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March 18, 2015

13 Amazing Vintage Photographs Captured the 1926 General Strike in London

Britain's first and only General Strike began on 3 May 1926, and ended ten days later. The event was a watershed for labour relations in Britain, and bitterly divided opinion.

The strike was called by the Trades Union Congress (T.U.C.) in support of striking coal miners in the North of England, Scotland and Wales. The miners were making a stand against an enforced pay-cut. It was the latest in a long series of industrial disputes that had dogged the coal industry since the end of the First World War and created real hardship for mining families. 'Not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay', was the miners' slogan.

The miners maintained resistance for a few months before being forced by their own economic needs to return to the mines. By the end of November, most miners were back at work. However, many remained unemployed for many years. Those that were employed were forced to accept longer hours, lower wages, and district wage agreements. The strikers felt as though they had achieved nothing.

These amazing vintage photographs captured the United Kingdom general strike in London in 1926:

Hundreds of volunteer workers in the mess room of the Empress and Queens Hall, Earls Court, during the General Strike. (Photo by Kirby/Getty Images)

Oxford University Student Volunteers during the General Strike in an aggressive pose. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A commuter rollerskates to work, complete with lunch, in an effort to beat the General Strike. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Special constables being issued with truncheons during the General Strike at Hornsey, London. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Congestion along the Embankment, London, at the time of the General Strike. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

A policeman rides beside a volunteer bus driver during the General Strike, 6th May 1926. There is barbed wire round the bonnet to stop strikers getting at the driver of the bus which belongs to the London General Omnibus Co (LGOC). (Photo by E. Bacon/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images).

Troops in Hyde Park, London, during the general strike, 4th May 1926. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images).

An independent bus crammed with commuters at Ludgate Circus, London, during the General Strike, 4th May 1926. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images).

Police questioning sandwich-board carriers during a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London at the time of the general strike. (Photo by Davis/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images).

Strikers attacking a volunteer worker at Kings Cross during the General Strike. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images).

A burnt out bus in a London street during the General Strike. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images).

Army drivers taking a break in Hyde Park, Central London where they are acting as reinforcements during public demonstrations relating to the National Strike. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images).

An army escort leading a food convoy through Holborn, Central London during the National Strike. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images).


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