“Defence or Defiance- a people’s history of Derbyshire” is at once a complete book of all things to do with the working class and progressive movement, in the whole of Derbyshire from the earliest times to 1970, as well as a snap-shot of the leading personalities and events in those times.
Above all, the book seeks to keep the ordinary reader up to speed by locating Derbyshire’s events against the national picture. From Derby’s herculean struggle against textiIe masters in 1833-4, or the `millocracy’ as Marx dubbed them, to the county’s magnificent solidarity with the miners in the General Strike of 1926. From the modern era back to the earliest days … it’s all there.
Sourced from original documents, newspapers, dusty minute books, oral reminiscences and hundreds of secondary texts, Graham Stevenson’s account will be inspiring to all trades unionists and a reservoir of rich information for academics and students of labour history.
The book was researched when Graham Stevenson was a local full time official for the Transport & General Workers Union in the Derby area in the early 1980s and was completed during a sabbatical at Coleg Harlech, won as part of an educational grant for full-time officials awarded by the union’s General Executive Council in 1982.
Later in the 1980s, it was revised and finalised for hoped-for publication, backed by the then General Secretary, Ron Todd. But extensive cutbacks in the T&G at the time would later prevent this and new priorities intervened.
Since publication only became possible with the arrival of his own website in 2004, almost a quarter of a century after the first research, Graham says that “Defence or Defiance” has been, “like a labour of love”!