This blog has been created as a platform to host my Masters Dissertation entitled ‘Identities Under Threat’: An Oral History of British industry in decline (1958-). This work focuses on three towns whose identities were created and reinforced by the industries that the towns became synonymous with. The thesis, therefore, poses the question: what happened to the identities of the townsfolk when the industries were lost?
The three towns, around which the study is built, are Grimsby, Consett, and Barrow-in-Furness. Nevertheless the study is focusing on declines that took place at different periods. Hence, this study concentrates upon on the effect of the Cod Wars (1958-1976), a conflict that saw Iceland extend its fishing boundaries from three to 200 miles, and the decline in the Grimsby fishing industry; the closure of the Consett Steelworks (1981), whereby a town, established for steel making, saw first the closure of the Hownsgate plate mill, costing over fifteen-hundred jobs in late 1979, seen by workers as a sacrifice that would save the company, then total closure nine months later; and, the slow rot that sunk shipbuilding in Barrow-in-Furness (1991-1995), following the failure to support shipbuilding or renew military contracts after the end of the Cold War.
Read it here: