Studies in Welsh History Series
Nonconformity, Labour and the Social Question in Wales, 1906-1939
pp xiii269 1997 hardback
'The books strength is its detailed treatment
of the intellectual, individual and organisational responses by Nonconformity to the social question in Wales'. (Labour History Review)
' . . . this is a book which will command respect and attention from all working in the field.' <i(Congregational History Circle)
This handsomely produced volume . . . will be welcomed by students of Welsh nonconformity and Labour history alike. (Books in Wales)
. . . well researched . . . (Choice)
His work is original, well-informed, and a valuable addition to our knowledge of modern Wales. (Expository Times)
`As a full published study of Labour and nonconformity, the book is unique in regard not only to Wales but to Britain. Important courses in both Welsh and English, including oral history records, have been effectively utilised in order to produce a highly stimulating account . . . Dr Popes study arouses some questioning as well as admiration. But his crowded and colourful tapestry of nonconformity and Labour in Wales is generally a fascinating depiction of a unique, if tense and ambiguous, relationship.' (Welsh History Review)
Labours inroads into the Liberal hegemony by 1914 and the complete rout of Liberalism in urban Wales by 1922 are, therefore, of great significance in understanding
changes in political culture . . . This book seeks to explore the response of Nonconformity to the rise of labour between 1906 and 1939 . . . This is a useful introduction to religious debates about social issues and provides a sure-footed guide to broad theological trends . . . (Social History Bulletin)
As a full published study of Labour and non-conformity, the book is unique in regard not only to Wales but to Britain. Important sources in both Welsh and English, including oral history records, have been effectively utilized in order to produce a highly stimulating account . . . his crowded and colourful tapestry of nonconformity and Labour in Wales is generally a fascinating depiction of a unique, if tense and ambiguous, relationship. (Welsh History Review)
Much of the social and industrial history written over the past twenty years has presented the working-class culture of early twentieth-century Wales in terms of a thirst for knowledge that was secular, economic and political. The emphasis has been on the overwhelming influence of the union lodge and the workingmen's institute, and the high priority given to sport and the public house. Relatively little attention has been given to religion, and this despite the fact that the 1904-5 revival brought many thousands into contact with the chapel. This study looks at the relationship between the labour movement and the Nonconformist chapels, and assesses whether the evidence does in fact support claims of a massive exodus from the chapels into the labour movement, with the latter taking the lead in addressing the social and personal needs of the working class. The author argues that the role of the chapel has been underestimated and that it retained a significant hold on community life during the early part of the twentieth century.
The Author: Robert Pope is a native of Swansea. He was an undergraduate at the School of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales, Bangor, from 1988 to 1991, and a postgraduate there until 1995 when he was awarded a doctorate for the research which has led to the publication of this book. He is a lecturer in Contemporary and Applied Theology in the School of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales, Bangor.