It is impossible to talk about a British labour market model or to summarise neatly some general tendency in the labour market. Like Topsy labour markets and industrial relation systems just grew under the shaping influence of product and labour structures and organisation; techniques of production and methods of working; the enactment, interpretation and enforcement of labour law and how these and other factors interacted and changed. The three industries chosen here —iron and steel, shipbuilding and the docks-show how factors specific to particular sectors resulted in wide differences in institutional and organisational developments.