The earliest documented reference to a journeymen’s society in Dublin however, with a John Strong as secretary, was in 1792.4 This was followed in July of the following year by a claim for an advance in wages, evidently from the same organisation.5 From 1834 there was in continuous existence in that city at least one bakers’ friendly society. By the middle of the nineteenth century there were at least five of an expressly trade union nature, the largest of which was the Bridge Street Bakers Society. This seems gradually to have absorbed the others at Wood Quay, Little Britain Street, Werburg Street and New Row, leading to a Bakers Federal Union which included some small organisations in provincial centres, ultimately producing an Irish Bakers National Amalgamated Union. The path was hardly smooth. In 1904 the Bridge Street Bakers were successfully assailed by the employers, an assault which is said to have resulted in the establishment of a rival organisation, the Irish National Bakers and Confectioner Union. That organisation seems to have existed since 1901 and may well have profited from the 1904 disaster. So, for a

Irish National to take over the leadership of the National Union and to change its name in 1920 to the National Amalgamated Bakers and Confectioners Union of Ireland. This later became the Bakers and Food Workers Amalgamated Union. In Scotland, the earliest recorded society of journeymen bakers dates from 1765. Whether this society had trade functions is not clear. It seems eventually to have turned itself into a company. Paisley had a similar society in 1777, Edinburgh and Leith between 1789 and 1883 and the junior bakers of Edinburgh from 1789. Small local societies were evidently numerous by the 1830s, for there is evidence that in 1834 these formed a federation and brought the Glasgow journeymen out on strike.6 In 1846 the Scottish bakers, led by Edinburgh and Glasgow, formed an Operative Bakers National Association of Scotland which secured the abolition of night work, the introduction of a ten-hour day and the abolition of the bread and board system.7 In 1867 the Association outlined with some pride, its achievements to the Royal Commission on Trade Unions.8 Subsequently these benefits seems to have been lost following an unsuccessful conflict with the employers in 1877 and the organisation substantially collapsed.9 It was not until the formation of an Operative Bakers National Federal Union of Scotland in 1888 that the Scottish bakers could claim that they had ‘lifted themselves out of the Mire’. The 1888 organisation proved to be a durable one. With several changes of name it endured until, as the Scottish Union of Bakers and Allied Workers, it merged with the Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers in 1978. In England, the earliest surviving records of friendly societies among bakers relate to the years 1810, 1811 and 1812 in Liverpool, Chatham and London. As elsewhere in the British Isles the trade lent itself, until the widespread development of mechanical methods in the 1880s, to small scale operation, to living in, night-work and, following the end of the Assize of Bread, to the problems arising from intense competition, especially in the growing urban areas. In London the ‘undersellers’, those producers who made a practice of undercutting the price set by the Worshipful Company of Bakers, grew rapidly in numbers until it was reckoned that by 1862 three-quarters of the bakers of the metropolis fell into this category.10 The development of substantial organisations of journeymen was difficult in circumstances which encouraged fragmentation into small units supplying immediate localities. Local trade clubs persisted, it has been claimed, until the 1880s.11 There were two early exceptions. In 1849 a Manchester Friendly Association of Operative Bakers became the first English organisation to cover a wider area, expanding to Salford in 1854 and remaining in existence for more than 60 years, though with a membership of under 200. A decade later, in 1859, a London Reform Association of Operative Bakers was established, though with a limited

Bakehouse Regulations Act of 1863. With the achievement of this major reform the membership evidently felt that the Association was no longer required and it went out of existence in 1866.12 The Act prohibited youths under 18 from working in bakehouses between 9 pm and 5 am and made some provision, however inadequate, for bakehouse inspection. The Act was repealed by the Factory Act 1878 which sought to control the sanitary conditions of bakehouses and a further Factory and Workshop Act put some under the surveillance of local authorities and others under that of factory inspectors. Regulation of adult male labour in the industry was not achieved until 1954. McKay attributes the 1863 Act to the inspiration and leadership of the better organised Scottish bakers and also to the formation of the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers which took part in the reform campaign of 1861.13 The Amalgamated Union claimed its origin from the Manchester Friendly Association of 1849 and was made up of local societies in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington, Cheltenham, Bristol, Newcastle, Wigan and Hanley. However this may be, the impetus to develop the Amalgamated into a national union certainly came from Lancashire which was overwhelmingly represented in all conferences until 1883 and which provided virtually all its early officials including Thomas Hodson, general secretary from 1864 to 1883 and John Jenkins, who occupied that office from 1883 to 1915. During the 1880s the Amalgamated moved slowly but steadily towards the status of a federation of semi-autonomous districts containing 130 branches with a membership of some 6,500 in 1910. If the Amalgamated Union had no serious rival in England, it failed to absorb a South Wales Federation of Journeymen Bakers until 1893 and a Lancashire Federation of Bakers (1892) continued to function until 1930, though little is known about its activities. There was a small International Bakers Union which ceased to operate in 1901 and a London-based National Union of Operative Bakers and Confectioners (1893) which appeared to operate independently for 20 years but left little in the way of records. A very small organisation for women workers, the Women Confectioners Society, appeared in Manchester in 1905 but apparently went out of existence during the First World War. In 1913 there was a dispute between the AUOB and its London organiser over the admission of unskilled workers to membership. He resigned and formed his own organisation, the National Union of Bakery Trade Workers. The breakaway was short-lived for in 1914 the AUOB agreed to admit the unskilled into membership and the NUBW ceased to exist. Finally, there was the London Jewish Bakers Union which came into conflict with the Operative Bakers on more than one issue but survived as a separate operational organisation for six decades or more until 1966 and was formally and finally dissolved in 1970. In 1964 the national

(2002) with a membership of about 28,500. Notes 1. R. Campbell, The London Tradesman, T. Gardner, London 1747,

pp.275-76. 2. Anne, c.18, Preamble. 3. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, ‘The Assize of Bread’, Economic Journal,

Vol. XIV, June 1904, pp.196-218. 4. Faulkner’s Journal, 18 December 1792. 5. Dublin Chronicle, 18 July 1793. 6. Evening Post, 1 February 1834 and 15 February 1834. 7. Ian McKay, Trade Unionism in the Baking Industry in Great Britain

and Ireland, 1857-1874, 1976, p.62. The organisation seems also to have been known as the Journeymen Bakers Association of Scotland; see National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, Trade Societies and Strikes, 1860, pp.295-96.