Staffordshire Working Lives
Letter describing an argument

A letter describing an argument over work allocations, 1816.

(© Staffordshire Record Office: D603/K/16/73B)

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Colliers' employment rights : a dispute at a new colliery

Letter describing an argument over work allocations, 1816.

This letter was sent to the Marquess of Anglesey and was written by his local agent at Burton on Trent, CJ Hodson. It gives a clear indication of how a large estate operated the rights and royalties for mining under its land, but also on what a small scale they were operated at this date. Three colliers had been awarded the right to sink pits at Brereton Hayes, but the work was still unfinished and the pits were not yet producing a full amount of coal. The dispute was over an allocation by a foreman of further labouring work to "strangers" when the colliers themselves were not fully occupied. The position is clearly taken by Mr Hodson that the colliers should take precedence over the others, because they had undertaken the risk and dangers and would otherwise be unemployed part of the week. He then discusses the cost of working the mine which the colliers are proposing, to give the estate the best financial benefit. The colliery was opened properly in 1817 and was managed directly by the agent, Mr Hodson, until 1828 when it was leased out.


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