Friday, December 5, 2014

Rare newspaper sheds new light on General Strike in Sheffield

A recent donation to the Local Studies Library provides a glimpse of Sheffield during the General Strike of 1926.  Quite unexpectedly we were offered a copy of the Sheffield Mail from 4th May 1926 which was found amongst some papers during a house clearance in Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire.  Nobody knows how the newspaper came to end up there and lie undiscovered for almost 90 years.

The paper is a real gem - we already have the following day’s edition - this find provides yet more information on the events of May 1926.

The strike, which had its roots in a long running dispute between coal miners and colliery owners started on 3rd May. Approximately 80,000 workers went out on strike in Sheffield.  On the 4th May the Mail reported that the ‘trams had stopped and there were few private buses running.  Volunteers continuing to enrol in large numbers at Town Hall. Emergency Food Officer reports everything satisfactory. Crowd prevented beer being delivered in King Street this morning, driver being non-unionist.’ 

Interestingly the newspaper is just one typescript sheet because most of the staff and printers were out on strike!

You can read more about the General Strike in Sheffield in our research guide:

Pictured: Cartoon entitled ‘Transportation Difficulties’, in The Bombshell, Firth Brown Steelworks magazine,1926; extract from the one-page 'Emergency Edition' of the Sheffield Mail, 1926 and trade unionists march through Sheffield to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1926 General Strike, 1976 (Sheffield Local Studies Library/Picture Sheffield).