The town of Ladysmith was one of the most important coal-mining communities on Vancouver Island during the early twentieth century. The Ladysmith miners had a reputation for radicalism and militancy and engaged in bitter struggles for union recognition and economic justice, most notably the Great Strike of 1912-14. This strike, one of the longest and most violent labour disputes in Canadian history, marked a watershed in the history of the town and the coal industry.
This book explains the origins of the 1912-14 strike by examining the development of the coal industry on Vancouver Island, the founding of Ladysmith, the experience of work and safety in the mines, the process of political and economic mobilization, and how these factors contributed to the development of identity and community. While the Vancouver Island coal industry and the strike have been the focus of a number of popular histories, this book goes beyond to emphasize the importance of class, ethnicity, gender, and community in creating the conditions for the emergence and mobilization of the working-class population. Informed by current academic debates on the matter and within the discipline, this readable history takes into account extensive archival research, and will appeal to historians and others interested in the history of Vancouver Island.
John R. Hinde has taught at the University of Victoria and Malaspina University College. His first book, Jacob Burckhardt and the Crisis of Modernity (2000), was awarded the 2001 Wallace K. Ferguson Prize by the Canadian Historical Association.
Illustrations Introduction 1 A Selfish Millionaire 2 A Town of Merry Hearts 3 Down in the Dark and Gloomy Dungeons 4 Death's Cold Hand 5 From Pillar to Post 6 The Great Strike 7 No Ordinary Riot Conclusion Notes; Bibliography; Index