chapter  6
33 Pages

Men of Iron

In districts where the industry was well established, relationships between master and workmen were, on the whole, good. The Darbys of Coalbrookdale and the Crowleys of Newcastle regarded their workmen and their families with a paternal eye. They provided a doctor, a school and insurance against sickness and old age towards which a small sum was deducted from the workmen’s wages. Efforts were made to keep the men employed during slack periods. At Coalbrookdale, wagons running on wooden rails were used for transport. During a spell of bad trade, iron rails were made and substituted; the wooden ones were kept so that, if there were a sudden demand for iron, they could be laid down again and the iron refashioned for sale.