After Tressell's death in 1911, his daughter Kathleen sold the manuscript to the publisher Grant Richards, who published a heavily edited edition in 1914. After many reprints, a full text edition was finally published in 1955 by Lawrence and Wishart.
The original manuscript passed through several hands before being acquired by Tressell's biographer, Fred Ball, in 1946. His description of the condition of the manuscript and of how it was edited for the first edition, and then restored by himself for publication of the full edition is told in a short history which was added to the manuscript in 1958. In the same year, the manuscript was purchased by the National Federation of Building Trade Operatives, and presented to the Trades Union Congress the following year.
The book has been in the care of the TUC ever since and is now stored in the TUC Library Collections at London Metropolitan University and attracts visitors from all over the world. In 1992, the TUC was given grant aid from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust to assist with conservation work and microfiliming of the manuscript. Now, with a grant from the New Opportunities Fund, the Library is able to present the manuscript online for the first time.
On many pages there are flaps of paper covering some of the manuscript. These were attempts made by Fred and Jacquie Ball in the 1950s to restore the manuscript to how Tressell intended. Where these editorial restorations were made we have provided two digital images of the page: one showing the uncovered page, the other smaller, thumbnail image shows the restorations and additions (in red ink).
The text accompanying the manuscript is taken from the Project Gutenberg website and does not correspond to any specific published edition. You will therefore find that in some instances the text does not exactly match the manuscript. Time and a finite budget has prevented the project team from producing a perfect page by page transcription of the manuscript and so we have used the closest approximation we could find. We hope this will not spoil your enjoyment of the manuscript and the text will enable those viewers using screen readers to follow the book if they wish.Back to top