Class war in 1892: Bristol dockers and Black Friday

M Shed 10th anniversary series

Miscellaneous 2021
The success of strikes in 1889 by Bristol dock workers over pay and conditions led to a massive rise in membership of the newly formed dockers unions. In the autumn of 1892 timber merchants based on the Floating Harbour, along with their ‘bosses union’ the strike-breaking Shipping Federation, launched a counter-offensive. Its aim was to smash the dockers unions and re-introduce the hated ‘piecework’. The outcome would be a dramatic confrontation between strikers and the military on the streets […]

Bristol dockers strike of 1949 in support of Canadian Seaman

M Shed 10th anniversary series

The 1949 Docks Strike involving Bristol dockers was notable as an international solidarity action in support of strike action by the Canadian Seamen’s Union. Canadian employers had used ‘scab crews’ to load ships. One of these, the SS Gulfside, had remained strike bound in Avonmouth from 1st April. A second ship, the SS Montreal City arrived with a cargo of tomatoes and bananas. As tugmen and dockers refused to work the so called ‘blacked’ ships, the Labour Government brought in troops to unload […]

1949 Dockers’ Strike (Avonmouth): Labour Government use troops [Postponed until further notice]

The 1949 Docks Strike was notable as an international solidarity action in support of strike action by Canadian seamen of the Canadian Seamen’s Union. Canadian employers had used scab crews (in the Seafarers’ International Union) to load ships. One of these, the SS Gulfside, had remained strike bound in Avonmouth from 1st April. A second ship, the SS Montreal City arrived with a cargo of tomatoes and bananas. As tugmen and dockers refused to work the blacked ships, the Labour Government brought […]

The REAL Black Friday

23rd December 1892

Glenside Museum, The Chapel, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD Bristol Radical History group author, researcher and co-founder Roger Ball talks us through the REAL ‘Black Friday’ i.e. not the end of November shopping spree but the strikes and protests of autumn 1892 in Bristol, starting with the ‘Sweet Girls’ dispute at the Redcliff Confectionery works. Come and listen to a tale of ‘thousands of working class Bristolians’ marching to the Horsefair with lanterns & […]

Ben Tillett

Miscellaneous 2012
Ben Tillett ~ Working class friend or foe? A talk and discussion led by Jim McNeill To launch Bristol Radical History Group's new pamphlet, "Ben Tillett" this talk will cover the life and work of this Bristol-born, Trade Union leader. Tillett was the fiery and outspoken leader of numerous dock strikes from 1888 to 1914 in Bristol, London, Hull and elsewhere. However, by the outbreak of the First World War he, along with many union and Labour Party leaders, had become an open class collaborator […]