chapter  3
10 Pages

The Legacy of Mining Mark Benney

No description of West Durham can be complete which ignores the unemployment experience of the area, for it was unemployment that so strongly influenced the course of West Durham's industrial history during the 1930s. Throughout the pre-war decade there was serious unemployment in West Durham, and this inevitably caused unrest and a movement out of the area. The effects of the unemployment are still obvious today in the poor condition and appearance of the area and lack of what may be called social capital. In July 1929 there were 14,090 persons unemployed in West Durham, 14.7 per cent of the insured population. By July 1932 the number of unemployed had risen to 44,699, 45.8 per cent of West Durham's insured population. Even when the Depression had passed there were still 17,605 persons unemployed in July 1937 and it was not until the war and the subsequent boom period that West Durham ceased to have an unemployment problem.