Smithdown Lane

London Road

After recent events, I cannot resist taking another look back at the 1911 General Transport Strike. No doubt there will be some who can draw parallels between this months riots and the disturbances of a century ago. In most people’s judgment, I imagine clear distinctions will be made between workers fighting for an improvement in their working conditions and the violence and mayhem of last week. There is one common factor, however, and that is the reaction of authority under pressure. The threat of civil disorder spreading induced panic measures – as the rare handbill reproduced above shows: ‘Large numbers of persons have assembled in the disturbed streets for the purpose of seeing what is going on, and I warn all such persons that if the Authorities are called upon to act, innocent citizens are likely to be injured as those against whom any drastic measures on the part of the Police or the Military are directed.’
Many thanks for today’s photographs and handbill which are from the collection of Colin Weekes. The top photograph shows what appears to be a ‘scab’ carter taking provisions along Smithdown Lane. In the background is Daniel Higgin’s butcher’s shop. The impressive building on the right is a branch of the London City & Midland Bank. (Hard to imagine looking at Smithdown Lane today). The second photograph is of London Road looking up towards Monument Place. The church in the distance is St Silas. Looking at the shops, there is a half price sale on the immediate right, with an empty shop on the next corner. Further up, a pledge shop (pawnbroker) is advertising its premises high up on the gable end. At least somethings haven’t changed over the century.

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