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Life for people around 1911.


master brummie

In 1912, there was quite a lot of industrial unrest in England. To halt a national pit strike, Asquith introduced a miners minimum wage bill in March. In May there was a London dock strike which lasted until August, there were frequent violent clashes with the police.

The militant wing of the suffragettes, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, were becoming increasingly violent, they smashed shop windows in London's West End in March.

The Old Age pension had been introduced in 1909, which made life easier for the elderly poor, it meant that they had a measure of security and were able to avoid ending up in the workhouse.

Most children in this period would have at least a basic education, the Education Act of 1902 had abolished all fees for elementary education in england and Wales,and the Act of 1906 provided for basic secondary education.


master brummie
From what I can remember of my "O" level Social and Economic History was this not the time of the reformist Liberal government.They did quite a lot for people at the lower end of the social scale and would probably have done more but for the intervention of the First World War.. Pit owners had a name for treating the miners badly which ultimately lead to the nationalisation so no surprise there. The same with the ad-hoc arrangements in employing dockers. One day you you worked,the next ..who knows. These problems were largely put on hold during WW1 but continued after aggravated by the economic crisis. I think the emancipation of women dragged on till 1928 with the women finally getting the vote on equal terms as men.

Ray Barrett

It would seem there was a more caring government,99 years ago than there is today...sad ain't it?:(


master brummie
In 1902 George Barnes, General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, formed the National Committee of Organised Labour for Old Age Pension. Barnes spent the next three years travelling the country urging this social welfare reform. The measure was extremely popular and was an important factor in Barnes being able to defeat Andrew Bonar Law , the Conservative cabinet minister in the 1906 General Election.

David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Liberal government led by Herbert Asquith in 1908, was also an opponent of the Poor Law in Britain. He was determined to take action that in his words would "lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor". He believed the best way of doing this was to guarantee an income to people who were to old to work. In 1908 Lloyd George introduced the Old Age Pensions Act that provided between 1s. and 5s. a week to people over seventy. These pensions were only paid to citizens on incomes that were not over 12s.

Although most Labour Party members of the House of Commons welcomed Lloyd George's reforms, politicians such as James Keir Hardie, George Barnes, Fred Jowett, Joseph Clynes, and George Lansbury argued that the level of benefits were far too low. They also complained that the pensions should be universal and disliked what was later to be called the Means Test aspect of these reforms.

To pay for these pensions David Lloyd George had to raise government revenues by an additional £16 million a year. In 1909 Lloyd George announced what became known as the People's Budget. This included increases in taxation. Whereas people on lower incomes were to pay 9d in the pound, those on annual incomes of over £3,000 had to pay 1s. 2d. in the pound. Lloyd George also introduced a new supertax of 6d. in the pound for those earning £5000 a year. Other measures included an increase in death duties on the estates of the rich and heavy taxes on profits gained from the ownership and sale of property.

The Conservatives, who had a large majority in the House of Lords, objected to this attempt to redistribute wealth, and made it clear that they intended to block these proposals. Lloyd George reacted by touring the country making speeches in working-class areas on behalf of the budget and portraying the nobility as men who were using their privileged position to stop the poor from receiving their old age pensions.

After a long struggle with the House of Lords Lloyd George finally got his budget through parliament. As a result of this conflict, the Liberal Government passed the 1911 Parliament Act that restricted the power of the House of Lords to block legislation passed by the House of Commons.


master brummie
And who now has heard of George Barnes ?
Thanks GER22VAN for a reminder that these things dont just happen. Someone had to fight for them.


master brummie
Industrial unrest
Between 1910 and 1914 Britain experienced a wave of industrial unrest. Wage cuts, poor working conditions, and rapid inflation (between 1889 and 1910 the cost of food had risen by 10 per cent and the cost of coal 18 per cent) left workers deprived and disgruntled. The various trade unions were swelling in size and in 1911 there were widespread strikes. The most significant of these were in Liverpool, where a successful strike among sailors inspired a summer of strikes throughout the city’s other industries. That August a peaceful demonstration turned into days of anarchy, which led to the slaying by soldiers of two workers. The strikes were otherwise largely successful, and their organiser Tom Mann was heralded a hero, although he was imprisoned the following year for an innocuous offence connected with the strikes.


master brummie
Estimated population England and Wales 36 million. Now 54 million
Life expectancy for women 54, men 50. By 2011 expected to be 82 for women, 74 for men.
Average family 2.8 children, now 1.8
100 centenarians, now 9,300
January Troops support Metropolitan police against armed gang who fight to their death in siege of Sidney Street
February Suffragettes unsuccessfully attempt to disrupt state opening of parliament
April Bradford City win FA Cup
June 40,000 women demonstrate for women's suffrage on London streets.
August London and Liverpool dockers and railway workers across the country go on strike
Official Secrets Act introduced to combat spies
November National Insurance Act brings unemployment benefits for first time
December Captain Scott on final spurt to south pole hoping to beat Norwegian Roald Amundsen. Arrives in January 1912 to find he has lost race. Dies in March blizzards as supplies run out.


master brummie
armed gang who fight to their death in siege of Sidney Street. Quote.

The Siege of Sydney Street is more known by reason of Winston Churchills involvement as Home Secratary. The full story is hardly ever told . I believe an anarchist group carried out a robbery, a policeman was shot and two gang members cornered. Just why this robbery is remembered out of all the others is beyond my understanding.
Anyone know why food prices had risen so much? Must be something to do with the industrial nations extra requirements or the rural economies inability to provide enough for everyone. China and India with their booming industries must be distorting food prices today. People who do not grow food need to fed and even China needs help despite its great territorial area.

Its been a long time since I have thunked such great thoughts......pphheewww.


master brummie
Around this time and up to the end of the First World War in hundreds of towns they had " Hiring Fairs " workers congregating in the street , farmhands were hired for a year. Intending shepherds wore a piece of wool in their hats, carters wore a twist of whipcord,a servant girl would carry a broom. A farmer would give a " Fastening penny " or there was a recruiting sergeant who gave any man the Kings shilling.


master brummie
Please May I Add.....Where it says " Air battalion of British Army formed " this is not the Royal Flying Corps as this was founded in the following year of 1912.

Ray Barrett

1911,on a more personel level.
This was told to me about 50 years ago by my wifes granddad,Jack Matthews.
He was in 1911 doing contract work at the Austin works in Longbridge,his company was Archdales machine tools.He was living in Hyde Rd.Ladywood and his day started with a walk to Navigation St.where he caught the tram to the then terminus,Selly Oak,from there it was another walk to Longbridge.His starting time was 7am.three minutes late and he would be "locked out" and lose a days pay.
After a day of hard collar,he had to make the return journey home.It was a six day week.
He and his whole family later moved to Worcester with Archdales.


master brummie
Many stars to the likes of Harry Tate, Vesta Tilley, Harry Lauder, Little Tich, Pavlova, Wilkie BardFlorrie Ford and a host of others appeared at the Royal Command Performance, But the highest paid comedienne and darling of the people , the queen of suggestive humour Marie Lloyd too suggestive perhaps. The joke that went around was that Miss Lloyd would retaliate by getting up a Popular Demand Performance..
After the first world war the music hall was in decline in the face of rising radio and cinema, the Royal Command Performance of 1911 markes a climax when its stars were national idols and its songs swept the country mainly sentimental songs and slapdash songs. Harry Lauder’s “ Roamin in the Gloamin “ and Harry Champion’s “Boiled Beef and Carrots “ it was so popular that working men’s cafes advertised
“ A Harry Champion “ 1 s
Who could beat the outburst of busty Miss Florrie Forde’s mock-sobstuff in walz-time?……
Oh! Oh! Antonio,
He’s gone away !
Left me alone-e-oh,
All on my own-e-oh….


master brummie
Turn-of-the-century Birmingham was home to the Peaky Blinders,fearsome street gangs described by city church workers as the worst "social, civic and Christian problem of our great city".

Look further back and you find 18th century Britain staggering along Gin Alley. Alcoholism was the norm, crimeendemic. Babies were raised on gin because it was cheaper than milk.


Exiled Brummie
Think I read on another thread that the name "Peaky Blinders" came from the fact that they had razor blades sewn in the peaks of their caps and used the cap as a weapon to slash opponents' faces!


master brummie
That’s right David, they seemed to be unique to Birmingham or Aston to be more precise in the early 1900’s , they earned the name by sewing razor blades into the peak of their caps, using this as a weapon to slash the face of anyone they disagreed with to blind them. It is said that the police were that afraid of them that they patrolled around in pairs.
A company that made flat caps ( used by the working class man, also many an old granny and the peaky blinders ) was Kangol based in Leeds closed down after 110 years in business.


They would wipe or swipe the peak across the face of their victim/opponent.


master brummie
Motor Cars (Regulations). IF ONLY.

HC Deb 11 May 1911 vol 25 c1386 1386
§Mr. WATT asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his Department has power to reduce the speed of motor-cars by order; if so, what is that power and how often has it been put in force by his Department; and can he extend it to Scotland?
§Mr. BURNS As regards the first part of my hon. Friend's question, perhaps I may refer to my reply to his question of the 5th April last. The Local Government Board have issued fifteen Orders under Section 8 of the Motor Car Act, prohibiting or restricting the driving of motor cars on specified highways, and 100 Orders under Section 9 of the Act, limiting the speed to ten miles an hour. In the application of the Act to Scotland, powers similar to those given to the Local Government Board are conferred upon the Secretary for Scotland.
§Mr. WATT Can the Department take the initiative, or have they to wait until some other public body asks them to take action?
§Mr. BURNS The Board invariably act after action has been initiated by the county councils.
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