Dear Meredith, That's a great point! My ancestors in Australia came out to South Australia around 1840 and most of them were Primitive Methodists. Now these Christian people were a breakaway group from the Methodist establishment and certainly were active in helping the British Farm workers form themselves into the early genesis of Trade Unions. As you know they were shockingly exploited by most of the landowners and the Primitive Methodists allowed them to meet and organise in their churches. A lot of the time the Church supplied the Leaders for the Movement!
One thing you should look up on Wikipedia is the Burston School Strike from 1914 to 1939. It is a wonderful story and worth following up! I believe the BBC made a telemovie about it in the 70's or 80's. Sorry for the Rant! Cheers Rod
Dear Pete and Meridith, Yes! It is useful, and contributes wonderfully to the mystery of the Printing Trade particularly in years gone by. I did my apprenticeship in hot metal and graduated to being an Intertype operator setting Hansard for the South Australian government in the 1970's and 1980's, before being elected as a Union Organiser in 1983.
One of my pet loves in the printing industry is the "wayzgoose" (Printer's picnic or Dinner). Anyway, a day out for the printers. Definitely a tradition we inherited from the United Kingdom and observed up until the 1950's in Australia, before some well meaning egghead starting calling it a Printer's Picnic.
I once came across a request from the Father of the Government Printing Office chapel asking the boss if the printers could have Saturday morning off (44 Hour Week) to go to the Wayzgoose. The Boss had written in red ink across the request "DENIED". This was around 1908. The bastards never change! regards Rod
chapel means local. father of chapel means president of the local
I have come to this thread a little late. However, my understanding of the term Chapel in the print came about due to the Combination Acts of 1802 which prevented gatherings of 3 or more. Otherwise the same outcome for TU activists would be as for that visited upon Tom Paine who was accused, wrongly, of seditious libel and had to move to France. So rather than just give up with meetings the workers had their Trades Union meetings in a Chapel (good cover, "I'm pursuing my religious beliefs" !!) and so as not to leave leaders exposed called them, rather than Shop Steward or other title, "Father of the Chapel". Of course when the Combination Acts were repealed in 1824 or (6) ? then by that time the name had stuck and voila Father of the Chapel was a Shop Steward or Branch Secretary, Group Conveneor or whatever other title TU's use for their organisation.
This explanation was given to me when I asked a Father of the Chapel friend why such a name. Does this appear as a plausible explanation? It certainly would show how inventive active minds were in circumventing laws drawn from a system at that time which was certainly not democratic but more oligargic in composition.