Labour History Review

Time, affluence and private leisure: the British working class in the 1950s and 1960s

Labour History Review (2001), 66, (2), 223–242.

Abstract

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

A. Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, London, Pan, 1960 (first pub. 1958), pp. 20-1. For a fuller discussion of the treatment of working-class time in this novel see J. Rule, ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: Time and the Working Class’, Inaugural Lecture, Southampton University, 1994 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 20 1 Google Scholar

J. Bourke, Working-class Cultures in Britain 1890-1960, London, Routledge, 1994, pp. 1-9 Working-class Cultures in Britain 1890-1960 1 9 Google Scholar

See, for example, A. Marwick, ‘Images of the Working Class since 1930’, in J. Winter (ed.), The Working Class in Modern Britain History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 215-31; R. Darendorf, ‘The Working Classes, or how things hold together’, in his On Britain, London, BBC, 1982, and his comments in the Observer, 8 March 1997; F. Béderida, A Social History of England 1851-1990, London, Routledge, 1991 The Working Class in Modern Britain History 215 31 Google Scholar

J. Klein, Samples from English Cultures, London, Routledge, 1965, 1, p. 211 Samples from English Cultures 1 Google Scholar

E. P. Thompson, ‘Time, work-discipline and industrial capitalism’, Past and Present, 38, 1967, p. 86 ‘Time, work-discipline and industrial capitalism’ Past and Present 38 86 Google Scholar

E. G. Whybrew, Overtime Working in Britain. A Study of its Origins, Functions and Methods of Control, Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, Research Paper 9, 1968, p. 45; F. Zweig, The Worker in an Affluent Society: Family Life and Industry, London, Heinemann, 1961, p. 74 Overtime Working in Britain. A Study of its Origins, Functions and Methods of Control 45 Google Scholar

Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, pp. 24-4 Google Scholar

S. and B. Webb, Industrial Democracy, London, Longmans, 1914, p. 351 Google Scholar

C. Kerr, J. T. Dunlop, F. Harbison and C. A. Myers, Industrialism and Industrial Man, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973, p. 276 Industrialism and Industrial Man 276 Google Scholar

G. Cross, Time and Money. The Making of Consumer Culture, London, Routledge, 1993. See the discussion papers in the special number ‘Time vs Money’ of International Labor and Working-Class History, 43, 1993 Time and Money. The Making of Consumer Culture Google Scholar

For a sustained critique, see J. Westergaard and H. Resler, Class in a Capitalist Society: a study of Contemporary Britain, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1975. The plethora of sociological accounts of the working class published in the 1950s and 1960s forms the basis of this article. For a critical account of these investigations, see C. Critcher, ‘Sociology, cultural studies and the post-war working class’, in J. Clarke, C. Critcher and R. Johnson (eds), Working-class Culture: Studies in History and Culture, London, Hutchinson, 1979, pp. 13-40. The ideological and methodological assumptions of these studies are clearly constraining, but at the very least as a body of texts they make up a substantial ethnographical resource Class in a Capitalist Society: a study of Contemporary Britain Google Scholar

A. Marwick, British Society since 1945, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1990, p. 43 British Society since 1945 43 Google Scholar

M. Young and P. Willmott, Family and Kinship in East London, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1962, pp. 95-6 Family and Kinship in East London 95 6 Google Scholar

P. Halliwell, The Lorry Driver, London, Routledge, 1967, p. 206 The Lorry Driver 206 Google Scholar

B. Jackson, Working-class Community, London, Routledge, 1968, p. 93 Working-class Community 93 Google Scholar

W. Harper, ‘Factory Money’, in R. Frazer (ed.), Work 2: Twenty Personal Accounts, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1969, pp. 287-8 Work 2: Twenty Personal Accounts 287 8 Google Scholar

E. Roberts, Women and Families: An Oral History 1940-1970, Oxford, Blackwell, 1995, p. 56 Women and Families: An Oral History 1940-1970 56 Google Scholar

Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, pp. 209-10 Google Scholar

Young and Willmott, Family and Kinship, p. 96 Google Scholar

K. Fuller, Radical Aristocrats: London Busworkers from the 1880s to the 1980s, London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1985, pp. 201-18 Radical Aristocrats: London Busworkers from the 1880s to the 1980s 201 18 Google Scholar

M. Dresser, Black and White on the Buses: The 1963 Colour Bar Dispute in Bristol, Bristol, Bristol Broadsheets, 1986, pp. 38-9 Black and White on the Buses: The 1963 Colour Bar Dispute in Bristol 38 9 Google Scholar

S. Tolliday, ‘High Tide and After: Coventry Engineering Workers and Shop Floor Bargaining 1945-1980’, in B. Lancaster and A. Mason (eds), Life and Labour in a Twentieth-Century City: The Experience of Coventry, Coventry, Cryfield Press, 1985, p. 207 Life and Labour in a Twentieth-Century City: The Experience of Coventry 207 Google Scholar

G. Moorhouse, The Other England, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1964, pp. 106-7 The Other England 106 7 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

H. Clegg, How to run an incomes policy and why we made such a mess of the last one, London, Heinemann, 1971, pp. 5-6 How to run an incomes policy and why we made such a mess of the last one 5 6 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, p. 71 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

W. G. Runciman, Relative Deprivation and Social Justice, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1966, pp. 98-9 Relative Deprivation and Social Justice 98 9 Google Scholar

D. Lockwood, The Blackcoated Worker, London, Unwin, 1980, pp. 48-9 The Blackcoated Worker 48 9 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Halliwell, Lorry Driver, pp. 121, 135 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

G. Turner, The Car Makers, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1964, p. 117 The Car Makers 117 Google Scholar

A. Brown, ‘The Forelady’, in Frazer (ed.), Work 2, p. 310 Google Scholar

Moorhouse, Other England, p. 107 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 117 Google Scholar

Anon., ‘On the line’, New Left Review, 42, 1967, p. 57 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 111 Google Scholar

J. H. Goldthorpe, D. Lockwood, F. Bechhofer and J. Platt, The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1969, p. 61 The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure 61 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 135 Google Scholar

H. Beynon, Working for Ford, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973, p. 145 Working for Ford 145 Google Scholar

F. McKenna, The Railway Workers 1840-1970, London, Faber & Faber, 1980, p 254 The Railway Workers 1840-1970 254 Google Scholar

Department of Social Science, University of Liverpool, The Dock Worker: An Analysis of Conditions of Employment and Industrial Relations in the Port of Manchester, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 1956, pp. 151-69. The strike of 1951 is described pp. 208-49 and lasted for six weeks Google Scholar

Whybrew, Overtime Working, p. 45 Google Scholar

Jackson, Working-class Community, pp. 87-8, 92 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 135 Google Scholar

Jackson, Working-class Community, p. 280 Google Scholar

Goldthorpe et al., Affluent Worker, pp. 61, 97 Google Scholar

N. Dennis, F. Henriques and C. Slaughter, Coal is our Life: An Analysis of a Yorkshire Mining Community, London, Tavistock, 1969, pp. 29, 84-5 Coal is our Life: An Analysis of a Yorkshire Mining Community 29 Google Scholar

Cited in S. Alderson, Housing, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1962, pp. 52-3 Housing 52 3 Google Scholar

M. Abrams, ‘The Home-centred Society’, Listener, 26 November 1959 ‘The Home-centred Society’ Listener Google Scholar

M. Stacey, Tradition and Change: a study of Banbury, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1960, p. 157 Tradition and Change: a study of Banbury 157 Google Scholar

J. and E. Newson, Patterns of Infant Care in an Urban Community, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1965, pp. 134-5; Roberts, Women and Families, pp. 103, 159 Patterns of Infant Care in an Urban Community 134 5 Google Scholar

On consumption patterns in general, see J. Obelkevich, ‘Consumption’, in J. Obelkevich and P. Catterall (eds), Understanding Post-war British Society, London, Routledge, 1994, pp. 141-54 Understanding Post-war British Society 141 54 Google Scholar

R. Pahl, Divisions of Labour, Oxford, Blackwell, 1984, pp. 99-101 Divisions of Labour 99 101 Google Scholar

Young and Willmott, Family and Kinship, p. 143 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Ibid., p. 143; Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, p. 60; Dennis et al., Coal is Our Life, pp. 183, 169 (fn.) Google Scholar

Newson, Patterns of Infant Care, pp. 141-3 Google Scholar

Alderson, Housing, p. 54 Google Scholar

P. Higgs, ‘The Convener’, in Frazer (ed.), Work 2, p. 113 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Jack Dash, Good Morning Brothers!, London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1969, pp. 100-1 Good Morning Brothers! 100 1 Google Scholar

Higgs in Frazer (ed.), Work 2, p. 114 Google Scholar

Goldthorpe et al., Affluent Worker, p. 56 Google Scholar

Television History Workshop, ‘Morris Motors in the 1960s’, History Workshop Journal, 16, 1983, pp. 103-4 Google Scholar

TGWU Education Research Booklet, What Price Shift-Work? A survey of trends and policies, London, TGWU, 1984, pp. 5, 12-14, 17 Google Scholar

M. Postan, Economic History of Western Europe 1945-1965, London, Unwin, 1968, p. 324 Economic History of Western Europe 1945-1965 324 Google Scholar

Frazer (ed.), Work 2, pp. 90-1 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, pp. 240-1 Google Scholar

Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, p. 71 Google Scholar

Jack Jones, ‘A World to Win’, Foundation Oration, Birkbeck College, London, 1975, p. 5 ‘A World to Win’ 5 Google Scholar

A. Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, London, Pan, 1960 (first pub. 1958), pp. 20-1. For a fuller discussion of the treatment of working-class time in this novel see J. Rule, ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: Time and the Working Class’, Inaugural Lecture, Southampton University, 1994 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 20 1 Google Scholar

J. Bourke, Working-class Cultures in Britain 1890-1960, London, Routledge, 1994, pp. 1-9 Working-class Cultures in Britain 1890-1960 1 9 Google Scholar

See, for example, A. Marwick, ‘Images of the Working Class since 1930’, in J. Winter (ed.), The Working Class in Modern Britain History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 215-31; R. Darendorf, ‘The Working Classes, or how things hold together’, in his On Britain, London, BBC, 1982, and his comments in the Observer, 8 March 1997; F. Béderida, A Social History of England 1851-1990, London, Routledge, 1991 The Working Class in Modern Britain History 215 31 Google Scholar

J. Klein, Samples from English Cultures, London, Routledge, 1965, 1, p. 211 Samples from English Cultures 1 Google Scholar

E. P. Thompson, ‘Time, work-discipline and industrial capitalism’, Past and Present, 38, 1967, p. 86 ‘Time, work-discipline and industrial capitalism’ Past and Present 38 86 Google Scholar

E. G. Whybrew, Overtime Working in Britain. A Study of its Origins, Functions and Methods of Control, Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, Research Paper 9, 1968, p. 45; F. Zweig, The Worker in an Affluent Society: Family Life and Industry, London, Heinemann, 1961, p. 74 Overtime Working in Britain. A Study of its Origins, Functions and Methods of Control 45 Google Scholar

Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, pp. 24-4 Google Scholar

S. and B. Webb, Industrial Democracy, London, Longmans, 1914, p. 351 Google Scholar

C. Kerr, J. T. Dunlop, F. Harbison and C. A. Myers, Industrialism and Industrial Man, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973, p. 276 Industrialism and Industrial Man 276 Google Scholar

G. Cross, Time and Money. The Making of Consumer Culture, London, Routledge, 1993. See the discussion papers in the special number ‘Time vs Money’ of International Labor and Working-Class History, 43, 1993 Time and Money. The Making of Consumer Culture Google Scholar

For a sustained critique, see J. Westergaard and H. Resler, Class in a Capitalist Society: a study of Contemporary Britain, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1975. The plethora of sociological accounts of the working class published in the 1950s and 1960s forms the basis of this article. For a critical account of these investigations, see C. Critcher, ‘Sociology, cultural studies and the post-war working class’, in J. Clarke, C. Critcher and R. Johnson (eds), Working-class Culture: Studies in History and Culture, London, Hutchinson, 1979, pp. 13-40. The ideological and methodological assumptions of these studies are clearly constraining, but at the very least as a body of texts they make up a substantial ethnographical resource Class in a Capitalist Society: a study of Contemporary Britain Google Scholar

A. Marwick, British Society since 1945, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1990, p. 43 British Society since 1945 43 Google Scholar

M. Young and P. Willmott, Family and Kinship in East London, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1962, pp. 95-6 Family and Kinship in East London 95 6 Google Scholar

P. Halliwell, The Lorry Driver, London, Routledge, 1967, p. 206 The Lorry Driver 206 Google Scholar

B. Jackson, Working-class Community, London, Routledge, 1968, p. 93 Working-class Community 93 Google Scholar

W. Harper, ‘Factory Money’, in R. Frazer (ed.), Work 2: Twenty Personal Accounts, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1969, pp. 287-8 Work 2: Twenty Personal Accounts 287 8 Google Scholar

E. Roberts, Women and Families: An Oral History 1940-1970, Oxford, Blackwell, 1995, p. 56 Women and Families: An Oral History 1940-1970 56 Google Scholar

Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, pp. 209-10 Google Scholar

Young and Willmott, Family and Kinship, p. 96 Google Scholar

K. Fuller, Radical Aristocrats: London Busworkers from the 1880s to the 1980s, London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1985, pp. 201-18 Radical Aristocrats: London Busworkers from the 1880s to the 1980s 201 18 Google Scholar

M. Dresser, Black and White on the Buses: The 1963 Colour Bar Dispute in Bristol, Bristol, Bristol Broadsheets, 1986, pp. 38-9 Black and White on the Buses: The 1963 Colour Bar Dispute in Bristol 38 9 Google Scholar

S. Tolliday, ‘High Tide and After: Coventry Engineering Workers and Shop Floor Bargaining 1945-1980’, in B. Lancaster and A. Mason (eds), Life and Labour in a Twentieth-Century City: The Experience of Coventry, Coventry, Cryfield Press, 1985, p. 207 Life and Labour in a Twentieth-Century City: The Experience of Coventry 207 Google Scholar

G. Moorhouse, The Other England, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1964, pp. 106-7 The Other England 106 7 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

H. Clegg, How to run an incomes policy and why we made such a mess of the last one, London, Heinemann, 1971, pp. 5-6 How to run an incomes policy and why we made such a mess of the last one 5 6 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, p. 71 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

W. G. Runciman, Relative Deprivation and Social Justice, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1966, pp. 98-9 Relative Deprivation and Social Justice 98 9 Google Scholar

D. Lockwood, The Blackcoated Worker, London, Unwin, 1980, pp. 48-9 The Blackcoated Worker 48 9 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Halliwell, Lorry Driver, pp. 121, 135 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

G. Turner, The Car Makers, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1964, p. 117 The Car Makers 117 Google Scholar

A. Brown, ‘The Forelady’, in Frazer (ed.), Work 2, p. 310 Google Scholar

Moorhouse, Other England, p. 107 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 117 Google Scholar

Anon., ‘On the line’, New Left Review, 42, 1967, p. 57 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 111 Google Scholar

J. H. Goldthorpe, D. Lockwood, F. Bechhofer and J. Platt, The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1969, p. 61 The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure 61 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 135 Google Scholar

H. Beynon, Working for Ford, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973, p. 145 Working for Ford 145 Google Scholar

F. McKenna, The Railway Workers 1840-1970, London, Faber & Faber, 1980, p 254 The Railway Workers 1840-1970 254 Google Scholar

Department of Social Science, University of Liverpool, The Dock Worker: An Analysis of Conditions of Employment and Industrial Relations in the Port of Manchester, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press, 1956, pp. 151-69. The strike of 1951 is described pp. 208-49 and lasted for six weeks Google Scholar

Whybrew, Overtime Working, p. 45 Google Scholar

Jackson, Working-class Community, pp. 87-8, 92 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, p. 135 Google Scholar

Jackson, Working-class Community, p. 280 Google Scholar

Goldthorpe et al., Affluent Worker, pp. 61, 97 Google Scholar

N. Dennis, F. Henriques and C. Slaughter, Coal is our Life: An Analysis of a Yorkshire Mining Community, London, Tavistock, 1969, pp. 29, 84-5 Coal is our Life: An Analysis of a Yorkshire Mining Community 29 Google Scholar

Cited in S. Alderson, Housing, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1962, pp. 52-3 Housing 52 3 Google Scholar

M. Abrams, ‘The Home-centred Society’, Listener, 26 November 1959 ‘The Home-centred Society’ Listener Google Scholar

M. Stacey, Tradition and Change: a study of Banbury, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1960, p. 157 Tradition and Change: a study of Banbury 157 Google Scholar

J. and E. Newson, Patterns of Infant Care in an Urban Community, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1965, pp. 134-5; Roberts, Women and Families, pp. 103, 159 Patterns of Infant Care in an Urban Community 134 5 Google Scholar

On consumption patterns in general, see J. Obelkevich, ‘Consumption’, in J. Obelkevich and P. Catterall (eds), Understanding Post-war British Society, London, Routledge, 1994, pp. 141-54 Understanding Post-war British Society 141 54 Google Scholar

R. Pahl, Divisions of Labour, Oxford, Blackwell, 1984, pp. 99-101 Divisions of Labour 99 101 Google Scholar

Young and Willmott, Family and Kinship, p. 143 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Ibid., p. 143; Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, p. 60; Dennis et al., Coal is Our Life, pp. 183, 169 (fn.) Google Scholar

Newson, Patterns of Infant Care, pp. 141-3 Google Scholar

Alderson, Housing, p. 54 Google Scholar

P. Higgs, ‘The Convener’, in Frazer (ed.), Work 2, p. 113 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Jack Dash, Good Morning Brothers!, London, Lawrence & Wishart, 1969, pp. 100-1 Good Morning Brothers! 100 1 Google Scholar

Higgs in Frazer (ed.), Work 2, p. 114 Google Scholar

Goldthorpe et al., Affluent Worker, p. 56 Google Scholar

Television History Workshop, ‘Morris Motors in the 1960s’, History Workshop Journal, 16, 1983, pp. 103-4 Google Scholar

TGWU Education Research Booklet, What Price Shift-Work? A survey of trends and policies, London, TGWU, 1984, pp. 5, 12-14, 17 Google Scholar

M. Postan, Economic History of Western Europe 1945-1965, London, Unwin, 1968, p. 324 Economic History of Western Europe 1945-1965 324 Google Scholar

Frazer (ed.), Work 2, pp. 90-1 Google Scholar

Turner, Car Makers, pp. 240-1 Google Scholar

Zweig, Worker in an Affluent Society, p. 71 Google Scholar

Jack Jones, ‘A World to Win’, Foundation Oration, Birkbeck College, London, 1975, p. 5 ‘A World to Win’ 5 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Rule, John