Much of the nineteenth-century British labour movement was characterised by impressive membership emblems.
The lapel badge emerged towards the end of the century and signalled a further outward expression of self-worth, affording the trade union member a personal symbol of a collective identity. This study of the history of the trade union badge provides an insight into the use and importance of visual symbolism in everyday life.
It asserts the validity of such popular material culture as a lens through which to study underlying issues of identity and belonging, which are key themes in collecting.
Whilst centred on the British trade union movement, the book draws substantially on Ireland, Australia and the USA for comparison, and to set the badge's importance in an international perspective.