Author Archives: Llanelli Strike Comittiee

One Hundred Years Ago

A shot rings out. The group of young men gathered by the garden wall stubbornly stand their ground. “Popeth yn iawn! It’s all right!” shouts one, “Blanc yw hi, bois! It’s blank, boys!” “Peidiwch a symud. Don’t move,” he confides to his friend. “Saethan nhw ddim. They won’t shoot.” Another rifle crack. “It’s all right, … Continue reading »

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Last Wednesday I was privileged to attend, with other members of the 1911 Committee, Copperworks Infant Nursery School’s musical extravaganza – A Trip Down Memory Lane – an historical journey, through the sights and sounds of Copperworks School and the local area through the years. Mrs Sherlock and her staff had obviously put hours of … Continue reading »

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NEW MUSICAL DRAMA tells the dramatic story of the 1911 strike & uprising!

                      Commemorating 100 Years 1911 Remembrance of a Riot A Musical Drama Inspired by John Edwards Lyrics & Music by                                              Dramaturge Keira Spencer and Luke Spencer             Christopher J Rees     A Community Theatre Production produced by Llanelli Stage Company, with members from Llanelli Musical … Continue reading »

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Llanelli is rapidly approaching the centenary of the Great Railway Strike of 1911. The week from Friday 12 August to Saturday 20th August will be filled with theatre, poetry, jazz and folk, a BBC documentary with Huw Edwards, culminating in a march and rally on Saturday 20 August, assembling at 12 noon at the railway … Continue reading »

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The Great Unrest 1910-1914

What was really scaring the authorities at the time of the Llanelli Uprising of 1911 was the fact that strikes and riots weren’t just happening in Llanelli. This was the time of the ‘Great Unrest’ – one of the longest periods of sustained industrial rebellion in British history. Industrial militancy was spreading nationwide, and being … Continue reading »

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Working for the Revolution

  The question of syndicalism is central to understanding what went on in Llanelli in August 1911. Not because there were specific syndicalists who were active in Llanelli during the strike, but because for a few brief years, syndicalism cut with the grain of the experience of many workers, not just in Wales but across Great … Continue reading »

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Who were the syndicalists?

Syndicalists like Tom Mann (pictured below) and Ben Tillett (pictured bottom of page), who was the star speaker at the Llanelli mass protest a month after the shootings, were part of an international revolutionary movement.  Revolutionary syndicalism swept many parts of Europe, the USA, Latin America and Australia between the 1890s and the 1920s. Its … Continue reading »

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What drove the strikes of 1911?

Like the revolutions in the Middle East today, although on a smaller scale, the industrial and community uprisings of Britain’s Great Unrest of 1910 to 1914 were the result of a complex of interrelated factors. The 1911 strike wave was a working class response to a nexus of economic, industrial and political pressures and disappointed … Continue reading »

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“An open letter to British soldiers…the Idle Rich order you about too…”

Determined efforts were made by the government to bury the case of Harold Spiers. In reply to a question about the fate of the soldier who refused to fire at Llanelli, Colonel JEB Seely, the under-secretary of state at the War Office, twice denied that such a soldier existed. But early in 1912 further events … Continue reading »

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“A working-class hero is something to be…”

  Much to the embarrassment of the authorities, the case of Private Harold Spiers – the soldier who refused to fire on the Llanelli strikers – rapidly became a cause celebre in the British trade union and labour movement in the month after the shootings. The railwayworkers of Llanelli and Swansea expressed their admiration for … Continue reading »

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