Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-5dd2w Total loading time: 0.309 Render date: 2022-05-28T19:51:36.725Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

The structure of elite power in the early twentieth-century city: Norwich, 1900–35

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2009

Abstract

Through a study of middle-class power in Norwich in the first third of the twentieth century, this paper tests a number of hypotheses concerning the behaviour of British urban elites. Analysis of networks (freemasons, business organizations and family) assesses the level of social unification among the middle class; elite involvement in chapel, charities and voluntary organizations addresses the question of social leadership; whilst elite politics is considered through three questions: did they become unified behind a single anti-socialist stance? Did the more important members of the elite leave urban politics? And did they abandon faith in grand civic projects? Its conclusions suggest that the power and involvement of the elite continued into the 1930s, maintaining a positive approach to the scope and function of municipal authority.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

Versions of this paper were given to the Urban History Group Conference, ‘Elites in Urban in History’, Edinburgh, March 1995 and the ‘Mid-West Conference on British Studies’, Ann Arbor, Michigan, November 1995. I am very grateful to the Overseas Conference Grants section of the British Academy, and the Special Staff Travel Fund and the Department of History at the University of Durham for financial assistance towards the completion and presentation of this research.

References

1 Trainor, R., ‘Urban elites in Victorian Britain’, Urban History Yearbook (1985), 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 Morris, R.J., Class, Sect and Party in the Making of the British Middle Class: Leeds 1820–1850 (Manchester, 1990)Google Scholar; Fraser, D. (ed.), A History of Modern Leeds (Manchester, 1980)Google Scholar; Kidd, A.J. and Roberts, K.W. (eds), City, Class and Culture: Studies of Social Policy and Cultural Production in Victorian Manchester (Manchester, 1985)Google Scholar; Garrard, J., Leadership and Power in Victorian Industrial Towns, 1830–80 (Manchester, 1983)Google Scholar; Joyce, P., Work, Society and Politics: The Culture of the Factory in Later Victorian England (London, 1980)Google Scholar; Trainor, R.H., Black Country Elites: The Exercise of Authority in an Industrialized Area, 1830–1900 (Oxford, 1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hennock, E.P., Fit and Proper Persons: Ideal and Reality in Nineteenth Century Urban Government (London, 1973)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Meller, H., Leisure and the Changing City, 1870–1914 (London, 1976)Google Scholar; Yeo, S., Religion and Voluntary Organisations in Crisis (London, 1976)Google Scholar. For developments in Wales and Scotland see Daunton, M.J., Coal Metropolis: Cardiff 1870–1914 (Leicester, 1977)Google Scholar and Morgan, N. and Trainor, R.H., ‘The dominant classes’, in Fraser, W. Hamish and Morris, R.J. (eds), People and Society in Scotland: Vol. II, 1830–1914 (Edinburgh, 1990).Google Scholar

3 Simon, S., A Century of City Government: Manchester 1838–1938 (Manchester, 1938)Google Scholar; Chorley, K., Manchester Made Them (London, 1950)Google Scholar; Lee, J.M., Social Leaders and Public Persons: A Study of County Government in Cheshire since 1888 (Oxford, 1963)Google Scholar; Garrard, , Leadership and PowerGoogle Scholar, Joyce, , Work, Society and PoliticsGoogle Scholar; Savage, M., The Dynamics of Working Class Politics: The Labour Movement in Preston, 1880–1940 (Cambridge, 1987).Google Scholar

4 Trainor, , Black Country ElitesGoogle Scholar, esp. conclusion.

5 Jones, G.W., Borough Politics: A Study of the Wolverhampton Borough Council, 1888–1964 (London, 1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jones, P., ‘Politics’, in Nash, D. and Reeder, D. (eds), Leicester in the Twentieth Century (Stroud, 1993)Google Scholar; Meadowcroft, M., ‘The years of political transition, 1914–39’Google Scholar, in Fraser, , Modern Leeds, 410–36Google Scholar; Carr, F., ‘Municipal socialism: Labour's rise to power’, in Lancaster, B. and Mason, T. (eds), Life and Labour in the Twentieth Century City: The Experience of Coventry (Coventry, 1986), 172203Google Scholar; Waller, P.J., Democracy and Sectarianism: A Political and Social History of Liverpool, 1868–1939 (Liverpool, 1981)Google Scholar. For Edinburgh see McCrone, D. and Elliott, B., Property and Power in a City. The Sociological Significance of Landlordism (Basingstoke, 1989).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 In addition to the works cited in note 2 see also, Perkin, H., The Origins of Modern English Society, 1780–1880 (London, 1969), 430–7Google Scholar; Hay, J.R., ‘Employers and social policy in Britain’, Social History, 2 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Turner, J. (ed.), Businessmen and Politics: Studies of Business Activity in British Politics, 1900–1945 (London, 1984).Google Scholar

7 Blewett, N., The Peers, the Parties and the People: The British General Elections of 1910 (London, 1972)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Searle, G.R., ‘The Edwardian Liberal party and business’, English Historical Review, 98 (1983), 2860CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Clarke, P.F., ‘The end of laissez-faire and the politics of cotton’, Historical Journal, 15 (1972), 493512CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Cook, C., ‘Labour and the downfall of the Liberal party, 1906–14’, in Sked, A. and Cook, C. (eds), Crisis and Controversy (London, 1976)Google Scholar; Ramsden, J., The Age of Balfour and Baldwin, 1902–1940 (London, 1978).Google Scholar

8 Savage, , Dynamics of Working Class PoliticsGoogle Scholar; Savage, M., ‘Urban history and social class: two paradigms’, Urban History, 20, 1 (1993), esp. 72–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

9 This study is based on an analysis of approximately 400 Liberal and Conservative mayors, sheriffs, aldermen, councillors, guardians, and unsuccessful candidates for the latter two posts, in the period 1900–39. Evidence was also collected on those who were politically committed but did not seek office, including members of political clubs, attendees at political meetings and officers and activists in ward organizations. For biographical sources see Doyle, B.M., ‘Middle class realignment and party politics in Norwich, 1990–1932’Google Scholar (unpublished University of East Anglia Ph.D. thesis, 1990), 90–2 and footnotes. For the middle middle class, see Trainor, , Black Country ElitesGoogle Scholar, Appendix 1.

10 Trainor, , Black Country ElitesGoogle Scholar; Joyce, , Work, Society and PoliticsGoogle Scholar. For the ‘conventional’ approach, see Jones, , Borough PoliticsGoogle Scholar; Hennock, , Fit and Proper PersonsGoogle Scholar; and Garrard, , Leadership and PowerGoogle Scholar. For further discussion of elite recruitment in Norwich, see Doyle, B.M., ‘Urban Liberalism and the “lost generation”: politics and middle class culture in Norwich, 1900–1935’, Historical Journal, 38, 3 (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

11 Cambridge, Exeter, Chester and Worcester all had populations of less than 50,000; Bath, Oxford, Reading and York less than 100,000. Mitchell, B.R. with Deane, P., Abstract of British Historical Statistics (Cambridge, 1962).Google Scholar

12 Fraser, W.H., The Coming of the Mass Market, 1850–1914 (London, 1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

13 Hawkins, C.B., Norwich: A Social Study (London, 1910)Google Scholar; Edwards, J.K., ‘Industrial development of the city, 1800–1900’, in Barringer, C. (ed.), Norwich in the Nineteenth Century (Norwich, 1982)Google Scholar; Sparkes, W.L., The Story of Shoemaking in Norwich (Northampton, 1949).Google Scholar

14 Cunningham, P., ‘Unemployment in Norwich during the nineteen thirties’Google Scholar (unpublished University of East Anglia Ph.D. thesis, 1990).

15 Muthesius, S., ‘Nineteenth century Norwich houses’Google Scholar, in Barringer, , Nineteenth Century NorwichGoogle Scholar; and Travers, P., ‘The changing pattern of prestige rrsidence in Norwich, 1871–1971: a case study of the geography of segregation’Google Scholar (unpublished University of East Anglia Ph.D. thesis, 1984).

16 Compare Savage, , Dynamics of Working Class Politics, 112–15Google Scholar with Trainor, , Black Country Elites, 110Google Scholar; Cannadine, D., ‘Victorian cities: how different?’, Social History, 2 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jones, , Borough Politics, 207–9Google Scholar; Joyce, , Work, Society and PoliticsGoogle Scholar, ch. 1.

17 Cook, C., The Age of Alignment: Electoral Politics in Britain, 1922–29 (London, 1975), 6870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

18 Jones, , ‘Politics’.Google Scholar

19 For studies which include some discussion of marriage see Joyce, , Work, Society and Politics, 1518Google Scholar; Trainor, , Black Country Elites, esp. 73 and 121Google Scholar; Binfield, C., So Down To Prayers (London, 1977)Google Scholar; Benwell Community Project Final Report Series 6, The Making of a Ruling Class: Two Centuries of Capital Development on Tyneside (Newcastle, 1978), 38Google Scholar and Appendix I.

20 For further discussion of these marriage patterns see Doyle, , ‘Urban Liberalism’, 628Google Scholar, and ‘Middle class realignment’, ch. 6.

21 Eastern Daily Press [hereafter EDP], 21 05 1929.Google Scholar

22 Finn, G.P.T., ‘In the grip? A psychological and historical exploration of the social significance of freemasonry in Scotland’, in Walker, G. and Gallagher, T. (eds), Sermons and Battle Hymns (Edinburgh, 1990), 160–92.Google Scholar

23 Jones, , Borough Politics, 136–7Google Scholar; Joyce, , Work, Society and Politics, 37Google Scholar; Trainor, , Black Country Elites, 78Google Scholar; Lee, , Social Leaders, 34Google Scholar; Savage, , Dynamics of Working Class Politics, 114.Google Scholar

24 Evidence on membership was collected from biographical dictionaries, obituaries, reports of funerals and the following sources which provided full or partial lists of members. Le Strange, H., History of Freemasonry in Norfolk, 1724–1895 (Norwich, 1896)Google Scholar; Lord Amherst of Hackney and Le Strange, H., History of the Union Lodge, Norwich No. 52 (Norwich, n.d.[1896])Google Scholar; The Norwich Masonic Association, Twenty Sixth Annual Report of the Directors (Norwich, 1906)Google Scholar and Thirty-First Annual Report of the Directors (Norwich, 1911)CrossRefGoogle Scholar [hereafter NMA Annual Report]; ‘Records relating to the registration of Lodges of Freemasons in Norfolk: list of members and occupations of members of Walpole Lodge 1500, 1925’, Norfolk Records Office [hereafter NRO] C/Scg 7/1/21; ‘Union Lodge of Freemasons: register of members 1864–1905’, NRO/SO9/26 465X.

25 NRO/C/Scg 7/1/21.

26 Amherst, and Strange, Le, Union Lodge, 134–50Google Scholar; NRO/SO9/26 465X.

27 The Liberal group did include a defector to the Liberal Unionists who subsequently served as an alderman, mayor three times, and chairman of the Unionist Association.

28 Compare NMA Annual Report, 1906 and 1911Google Scholar with membership of the Norwich Master Builders Association reported in EDP, 22 03 1902Google Scholar, 24 March 1904 and 23 March 1905.

29 For similar links in Wolverhampton see Jones, , Borough Politics, 137.Google Scholar

30 McKenna, J.A. and Rodger, R.G., ‘Control by coercion: employers' associations and the establishment of industrial order in the building industry of England and Wales, 1860–1914’, Business History Review, 59 (1985), 203–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Norwich and District Master Builders' Association, 11th Annual Report (Norwich, 1909).Google Scholar

31 Cherry, S., Doing Different?: Politics and the Labour Movement in Norwich, 1880–1914 (Norwich, 1989), 3740 and 5560Google Scholar; Hawkins, , Norwich, 36–7Google Scholar; Board of Trade, Directory of Industrial Associations in the United Kingdom in 1907 (London, 1907).Google Scholar

32 Doyle, B.M., ‘The development of the Norwich Chamber of Commerce, 1896–1930’, Norfolk Archaeology (forthcoming, 1998).Google Scholar

33 Hay, , ‘Employers and social policy’.Google Scholar

34 Doyle, , ‘Chamber of Commerce’.Google Scholar

35 Jones, , Borough Politics, 130–1Google Scholar; Carr, , ‘Municipal socialism’, 173 and 177.Google Scholar

36 Binfield, , Down to PrayersGoogle Scholar; Gilbert, A.D., Religion and Society in Industrial England (London, 1976).Google Scholar

37 Gilbert, , Religion and SocietyGoogle Scholar, Fig. 2.2, 39. The Congregationalists and Baptists were both larger than the national average, the Methodists, especially the Wesleyans, smaller. Doyle, , ‘Middle class realignment’, 3744Google Scholar and Doyle, B.M., ‘Gender, class and Congregational culture in early twentieth century Norwich’, Journal of the United Reformed Church History Society, 5/6 (1995), 317–35.Google Scholar

38 Jewson, C.B., The Baptists in Norfolk (London, 1957)Google Scholar; Doyle, , ‘Congregational culture’Google Scholar. For a similar example of a strong dry centre congregation see Binfield, C., ‘The building of a town centre church: St James's Congregational church, Newcastle upon Tyne’, Northern History, 18 (1982).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

39 Doyle, , ‘Congregational culture’, 331–2Google Scholar; Anon., 1910/1960: Fifty Years of Baptist Witness: The Story of Silver Road (Norwich, 1960).Google Scholar

40 Doyle, , ‘Congregational culture’, 326Google Scholar. Compare Savage, , ‘Two paradigms’, 74Google Scholar and n. 41.

41 Doyle, , ‘Middle class realignment’Google Scholar, ch. 3.

42 Membership figures for the main city centre chapels had returned to pre-war levels by 1929, though some of the working-class churches were experiencing decline: Doyle, , ‘Middle class realignment’, 44.Google Scholar

43 Doyle, , ‘Congregational culture’, 325–7 and 330Google Scholar; Palgrave-Moore, P., The Mayors and Lord Mayors of Harwich, 1836–1974 (Norwich, 1978).Google Scholar

44 Yeo, , Voluntary Organisations.Google Scholar

45 Mardle, J., R.J. Colman, 1861–1946 (Norwich, 1954).Google Scholar

46 Yeo, , Voluntary Organisations.Google Scholar

47 Kidd, A.J., ‘Charity organisation and the unemployed in Manchester, c. 1870–1914’, Social History, 9 (1984), 5960CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Laybourn, K., ‘The Guild of Help and the changing face of Edwardian philanthropy’, Urban History, 20 (1993), 4360CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Moore, M.J., ‘Social work and social welfare: the organization of philanthropic resources in Britain, 1900–14’, Journal of British Studies (1977), 85104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

48 Norwich District Visiting Society [hereafter NDVS], Annual Report, 1912 (Norwich, 1913).Google Scholar

49 Toynbee, H.V. and Kay, H.A., Norwich: Its Endowed and Voluntary Charities (Norwich, 1909).Google Scholar

50 Fifteenth and Final Report of the Norwich Charity Organisation Society, 1912–1914 (Norwich, 1914)Google Scholar. Norwich did not have a branch of the Guild of Help as implied by Moore, , ‘Social work’, 95Google Scholar and picked up by Laybourn, , ‘Guild of Help’, 49.Google Scholar

51 Hawkins, , Norwich, 160 and 165Google Scholar; NDVS, Annual Report, 1908 (Norwich, 1909)Google Scholar and 1909 (Norwich, 1910).

52 See collection of news cuttings relating to the flood, NRO/N/ED/11/18, 58–118.

53 Kent, P., ‘Norwich 1914–18’, in Gliddon, G. (ed.), Norfolk and Suffolk in the Great War (Norwich, 1988)Google Scholar; Colman, H.C., Sydney Cozens-Hardy: A Memoir (Norwich, 1944).Google Scholar

54 EDP, 12 03 1987Google Scholar. Jones's comments on Rotary and Round Table membership are clearly influenced by their profile post-Second World War and do not cast much light on their place in our period: Jones, , Borough Politics, 135–6.Google Scholar

55 EDP, 15 01 1920.Google Scholar

56 See the speech of the Mayor, Lord, Samuel, A.M., EDP, 5 03 1913Google Scholar. For similar criticisms of the multiples from Marchesi in the later 1920s, EDP, 2 March 1928.

57 Clarke, P.F., Lancashire and the New Liberalism (Cambridge, 1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Clarke, , ‘End of laissez faire’Google Scholar; Cook, , ‘Downfall of the Liberal party’Google Scholar; Searle, , ‘Liberal party and business’Google Scholar; Bernstein, G.L., ‘Liberalism and the Progressive Alliance in the constituencies 1900–1914: three case studies’, Historical Journal, 26 (1983), 617–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

58 Doyle, , ‘Middle class realignment’Google Scholar, chs 3 and 8.

59 Craig, F.W.S., British Parliamentary Election Results, 1885–1918 (London, 1974), 622–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Doyle, , ‘Middle class realignment’, 52–5.Google Scholar

60 EDP, 31 10 1901CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bernstein, , ‘Progressive alliance’, 623–4Google Scholar; Whitemore, F., ‘The Labour party, municipal politics and municipal elections in Norwich, 1903–1933’, Kent Papers in Politics and International Relations, ser. 1, 13 (Canterbury, 1992).Google Scholar

61 Cherry, , Doing Different?, 7782Google Scholar; EDP, 2 11 1910Google Scholar. For an intelligent reading of prewar pacts see Adams, T., ‘Labour and the First World War: economy, politics and the erosion of local peculiarities’, Journal of Regional and Local Studies, 10 (1990), 2347.Google Scholar

62 EDP, 2 11 1920.Google Scholar

63 Doyle, , ‘Middle class realignment’Google Scholar, ch. 3.

64 This was not a uniform response. Leeds saw the revival of a radical Liberal challenge from 1926, as did Nottingham, but in both Leicester and Wolverhampton pacts with the Tories were strengthened. Cook, , Age of AlignmentGoogle Scholar, ch. 3; Meadowcroft, , ‘Political transition’Google Scholar; Jones, , ‘Politics’, 99.Google Scholar

65 Doyle, , ‘Urban Liberalism’, 632–3.Google Scholar

66 For resistance to branch mergers in a middle-class ward, see Minutes of Norwich Conservative Association, June 1935, NRO/SO 122/4.

67 Mardle, , R.J. Colman.Google Scholar

68 Doyle, , ‘Middle class realignment’, 6585Google Scholar; EDP, 26 11 1920Google Scholar; Palgrave-Moore, , Mayors and Lord Mayors.Google Scholar

69 See Doyle, , ‘Urban liberalism’Google Scholar, for evidence of occupational, religious and educational backgrounds during this period, esp. Table 1, 624.

70 For the conflict between ‘modernizers’ and ‘economizers’ see Daunton, , Coal MetropolisGoogle Scholar; McCrone, & Elliott, , Property and PowerGoogle Scholar; Jones, L.J., ‘Public pursuit of private profit? Liberal businessmen and municipal politics in Birmingham, 1865–1900’, Business History, 25 (1983), 240–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Carr, , ‘Municipal socialism’, 175.Google Scholar

71 EDP, 31 10 1901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

72 See EDP coverage between 15 01 1920 and 2 02 1920.Google Scholar

73 EDP, 2 02 1920.Google Scholar

74 NRO/NTC51/15; EDP, 9 October 1926. There are three books of news cuttings relating to the activities of the Chamber of Commerce Rates subcommittee 1926–33, in the library of the Norwich Chamber of Commerce. I am grateful to the Chamber for providing copies of these books and to Sally Japp for her help.

75 EDP, 7 10 1926Google Scholar; Facts, 04 1927.Google Scholar

76 NRO/NTC 51/15.

77 Norwich Chamber of Commerce, Annual Report, 1927 (Norwich, 1928)Google Scholar; NRO/NTC51/15; EDP, 18 July 1928. For a contrary view which sees the Conservatives and Liberals wedded to the idea of economy see Cunningham, , ‘Unemployment in Norwich’, 127–8.Google Scholar

78 EDP, 6 01 1933.Google Scholar

79 Ibid., 7 January 1933.

80 Ibid. Braund denied that either the Chamber of Commerce or the Rates Reduction Campaign were involved directly in the opposition. EDP, 30 December 1932.

81 See copy of the leaflet in Chamber of Commerce News Cuttings, vol. 3 and comments by Braund, , Eastern Evening News, 9 01 1933.Google Scholar

82 For an anti-purchase letter signed by Ethel Colman, her brother-in-law, E.T. Boardman, her uncle, Sydney Cozens-Hardy and his business partner, Frank Jewson, see EDP, 10 01 1933.Google Scholar

83 Ibid., 11 January 1933.

84 Yeo, , Voluntary OrganisationsGoogle Scholar; Campbell, J., Lloyd George: The Goat in the Wilderness (London, 1977), 187201.Google Scholar

85 Carr, , ‘Municipal socialism’Google Scholar; Jones, , Borough PoliticsGoogle Scholar; McCrone, and Elliott, , Property and PowerGoogle Scholar, Jones, , ‘Polities’, 92102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

8
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The structure of elite power in the early twentieth-century city: Norwich, 1900–35
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The structure of elite power in the early twentieth-century city: Norwich, 1900–35
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The structure of elite power in the early twentieth-century city: Norwich, 1900–35
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *