of social advance. Hole's work in Leeds covers this period, and its significance lies in the light which it throws on the process of social change in Victorian society.

I am greatly indebted to Mr. H. L. Beales, who first suggested to me that an investigation of Hole's work would be rewarding, and who subsequently helped me in carrying it out. To Professor G. D. H. Cole I owe thanks for reading the manuscript and for advice about its publication. To Mr. F. Beckwith I am indebted not only for his management of the details of publication on behalf of the Thoresby Society, but also for his great personal interest in, and knowledge of bygone Leeds. Lastly, I wish to record my thanks to the trustees of the Passfield Trust, who made a generous grant towards the cost of publication of this monograph.


J.F.C.H.