Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Whoopi Goldberg: Speaking up for Working Families

Whoopi Goldberg:

Supporters the New York Working Families Party

Friday, October 24, 2014

"HMS Black Prince" - The Thames Dreadnought

The first modern Dreadnought built on the Thames was in 1903

It gave its name to the Greenwich "Dreadnought seaman's" Hospital and Sylvia Pankhurst chose it as the name of her journal for the East London Federation

One trade unionist involved in the construction of the first Thames Dreadnought was Ernest "Ernie" W Cant, he recalled the  successful campaign to stop wages being cut at  the Thames Iron Works, in 1905, after the workers had completed the first "Dreadnought" battle ship  "The Black Prince" (started in 1903 and completed late 1904) at Blackwall the other yard was at Canning Town. After its completion the Admiralty demanded that if the yards were to get more work, the workers pay had to be cut to that of those on the Tyneside shipbuilders. The campaign against wage cuts was led by Will Thorne and Jack Jones (SDF MP for Silvertown). 

The Black Prince was launched on 8 November 1904 and sunk during the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 with the loss of her entire crew of  857.

The Thames Iron Works shipyard closed in 1911, but the works football team lived on however, when its players formed the basis for the new West Ham United team

The Thames Shipyards in 1902 and then 1910

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Franc Tireurs et Partisans (FTP) - À chacun son boche

À chacun son boche

Franc Tireurs et Partisans
"The vanguard of the Fighting French on the soil of the Fatherland"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

British Socialist Party 1914 Labour Affiliation

British Socialist Party 3rd Annual Conference
London -  13th April 1914

Chairman J. Stokes, London Trades Council

Mr Henry M. Hyndman was quoted as stating he

"now regretted that the Social Demomractic Federation, which had merged into the British Socialist Party had left the Labour Party years ago.

Their doing so had abandoned that party to the partisans of compromise and intrigue with the Liberals.

If the British Socialist Party now went into closer touch with the organised working class of this country, and thereby greatly increase its influence over them, they would go with the red flag flying"

Resolution on basic BSP principles
Moved by Henry Hyndman
Seconded Len Quelch

1) That a national system of free transport by rail and motor road should be set on foot forthwith

2) That the right of the nation to reclaim possession of its own land should be declared and acted upon

3) The cooperative production of land and in factories under the control  of the community and local council be commenced at an early date, beginning with the organisation of unemployed labour the goods so produced being commonly distributed among the producers and thrown upon the competitive market for commodities

4) the destruction of the slums in our great cities be commenced immediately, the families of children to be displaced being provided with healthy homes in the country and taught agriculture in addition to their ordinary trades

The venue for the 1915 conference was put the the vote on a choice between Southampton, Cardiff, and Leeds - Leeds was successful.

Those in attendance included 
John Maclean (Pollokshaw), Dan Irving,  Lees (Lancashire) Peter Petroff (Kentish Town)

 Source Glasgow Herald  14 April 1914

1914 London Building Workers Lock-Out

Early in 1914 London was gripped by a Lock-out of 30,000 Building workers, They were locked out by their employers federation "The Grand Master Builders Federation" because of a series of strikes for better pay the workers had undertaken in 1912-13 and the workers growing refusal to work with non union workers.

A large crowd of building labourers carrying a banner of the Builders & General Labourers Union attended the laying of the foundation stone of St Mark Church, Bathurst Gardens, Kensal Rise, Harlesden by Lady Hilda Mosley on Saturday afternoon. 

Lady Mosley was booed and hooted by the building workers and the crowd sang the "Red Flag"

The dispute building workers remained solid and the dispute was not settled at the outbreak of the War in August 1914

Glasgow Herald 27 April 1914

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Surrey County Council 1946 - Labour

James Chuter Ede was born in Epsom in 1882 he went on to be a teacher and active in the Nutional Union of Teachers. As a Liberal he was elected to Epsom Urban District Council in 1914 and appointed to Surrey County Council. 

His experiences during the Great War turned him towards socialism and he stood as Labour candidate for Epsom in 1918. He was elected as Labour MP for Mitcham in a by-election in Mitcham in March 1923 but lost the seat at the General election. He later became MP for South shields and a Labour Cabinet Minister.

His wife Lillian Williams was born in Plymouth and was a Surrey County Council Councillor 1928-1937

James Chuter Ede is probably therefore one of the first Labour candidates in Surrey and certainly the first Labour MP elected in Surrey.

Click to enlarge pictures

Hillingdon Labour Herald 1977

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Workers Travel Association

The Workers Travel association was established in 1921 by Trade unions and the Co-operative Movement to offer organised, affordable overseas travel to working class people


Arthur Creech Jones
(15 May 1891 – 23 October 1964)

Jones helped establish the WTA, In 1913, Jones helped to found the Camberwell Trades and Labour Council, and later became honorary Secretary of the Dulwich branch of the Independent Labour Party. Jones was involved with the ILP London wide after the outbreak of war; he had become a pacifist and organised anti- conscription meetings when conscription was introduced in 1916.

Heathrow Air Traffic Control

Chris Rogers CPSA rep at Air Traffic Control (Heathrow) and Mark Serwotka CPSA (now PCS) and GMB General Secretary John Edmonds

Miners Strike - Hayes Middx - Kent NUM

Les Sweeting was the key Kent NUM liason person for picketing aWest Drayton coal yard

Heart of the matter - Kent Miners TV programme

Labour Women's Section Banner - Spennymoor and Gillingham

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Hillingdon Ambulance Station - Lock-Out 1989-90

Daily Herald Brass Band Championship 1946


Fairey Aviation Brass Band
(winners 1945)
Barrow & Rastrick Band
Hanwell Silver Band
Munn & Felton's Works Band
North Seaton Workmen's Prize Band
Parc & Dare Workmen's band
Parkhead Forge Silver Band

Daily Herald Area Championship Bands 1946

Dr Malcolm Sargent


Eileen Joyce
Gwen Catley
Harry Mortimer

Grand Festival Concert
Royal Albert hall 19th October 1946

Announcer Frank Phillips

From the Programme

"Brass bands today are a living force, and their cultural value is of the utmost importance. They render a priceless service to the community from which they spring and which they serve. long may they flourish to bring delight and inspiration to the people of Britain "

Daily Herald Winners 1946

1 Brighouse & Rastrick
2 Fairey Aviation
3 Munn & Felton's
4 Hanwell

Friday, February 21, 2014

Labour Party Housing Leaflet 1923

Labour Party Housing leaflet 1923


will provide


There is a shortage of 800,000 houses

The Tories will not and cannot give you the houses you need because they rely on "private enterprise"
which means that if you want a house now you must pay extortionate rents.

Labour aims at providing everybody with good houses at a reasonable rents.

Labour stands for the Abolition of all slums; for town planning; for labour saving houses for the housewife; for healthy, open air surroundings; for reasonable rents

Labour stands four square against Tory policy pf "Hutches for heroes", against unhealthy streets and towns; against profiteering in rents

Why does the Tory Government shirk that duty ?

Because it is in the power of the landlords and their friends - people who want to line their own pockets at the expense of the workers

Bradford "Locarno" Dance Hall - Colour Bar 1961 -1962

Daily Worker Report

Bradford's colour bar ballroom, the mecca owned Locarno, will be the scene of a mass protest picket on Saturday night ( 11th November 1961) by young trade unionists and students.

Protests by local clergymen and councillors have failed to get the management to withdraw its ban on coloured men not accompanied by a partner from entering the dance hall.

Mr Alan Boyce, the ballroom manager has confirmed that the ruling applied only to coloured people and power to drop it was at his discretion.

Boyce also stated that he was only concerned with "protecting our womenfolk"

Leeds University students representating Labour, communist, liberal, baptist Methodist and African societies are supporting the picket, which starts at 7:30pm. Leeds participants are urged to catch the 6.36 pm Bradford train from Central station

12th November 500 strong picket by students, trade unionists, Labour party, socialists and Young Communists of the Locarno with posters stating "Beat racialism now" and "Outlaw the colour bar"

According to the Daily Worker the local Pakistani community joined the picket to express support. Mr M. Hussain a clerk in a textile mill said "unless the colour bar is stopped here it will spread"

Daily worker 8 November 1961

The Musicians Union stated 17th November 1961 that the policy of Mecca owned Locarno was "one of which Dr Verwoerd (South Africa apartheid President) and the late Adolf Hitler would be proud"

Bradford Trades Council Secretary Councillor Jim Backhouse stated " We are calling upon the ballroom management to treat all its clients alike"

In reply to the local Students Union Mr C. L. Heimann of Mecca stated "nature has made us different"

Students voted 230 - 4 to reaffirm their opposition to racial discrimination and condemning the Mecca colour bar

Bradford and Leeds Students (Leeds University Anti Racialist Committee) were at the forefront of the campaign against the Colour bar.

A planned student march in Bradford against the Colour bar was banned by the Police Chief Constable as was demonstrations close to the Locarno. The Police also issued an order restricting city centre processions to 20 people. Students were threatened by the police with £50 fines or three months in prison if their was a breach in the order by Police Supt P E Keep.

Keith Jones Press Secretary of Students Anti Racialist Committee " This is a complete infringement of our democratic right to demonstrate against the evils of the colour bar"

The first meeting of West Riding Co-ordinating Committee against racial discrimination was held on 22nd November 1961 at 40 St Paul's Road, Bradford


Notes UPDATED 2014

A demonstration of over 150 took place on Saturday 25th November 1961 in Bradford City Centre (instead of only 20 demonstrators demanded by Police Chief Constable Harry Ambler.)

15,000 "NO DISCRIMINATION" leaflets were handed out. 

Leeds Student Union played a key role Keith Jones leader of the student group (Students Anti Racialist Committee) stated Our slogan "One race - The human race". 

Mr M. Hussein of the Pakistan Peoples association was also a speaker at the rally "If we are not allowed to mix with you, how will we ever get to understand one another" and Bill Moore of the Communist Party stated the restrictions demanded by the Chief Constable were not only a menace to those fighting racialism but were aimed at all people seeking to express progressive opinions


On the 13th January 1962 The Musicians Union introduced a boycott and "Blacked" the Locarno. This was key to the final victory

By the 30th January 1962 the Colour Bar at Bradford's Locarno had been reversed.

The "Mecca" Locarno at Bradford had been built in 1960 on Manningham Lane, Bradford
. Built at a cost £500,000 to build opened September 1961 and held 2,500 dancers.


 Manchester Colour Bar 1949

Colour bar workless.

Prejudice keeps them idle

3,000 coloured people in Manchester on being kept idle by a colour bar imposed by certain employers

Hurt and bewildered by it all yesterday was Mr O.A.Thomas a West African

As I was speaking to him, he pours took out his passport and read out cynically

In the name of his Majesty or those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford him every assistance and protection

He snapped a shot told me that the statement was "false and incorrect"

Really suffering

Four months ago, has applied for a job as assistant stoker at the Barton Power House where the resident engineer promised to check with the police or the general conduct.

A fortnight ago, without hearing from the engineer, he took up for references which included two from his MP and the Chief Constable of Manchester.

After numerous diversions he was informed that management would not appreciate his presence on the job but a labouring job might be found with an outside gang

Mr Thomas who came to England in 1936 and served in the merchant Navy during the war told me " Manchester's coloured people are really suffering as a result of this stupid colour bar

Daily worker Saturday 9th of April 1949

National "Coalition" Government 1932 demands workers take pay cuts

National Government "Economy Drive" 1932

Boss on the workers back and Ramsay MacDonald as a stable boy carrying out the orders of the bosses

Ramsay MacDonald had split from Labour in 1931 and established a National Government with Conservative Party support until 1935

Daily Worker cartoon by Bejay 1932

People's March for Jobs 1981 - Jack Charlton (Sheffield Wednesday FC)


Jack Charlton showing his support (and Sheffield Wednesday FC) for the TUC 1981 People's March for Jobs.

During this period a number of football clubs (mainly in the North) introduced unemployed or unwaged concessionary admission. A number of non league clubs still continue to offer unwaged concessionary admission to games

Labour and Clarion Swimming Club History

National Clarion Swimming Club

Much has been written about the Clarion Movement's cycling clubs, rambling clubs and choir's, but very little on it's other clubs including the National Clarion Swimming Club which was established in 1905.

Above is a picture of 1908 Clarion swimming Champions (believe it is Blackburn ?) and  Bradford Clarion Swimming Club women lifesavers (now lifeguards) dated 1907, (note the Clarion logo on the swimsuit) .

Swimming would have been a very rare experience for working class people at the turn of the last century, especially women and as a consequences local newspapers frequently record the tragic stories of young working class children drowning in rivers and canals.

The other picture is of a silver national Clarion Swimming Club medal awarded in 1908 (which is now in the People's History Museum).

Bradford was the founding City of the Independent Labour Party and many early municipal enterprises such as free school meals were pioneered in Bradford

Wapping Road School, built in 1877, was a ‘Board School’ under Bradford's very own W.E. Forster's Education Act of 1870. 

More than a century ago, the school created national and international headlines with the help of education Clarion and ILP supporters campaigners Margaret and Rachel McMillan and their push to improve the health and education of working class. 

Their influence helped bring the country’s first school swimming pool to Wapping Road school and nearby Green Lane School in 1899. 

Above is a picture of Manningham swimming pool

see also Bradford Cinderella Club.


Newcastle - upon- Tyne and London had Clarion Swimming Clubs as early as 1896 and Oldham, Liverpool and Bradford led the way in the North of England. Aberdeen and Glasgow Clarion Swimming Clubs were the first to be formed in Scotland.

By the early years of the last century there were enough Clarion Swimming Clubs to form a National Swimming Club in 1905, with its own silk woven badge to sew on swimming costumes. 

A national Clarion Swimming Team went on to compete abroad in the 1920's as part of the International Sports movement.

At the Clarion Easter meet in York 1932 Clarion swimming events were held at St George's Baths where Levenshulme Clarion swimming Club beat Oldham Clarion Swimmimg Club for the team championship. 

The Ladies breast stroke was won by Miss Elwood of York Clarion swimming Club with Miss Priestley, Leeds Clarion swimming Club second.

Ladies freestyle was won by Miss Priestley, with Miss Crowther of Halifax Clarion swimming Club second. 

The Men's breast stroke was by Mr E. Johnson of Oldham Levenshume Clarion swimming Club, with Mr F. Johnson Oldham Clarion second. Gents free style was won by E Johnson with H. Hughill , Bradford Clarion swimmig Club second

A Mitcham Clarion Swimming Club (South London)  is still in operation but it is unclear if it has a historical link.

Also Pendlebury Clarion Swimming Club circa February 1905

Michael Walker
Bermondsey Labour Party Swimming Club 1932 (top pictured) represented at the Vienna Workers Sport Olympiad

London Clarion Swimming Club

A New Venture

18th June 1937 from the Tribune

A new venture which should interest your readers in London, is the Clarion Swimming Club. This group now have well over a 100 members, who meet every .Wednesday at the Haggerston Swimming Baths.

They have the use of a clubroom which is attached to the bath, and here, from 8 to 10.15 p.m. comrades can dance, play ping-pong or darts, and amuse themselves in many other ways.

From 8.30 to 9.30 they, swim, and even have instructors to teach the unenlightened.

The whole evening costs only 6d., which compares very favourably with ordinary swimming, I understand that all comrades living reasonably near are invited to go along on a Wednesday evening to try it—if they cannot swim, the clubroom is at their disposal.

Stoke Newington. Sam Roth.

Clarion Cup Team winners 1898 - S. Weeks