The History of Trade Unionism

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The History of Trade Unionism (1894, new edition 1920) is a book by Sidney and Beatrice Webb on the British trade union movement's development before 1920.


First published in 1894, it is a detailed and influential accounting of the roots and development of the British trade union movement; the research materials collected by the Webbs form the Webb Collection at the London School of Economics.


  • I The origins of trade unionism, 1
  • II The Struggle for existence 1799-1825, 64
  • III The Revolutionary period 1829-1842, 113
  • IV The new spirit and the new model, 1843-1860, 180
  • V The junta and their allies, 233
  • VI Sectional developments 1863-1885, 299
  • VII The old unionism and the new 1875-1890, 358
  • VIII The trade union world 1890-1894, 422
  • IX Thirty years’ growth 1890-1920, 472
  • X The place of trade unionism in the state 1890-1920, 594
  • XI Political organisation 1900-1920, 677


The book was widely acclaimed as the best study of its kind so far, it was translated into multiple languages, including to Russian by Vladimir Lenin.[where?]


  • Webb, Sidney; Webb, Beatrice (1898). History of Trade Unionism. Printed by the authors especially for the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. ASIN: B00085AVQA.
  • Webb, Sidney and Beatrice (1919). The History of Trade Unionism, 1666-1920. Self published for the Students of the Workers' Educational Association.
  • Webb, Sidney; Webb, Beatrice (1976). History of Trade Unionism. AMS Press. ISBN 0-404-06885-5.
  • Webb, Sidney; Webb, Beatrice (2003). History of Trade Unionism. Barnes & Noble Digital. ISBN 0-594-09369-4.
  • Webb, Sidney; Webb, Beatrice (2005). David Martin (ed.). Webbs on Industrial Democracy (Archive Collection). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-1745-0.

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