Thursday, 3 December 2015

LSHG Roundtable - 90 years since the 1926 General Strike

90 years since the 1926 General Strike: History roundtable Monday 7th December

Socialist History Roundtable. Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, London, WC1. Monday 7th December 5.30pm Room 304 (third floor)

The aim of the roundtable is quite specifically to look at new research and potential areas of interest in the events of 1926. There is a job of work to be done in making sure younger generations in particular have heard of the General Strike and understand what the struggle was about but the LSHG focuses specifically on new research areas and angles. There is one new book in the area, on the General Strike in fiction, which is reviewed by Ian Birchall in the forthcoming issue of the LSHG newsletter. Other areas which I think are worth more exploration include the miners lockout from 12th May to November 1926, the role of the coal owners and who they were and the same for the ‘volunteers’ who broke the strike. I will be talking on these areas on 7th December. The aim is to see if there are enough new research leads and angles on the 90th anniversary to warrant running a formal event at the IHR during 2016, as well as of course to revisit the strike and lockout with some of the concerns of the present day in mind. We might ask for example why there has been no further General Strike of a similar or greater magnitude when the form remains very common around the world today.

Daryl Leeworthy will be talking on some new research he has done, which he summarises here:

Quiet Flows the Taff: the General Strike in South Wales

This paper, drawing on on-going research into the labour movement in South Wales in the early part of the twentieth century, seeks to show the connections between the 1926 strike and lockout and the earlier waves of strikes and lockouts in the same region. From the anthracite strike of 1925 to the 1921 lockout, the strikes that shook the central coalfield between 1919 and 1920, and the earlier Cambrian Combine and Powell Duffryn disputes of 1910-1911, the labour movement, the employers, and above all the people of South Wales, all learnt how to organise and respond to large-scale industrial action. The paper uses contemporary materials and oral history to shed light on one of the key battlegrounds of the strike.

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