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The Manchester and Salford Strike Wave of Summer 1911

Darlington, Ralph



If the ‘Labour Revolt’ that swept Britain in the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War between 1910 and 1914 was one of the most dramatic and violent explosions of industrial militancy and social conflict the country has ever experienced, one of the most graphic expressions of this occurred in Manchester and Salford during the summer of 1911. Insurgent strike action by 120,000 seamen, dockers and other workers that closed most of Britain’s principal ports led to a general transport strike in Salford/Manchester. Shortly afterwards unofficial strike action by railwaymen spread from Liverpool to Manchester and Salford, and then other parts of the country culminating in a national railway strike that involved 200,000 workers. Simultaneously across the two cities there was strike action by engineering and railway labourers, as well as other very low-paid factory workers, that was then followed by a rash of schoolchildren’s strikes.
This article revisits the remarkable Manchester and Salford strike wave of the summer 1911 which, although it contained less coordinated characteristics compared to the contemporaneous 1911 Liverpool general transport strike, was unprecedented in its local scale and impact. The article builds on and extends previous research on the subject conducted initially by Martin Ives and then developed by Eddie and Ruth Frow. As well as utilising a range of secondary literature, it draws extensively on reports in local/national newspapers and on newly-accessed Home Office archival material, amongst other primary sources. In the process, it explores the role of militant and radical left activists, the tension between local strikers and national trade union officials, the extent of solidary displayed between different groups of workers, the nature of employers’ and government counter-mobilisation, the high level of civil strife and violence displayed, and the local community support that was generated, notably by women


Darlington, R. (2023). The Manchester and Salford Strike Wave of Summer 1911. #Journal not on list, 44-52

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2023
Publication Date 2023-12
Deposit Date Mar 25, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 1, 2026
Journal North West Labour History Journal
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Issue 48
Pages 44-52
Keywords Manchester, Salford, trade unionism, strikes
Publisher URL