Working-Class Organisations and Popular Tourism, 1840-1970.
Working-Class Organisations and Popular Tourism, 1840-1970. Susan
Barton. Manchester University Press. [pounds sterling]55.00. xii + 237
pages. ISBN 0-7190-6590-9. This fascinating study seeks to 'examine
what the working class and its organisations did to achieve holidays
independently of middle-class patronage', to make holidays
'less of an extraordinary experience'. Her concern is to
'demonstrate working-class agency in the development of popular
tourism', not with the holidays per se but with how working people
managed to have days off work and, eventually, paid holidays. Dr Barton
looks at the eighteenth century background, the 'St Monday'
tradition, the vital importance of the 1851 Great Exhibition, the role
of the railway, hop-picking in Kent, boarding houses, holiday camps,
works' outings and wakes, caravans, regional differences, the
effect of rising living standards, the 1938 (holidays with pay) act,
post-1938 government efforts to control the expected annual holiday
rush, and the cheap package holiday abroad after the 1950s. She ably
fulfils her goal of showing how 'the leisure activities of a
minority of organised workers in England spread to become a near
universal expectation, if not an annual reality' for all workers.
In so doing she has given us an admirable piece of social history.