To many people 1926 is synonymous with the General Strike. In that year
there were some 5 million trade-union members in Britain out of a wage-earning
population of 15 millions, for the first time a direct confrontation
arose between the Trades Union Congress and the Conservative government
under Stanley Baldwin.
The general strike started off with a miners’ strike against less
pay for longer hours. The mine owners would not climb down, and the
TUC sanctioned a general strike throughout the country. Rail, transport,
building, printing, iron and steel production all ground to a halt.
The press closed down, and both the Government and TUC published their
own newspapers. The government was determined not to give in. Baldwin
called in troops and armed special constables. Hundreds of strikers
arrested. After nine days a peace was negotiated, but it was bitterly
resisted by the miners who remained on strike for the whole Summer,
until economic conditions forced them to submit.
On May 15th 1926, the ILN published a special ‘Emergency
(Appendix List No. 90).
It covers the strike from its start on May 4th to its end on May 12th.
It emphasises “the spirit of England at work” amongst the
volunteers who “carried on” throughout the trouble and lays
great stress on the military force which was displayed but not used,
although the mention of “hooligan incidents” did hint that
all was not as snooth running as the Government announcements made out.
This truncated issue illustrates incidents and personalities during
and after the end of the strike and praises the London press for producing
strike emergency issues throughout its duration.
The cover, in blue, shows a photo etching of the Prime Minister, Stanley
Baldwin. This is issue number 4543, vol. 168, pages 853-868, measuring
37 x 27 cm and priced at one shilling.
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