Much of the nineteenth-century British labour movement was characterised by impressive membership emblems. The lapel badge emerged towards the end of the century and signalled a further outward expression of self-worth, affording the trade union member a personal symbol of a collective identity. This study of the history of the trade union badge provides an insight into the use and importance of visual symbolism in everyday life. It asserts the validity of such popular material culture as a lens through which to study underlying issues of identity and belonging, which are key themes in collecting. Whilst centred on the British trade union movement, the book draws substantially on Ireland, Australia and the USA for comparison, and to set the badge's importance in an international perspective.
'… moves us forward… The book intends to remind labour historians that the iconography and underlying sociological significance of the union badge should not be overlooked. I think it succeeds and recommend it accordingly.' Trade Union Badge Collectors News
Contents: Foreword; General preface to the series; Preface; Introduction: Here we go, Here we go, Here we go; How we got here; Chapter 1: Of emblems, banners and badges: the triple alliance; Chapter 2: The lapel emblazoned: the origins and development of the trade union badge; Chapter 3: To fight, to struggle, to right the wrong: the badge and the struggle for union recognition; Chapter 4: An epoch of minority symbolism? The pervasion of the badge and the contraction of the union; Chapter 5: The manufacturers; Chapter 6: Collect and display: post function; Chapter 7: This is what I am; Appendix 1: Selected replies to the Labour Research survey; Appendix 2: The badge and medallion in song and rhyme; Appendix 3: Kokuro / ITF survey questionnaire; Appendix 4: The history of Thomas Fattorini Ltd.; Appendix 5: Explanations of two badge designs; Bibliography; Index.