Introduction Martin Bulmer
The extraordinary history of the county of Durham - and of the industrial areas which fringe it - has produced a society which is, in many ways, unique in Britain. One of its most unusual features has been the development of a class of city and town bosses, some of whom pursue and exercise power with a frankness which would cause considerable shock in other parts of the country. The seat of Labour power is the magnificent new County Hall in Durham City, a palace of which any of the Prince Bishops might have been proud. Some of the most intelligent clergymen at present in the area take a similar view of the effects of the Labour Party's unshakable power. But, despite Labour's accession to power, conditions in the North-East between the wars merely confirmed the traditions of tough political leadership in the industrial areas of the region.