When Liverpool seamen walked out on 14 June 1911 they took the widespread militancy of the time to a new level. The great Liverpool Transport Strike, involving seamen, carters, dockers and railway workers, proved to be a turning-point in industrial relations, where solidarity and belonging to a union "became part of the fabric of life".
Near to Revolution
The strike was arguably the finest hour of Liverpool's labour history. It brought massive rallies, control of the local economy, a gunboat on the Mersey and unprecedented solidarity among workers.
For three months (June to August) the city was virtually at a standstill. Thousands of workers fought their own battles and supported fellow-workers in other disputes. The state's brutality on St George's Plateau on 13 August sparked a brief city-wide general strike.
Society was in ferment in other ways too. Votes for women, Home Rule for Ireland and abolishing the House of Lords were just some of the other issues on the political agenda. In Liverpool, artists like Albert Lipczinski, Charles Reilly, and Augustus John moved alongside Francisco Ferrer (founder of Free Schools) and inspirational workers leader Tom Mann in places such as the International Club, The Clarion Cafe, and the Sandon Club.
2011 will be the centenary of this milestone of struggle. We propose to produce a special calendar documenting the news as it happened and using some of the outstanding images of the time.
We need your help
If you can contribute any material or story from the time, or if you're an artist inspired by these events, we want to hear from you. Just contact the Nerve office at 0151-709 9948 or email: email@example.com
17th March 1911 - Liverpool Courier reports that black firemen on Elder Dempster ships have gone on strike as pay is roughly half that of white firemen.
10th May - Trades Council supports Womens Suffrage Bill.
12th July - Trades Council Meetings addressed by Tom Mann who calls for support for transport strike.
13th August - Bloody Sunday - Police attack 80,000 strong demonstration outside St George’s Hall
14th August - The Times states, "Anarchy reigns in the city".
15th August - Five prison vans attacked on the way to Walton under military escort, 2 men (Michael Prendergast and John Sutcliffe) are shot dead.
17th August - HMS Antrim moves into the Mersey. HMS Warrior to Douglas, Isle of Man.
20th August - Funerals of Michael Prendergast & John Sutcliffe. 300 protestants & catholics attend funeral at (Catholic) Ford cemetery.
1st September - Times reports verdicts of 'justifible homicide' in inquests of Prendergast & Sutcliffe.
4th November - Daily Post reports that the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) Liverpool membership rose from 7,000 to 31,000 this year.
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