In defence of white freedom: Working men’s clubs and the politics of sociability in late industrial England

Camilla Schofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


While ongoing discrimination in jobs, welfare, and housing in 1970s England belied the social democratic promise of 'equality of opportunity' and the much-touted British value of 'fair play', racism at the door of the working men's club told a different story. For reactionaries and liberals alike, it spoke to the uncertain future of working-class politics in late industrial England. This article shows how the legal and political controversies surrounding whites-only working men's clubs contribute to our understanding of the 'white working class' as a political subject in British public life. Even more, it reveals how - among club members - whiteness came to be invested with feelings of intimacy, kinship, respectability, and independence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515–551
Number of pages37
JournalTwentieth Century British History
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023


  • white working class
  • race
  • Deindustrialisation
  • Discrimination
  • British Politics
  • trade unions
  • Decolonising Europe

    Camilla Schofield (Organiser)

    19 Oct 201815 Feb 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Cite this