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Labour's Apprentices by Michael James Childs


The three decades before the First World War witnessed significant changes in the working life, home life and social life of adolescent English males. In Labour’s Apprentices, Michael Childs suggests that the study of such age-specific experiences provides vital clues to the evolving structure and fortunes of the working class as a whole, and helps to explain subsequent developments in English history. Begining with home life, Childs discusses the life-cycle of the working-class family and considers the changes that becoming a wage-earner and a contributor to the family economy made to the youth’s status. He explores the significance of publicly provided education for the working class and analyses the labour market for young males, focusing on the role of apprenticeship, the impact of different types of labour on future job prospects, the activities of trade unions and wage levels. He then examines the street culture, commercial entertainments, and youth groups and movements and finds that each influenced the emergence of a more cohesive and class-conscious working class during the period up to the First World War.

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Working-Class Lads in Late Victorian and Edwardian England



labour, working class, youth



McGill-Queen's University Press