Author Archives: Llanelli Strike Comittiee

Free Private Spiers!

      Harold Spiers, a private in ‘G’ company of the first Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, came from a family which was proud of the fact that all its men had been soldiers. Harold (second from the left, front row in the photo, probably from 1914) had followed in the footsteps of his … Continue reading »

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Army v. Strikers

  Using the army against strikers during the industrial rebellions of 1910-14 was always going to be a risky business for our rulers. Earlier clashes had shown the problems in militarily suppressing protest. In the “Peterloo massacre” of 1819 in Manchester, cavalry charged into a crowd calling  for parliamentary reform and an extension of the … Continue reading »

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School kids on strike!

One of the most impressive aspects of the ongoing student rebellion of November – December 2010 was the involvement of school students. The big London demos last year showed multi-racial crowds of youth from Croydon, Peckham and  the council estates of Islington, who knew that the Etonian toffs in government were mashing up their dreams … Continue reading »

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The ‘roughs’ who locked the level crossing…

A passenger on one of the trains held up at Llanelli on the morning of Friday 18 August, Sir Henry Blake, on his way home to Ireland, spoke disparagingly of “the mob of railway workers, tinplate workers …and roughs who had locked the gates of the level crossing and occupied the road, forming a crowd of … Continue reading »

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History is written by the victors: how do we tell our story?

One thing we have returned to again and again during the past year, trying to organise a commemoration of the Llanelli uprising, is the question of how you remember such momentous, and controversial, events. The late, great Professor Gwyn Alf Williams, one of the foremost Welsh historians, said the following, in his profound book The … Continue reading »

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If Tolpuddle can do it, so can Llanelli.

So, would any mention of the strike and riots scare off inward investment from Llanelli? Quite the opposite, I think. Heritage, leisure and tourism is big business now. With a bit of nerve, creativity and thinking ‘out of the box’, this could become a real money-spinner for the town. Look at the tiny Dorset village … Continue reading »

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Would commemoration of uprising scare off inward investment?

In the aftermath of the uprising it was the visit of King George V which was seen as being put in jeopardy. But even much later, other reasons were found for trying to keep the strike and shootings out of the public eye.   Was it simply ‘inappropriate’ to remember them? In 1986 members of … Continue reading »

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Petition

To the House of Commons: The petition of the residents and friends of Llanelli declares that: The shooting by the military of two men during the railway strike of 1911 was an unnecessary and unjustifiable act of violence. The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge HM Government to issue an apology for … Continue reading »

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Rail employees worked long hours for low pay

RAIL WORKERS AT LLANELLI STATION RECEIVED HALF A TINPLATE WORKER’S WAGE By 1890 south Wales had one of the most densely developed railway networks in the world. But this was run in a context of widespread poverty and hardship for railway workers.   In Remembrance of a Riot, John Edwards shows that at this time … Continue reading »

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Sosban Fach

“Sosban Fach” is Llanelli’s signature-tune. It’s more than a song, it’s an expression of a certain attitude. A quirky, determined, ‘ornery’ sense of identity. Without straying into Private Eye’s Pseud’s Corner, I really think it sums up so much about the town’s character. And the song has, I believe, been a channel for popular memory … Continue reading »

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