chapter  1
A brief history of work and its relationship to leisure
ByA. J. VEAL
Pages 19

In the 1975 volume Work and Leisure (Haworth and Smith 1975), history was virtually ignored; the early 1970s was a period of economic and demographic growth and leisure researchers in Britain were more concerned with planning for the future rather than mulling over the past. History was neglected despite the existence of a considerable body of literature on the historical aspects of the work-leisure relationship, including Thorsten Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) and Johann Huizinga’s Homo Ludens (1950) which discuss the emergence of leisure and play in prehistory, Sebastian De Grazia’s Of Time, Work and Leisure (1964) which begins with classical Greek ideas about leisure, and Stella Margetson’s (1968) Leisure and Pleasure in the Nineteenth Century. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, however, a veritable cornucopia of historical research on work and leisure was published, including, for example, that by Helen Meller (1976), Peter Bailey (1978), James Walvin (1978), Gary Cross (1990), Hugh Cunningham (1980) and Roy Rosenzweig (1983). Essentially these histories concentrated on the nineteenth century and the overall theme was the struggle between the masses and burgeoning capital over the control of work and leisure time during the process of industrialisation and urbanisation. Thus students of leisure came to see contemporary forms of leisure and work as a product of industrialisation, with only a hazy impression being gained of work and leisure in non-industrial societies.