The thesis is titled 'Memory, conflict and class: the experience and legacy of deindustrialisation in Belfast and North East England since 1970'. Economic restructuring heralded major social transformation in these localities. Communities bound by ties to a single employer found themselves adrift and struggling to comprehend the post-industrial world. The thesis adopts a comparative approach to examine the consequences of ‘aggressive’ and ‘socially sensitive’ deindustrialisation. The National Coal Board and Harland & Wolff were selected because of their nationalised status, similar deindustrialisation time-scale and cultural symbolism in their respective regions. Unlike the Coal Board, decimated in the wake of strike action in 1984/5, the British Government supported a managed decline of Harland & Wolff fearing unemployed workers flooding the city’s saturated labour market during the Troubles. Two different heavy industries (shipbuilding and coal mining) have been chosen to expose the nuances in late twentieth-century industrial culture and social memory - how workers and local communities remember industrial decline, interact with deindustrial landscapes and perceive official 'heritagisation' narratives and regeneration initiatives.
British and Irish social history. Oral history methodology. Deindustrialisation.