Children’s StrikeJune 30, 2016 9:43 am
On 12 September 1911, children in some British schools went on strike. Economic growth had slowed and the widening gap between rich and poor brought great resentment. The working classes were working harder than ever but the benefits were being reaped by those in power. A series of strikes began that spread across the UK and demanded a fair deal for workers. Children watched as their parents took action and then they stood up too. In 1911, school involved hard work and strict discipline, and poorer children usually had a job to go to once the school day was finished. The children’s strike began in Hull on 12 September when boys walked out of the classroom of their Catholic school and refused to return. They encouraged other children to join them, and by the end of the day the school was empty.
News of the strike spread. Around the country schoolchildren took to picketing schools. They demanded shorter hours, no corporal punishment, or free pencils.
The strikes did not last long for the children. Some were heavily beaten, and punished in front of their school. Some were even sent to the workhouse, or faced criminal charges. It was made quite clear that such actions would not be tolerated. The strikes were depicted in Dave Marson’s 1973 play Fall in and Follow Me.
This post was written by hm