In the pit villages of County Durham, the WVS became a site of open class struggle as Labour women used it to challenge the paternalistic hold traditionally exercised by middle-class social leaders over the associational life of the miners' wives. This chapter provides a detailed account of one such conflict, centred on the mining district of Easington, where the WVS was for a time formally disowned by the national leadership after being captured by Labour activists from the middle-class (and mainly Conservative) women whose voluntary work among the miners' wives had previously provided a social counterweight to the political dominance of Labour and the miners' union in the county.
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