Alex Ombler’s handbook is the first practical guide for family historians who wish to find out about family members who worked in British docks. In a series of concise, informative chapters he takes readers through the history of British ports and identifies research methods and materials – both local and national – through which they can discover the lives and experiences of the people who worked in them.
Many of us have ancestors who were dock labourers – in 1921 there were around 125,000 dockers across a large number of British ports – and the organizational history of the dock labour force is extremely complex. As a result, the social and family lives of dockers and their communities can be difficult to research, and that is why this book is so useful.
The history of the docks is covered as is the daily life of the dockers, and sections trace the development of trade unions, the experience of dock workers during the world wars and the decline of the docks in recent times. Dockland artefacts and communities are described, and there is a comprehensive directory of regional and national records.