Monday, August 31, 2009

Workers protest on Blackheath, 1890

There have been a number of mentions of Blackheath's radical heritage in the context of the current Climate Clamp there. We have mentioned here before it's connections with the Peasants Revolt, Jack Cade and the Kentish rising, Cornish rebels and Chartism. Here's another example, a report of a workers' demonstration on Blackheath in 1890:

'Yesterday afternoon about 3000 men, mainly labourers employed in the Royal Dockyard and Arsenal at Woolwich, attended an open-air demonstration on Blackheath, held 'for the purpose of bringing before the House of Commons the grievances of the Arsenal and Dockyard labourers, the most notable one being their starvation wage'. Processions, headed by bands and banners, made their way to Blackheath from Woolwich, Deptford &c., about 30 branches of the South Side Labour Protection League being represented.

Mr W J Brett, chairman of the Council of the League, presided. Mr F P Hammill, of the London Trades Council, moved a resolution declaring that the labourers of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, who were in receipt of wages between 17s. and 21s a week, and constituted but one-eight of the whole number of labourers employed, were determined to obtain a minimum rate of 25s a week, as present they could not procure the necessaries of life. The resolution having being passed unanimously, Mr Quelch moved a resolution pledging the meeting to stand by the Arsenal and Dockyard labourers in 'their struggle for a living rate of wages' and to further extend and strengthen the organisation of South Side Labour Protection League as one of the best means of securing that object. The resolution was adopted with acclamation'

Source: The Times, April 5 1890. The 'Mr Quelch' referred to here is the Harry Quelch, a socialist who lived in Nunhead - see previous post on him.

1 comment:

mary said...

Thanks for the reminder about Harry Quelch - I am reminded of his anti-George Livesey pamphlet 'Co-partnership - the Delusive Snare' and also that during the 1889 Gas Workers Strike he tried to persuade Bermondsey Vestry to take action against the South Metropolitan Gas Company on the grounds that Bermondsey residents were having their eye sight ruined by poor quality gas light.
I must sort out all my stuff on Livesey and the Gas Workers Strike and add it to