Thread: On The Square
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:00 PM   #97
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Arrow Battle of George Square

The "Battle of George Square", also known as "Bloody Friday" and "Black Friday", was one of the most intense riots in the history of Glasgow; it took place on Friday, 31 January 1919. The dispute revolved around a campaign for shorter working hours, backed by widespread strike action. Clashes between the City of Glasgow Police and protesters broke out, leading to the British government sending soldiers and tanks to the city to prevent any further gatherings due to their fear of a Bolshevist uprising. It was described as a "social revolution" by supporters, as had happened the previous year in the 1917 Russian Revolution, and was occurring in Germany and in the Austro-Hungarian Empire while the 'Forty Hours' strike unfolded...
Before the First World War, the standardworking week was 54 hours. National negotiations had established a 47-hour working week for men in the shipbuilding and engineering trades, to be introduced in 1919. A Joint Committee of shop stewards, members of the Scottish TUC and Clyde Workers' Committee however proposed a campaign to limit working-hours to 30 per week, which was altered to 40 per week after the Glasgow Trades Council became involved...

A strikers' meeting was called for Monday, 27 January, and more than 3000 workers gathered at the St. Andrew's Halls; 40,000 Glasgow workers came out on strike that same day. By Friday 31 January, the number had swollen to "upwards of 60,000".A 4.5 inch Howitzer was positioned at the City Chambers, the cattle market was transformed into a tank depot, Lewis Guns were posted on the top of the North British Hotel and the General Post Office, armed troops stood sentry outside power stations, docks and patrolled the streets. They were deployed for a week, to deter any further gatherings...Manny Shinwell, William Gallacher and David Kirkwood were jailed for several months. A 47-hour week was eventually agreed with the trade unions involved. In the General Election of 1922, Scotland elected 29 Labour MPs, including the 40 Hour Strike organisers and Independent Labour Party members Manny Shinwell and David Kirkwood. The 1923 General Election eventually saw the first Labour government come to power under Ramsay MacDonald. The region's socialist sympathies earned it the epithet of Red Clydeside...In 1923 the regimental title was expanded to the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment)...
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