Corporate Management, Labour Relations, and Community Building at the East India Company’s Blackwall Dockyard, 1600-1657

Pettigrew, William and Smith, Edmond (2019) Corporate Management, Labour Relations, and Community Building at the East India Company’s Blackwall Dockyard, 1600-1657. Journal of Social History, 53 (1). 133–156. ISSN 0022-4529

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Abstract

This essay offers a social history of the labor relations established by the English East India Company at its Blackwall Dockyard in East London from 1615–45. It uses all of the relevant evidence from the company’s minute books and printed bylaws and from petitions to the company to assemble a full account of the relationships formed between skilled and unskilled workers, managers, and company officials. Challenging other historians’ depictions of early modern dockyards as sites for class confrontation, this essay offers a more agile account of the hierarchies within the yard to suggest how and why the workforce used its considerable power to challenge management and when and why it was successful in doing so. Overall, the essay suggests that the East India Company developed and prioritized a broader social constituency around the dockyard over particular labor lobbies to preempt accusations that it abdicated its social responsibilities. In this way, the company reconciled the competing interests of profit (as a joint stock company with investors) and social responsibility by, to some extent, assuming the social role of its progenitor organizations—the livery company and the borough corporation.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Social History
Additional Information:
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Social History following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version William A Pettigrew, Edmond Smith, Corporate Management, Labor Relations, and Community Building at the East India Company’s Blackwall Dockyard, 1600–57, Journal of Social History, Volume 53, Issue 1, Fall 2019, Pages 133–156 is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/jsh/article/53/1/133/5122877
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3312
Subjects:
ID Code:
135462
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
12 Aug 2019 08:30
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
16 Jun 2020 13:00