Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Battle of Jutland

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the battle of Jutland, the only major naval battle of the First World War. The engagement took place on 31 May 1916 in the Skagerrak, an arm of the North Sea, near the coast of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, and was fought between the British Grand Fleet, under the command of (Southampton born) Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, and the German High Sea Fleet, under the command of Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer.

Immediately after the outbreak of the First World War, Britain established a successful naval blockade against Germany in the North Sea, denying German naval vessels access to the Atlantic. As the German naval force was insufficient to openly engage the superior British fleet, a plan was formed to lure out and destroy parts of the British fleet with the ultimate aim of punching a hole in the blockade.

The issue of the Daily Graphic published on 7 July 1916 contains a series of images taken on board the HMS Valiant during the action [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]

The issue of the Daily Graphic published on 7 July 1916 contains a series of images taken on board the HMS Valiant during the action [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]

On 30 May 1916, British naval intelligence alerted Admiral Jellico that the German High Sea Fleet had left port and was heading north, to the Skagerrak. In response, Jellico ordered his fleet out to meet and engage the Germans at sea.

Fighting began on 31 May when a scouting force of battle cruisers, under Vice Admiral David Beatty, spotted a German squadron of warships under Admiral Franz von Hipper. Both sides opened fire simultaneously with the engagement resulting in the British suffering particularly heavy losses, including the sinking of two battle cruisers, the HMS Indefatigable and Queen Mary. Of their destruction Commander Arthur Lionel Forbes-Sempill, executive officer of the battleship HMS Valiant, writes: “This was most demoralising and was due to the Germans making a special point of using very long based range finders, and having got the range of firing off their salvoes as fast as they possibly can.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]

As the remainder of the German fleet arrived, Beatty turned his ships back towards Jellico’s main British fleet. During this time four ships of the 5th Battle Squadron, included the HMS Valiant, were left to take on the whole of the High Sea Fleet for a period of 35 minutes, with Forbes-Sempill writing: “Shell feel round us like hail stones and I believe all were of the same opinion as myself, and that was that our checks had been passed in, but that we were not going to be sunk for nothing. We could see all the other ships beings badly hit, but we also saw the effect of our 15 inch shell whenever they did hit and it seemed to be pretty frequent.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]

The two main fleets encountered each other soon after and the full scale battle commenced. It raged on into the late evening with the British eventually gaining the advantage. Scheer then ordered the German fleet to withdraw only to be faced with a line of British ships which had been manoeuvred to cut them off. In the fighting that followed the German flagship Lutzow was sunk as was the British cruiser Invincible. The German fleet finally withdrew under the cover of darkness, bringing the battle to an indecisive end.

Rough Diagrams during the Action on May 31st 1916 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]

Rough Diagrams during the Action on May 31st 1916 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]

Among the papers of Wilfred William Ashley, first Baron Mount Temple, is the above cited letter to Ashley’s second wife Muriel Emily (or “Molly”) from her first husband Commander Arthur Lionel Forbes-Sempill. The letter, dated 14 June 1916, begins with him recalling a visit from a clairvoyant the previous December who foretells of the battle to come, stating: “I can see this great ship in the very thick of a battle, and I should say between April 26th and June 6th, because I see you surrounded with 6’s. […] You will, and she as well, come out of it untouched.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]. Forbes-Sempill then proceeds to provide a first-hand account of the battle.

Of the indecisive conclusion to the battle he writes: “Well, we gave those devils more than they came out for and it was the greatest pity in the world that we did not get at them again the next morning as all hoped we should, so as to have finished them off once and for all. I doubt very much if they will ever show their faces outside Wilhelmshaven again before peace is declared.” [MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR80/6]

The letter is accompanied by copies of Admiral Jellicoe’s official despatch published in The Times and the Daily Graphic on 7 July, an account of the battle by an officer in one of the Queen Elizabeth class battleships published in the Daily Express on 19 June, together with Wilfred Ashley’s notes on the battle, including a breakdown of the action and lists of losses.

Forbes-Sempill was recommended for promotion to Captain after the battle, being described as: “A very able executive officer, who had the arrangements for fire, repair and other parties extremely well organised and who was of great help throughout the action.” [ADM 1/8461/154] Given its indecisive conclusion, both sides claimed the battle as a victory. While, the Germans sank more ships and killed more sailors, the British maintained naval superiority and, as predicted by Forbes-Sempill, ensured the German fleet remained in port for the rest of the war. This allowed the blockade to continue – one of the key elements in the eventual Allied victory.

Among the events set to mark the centenary of the battle, the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth is running a blockbuster exhibition titled ‘36 Hours: Jutland 1916, The Battle That Won The War’. For more information visit http://jutland.org.uk/

Additionally, BBC2 recently aired the documentary ‘Battle of Jutland: The Navy’s Bloodiest day’. The University was heavily referenced and both Professor Philip Wilson and Dr Jon Downes were interviewed as part of the programme, plus the towing tank featured extensively. The programme can be watched on BBC iPlayer. Further information can be found at:
https://isoton.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/battle-of-jutland-100th-anniversary-university-in-bbc2-documentary/

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Travel tales

As the Bank Holiday weekend approaches, thoughts might well be turning to travel and holidays. Travel has been a part of the human experience for centuries and as a journey recommends itself to record keeping, the travel journal was one of the earliest types to become a recognised genre. In his 1625 essay Of travel Francis Bacon gave directions for diary keeping by young men on their Grand Tour— that educational rite of passage for males of British nobility and wealthy gentry.

While Bacon’s thoughts were mainly on profit to be gained from travel experiences, the wish to create a permanent record of journeys is a very real one. The archive and rare book collections at Southampton attest to this wish. Within the archive collections are a large number of diaries and journals, together with photographs, sketches, charts and plans, menus and other souvenirs relating to travel in its various guises. This is complemented by a fine range of rare book material, including the Henry Robinson Hartley Collection, about exploration and journeys across the globe.

‘Plan of the city of Lima, capital of Peru’: taken from A compendium of authentic and entertaining voyages (second edition, London 1766) vol. 2 [Rare Books G 160]

‘Plan of the city of Lima, capital of Peru’: taken from A compendium of authentic and entertaining voyages (second edition, London 1766) vol. 2 [Rare Books G 160]

Although not relating to a Grand Tour, the travel journals of the second Viscount Palmerston nevertheless provide a fascinating account of his journeys across Europe in search of art and culture. In this entry for 25 April 1793 he describes a visit to Italy:

“Walked to see the cathedral of Terracina which is built on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo. There are some of the old walls some parts of fluted columns and some of cornices and mouldings on the side and back part of the temple. The front towards the place has a portico made up of old columns and fragments of antique buildings. There is an inscription relating to Theodorick and a face of granite sarcophagus under the porch. In the church are some granite columns and a rich antique mosaick….”

[MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR15/16]

In contrast, the travel journal kept by Major General Sir John St George in 1868 of his land journey to Russia focuses on the more practical concerns of his comfort and his fellow travellers:

“We reached Minden at 12′ 9 am [9 minutes past 12] and I got out as we were to stay a few minutes. I had not taken due note of my carriage and could not contrive to find it when I returned and … as the train was on the move I was bundled into the open door of a second class carriage where were 4 … noisy Germans smoking furiously. I had left my comfortable temporary couch and had neither cravat nor overcoat, nor pocket handkerchief, not any requisites for comfort, and I feared I should take cold. One of the men, after their laughter at my forlorn condition had ceased, lent me a rug and I did not suffer. When we reached Hanover I succeeded in finding my carriage…”

[MS 59 A528/6/3]

For those seeking accounts of a more stylish and comfortable mode of transport, the Special Collections hold a range of material recording journeys by luxury liners. Menus are from the cabin (first class) dining room of the Queen Mary during her first year on the transatlantic crossing show just over 800 cabin class passengers enjoying seven course meals, with food supplies for a typical voyage including 50,000lbs of fresh meat, 50,000 eggs and 14,500 bottles of wine.

This watercolour of Malta is from the sketch book of Julia (Sissy) Matilda Cohen during a cruise around the Mediterranean in 1895 [MS 363 A3006/3/5/6]

This watercolour of Malta is from the sketch book of Julia (Sissy) Matilda Cohen during a cruise around the Mediterranean in 1895 [MS 363 A3006/3/5/6]

Want to know about encounters with polar bears or hostile locals, or navigating unexplored regions of Latin America or Africa? Then look no further. The journals of the Southampton born sailor William Mogg recount exploration in the Arctic (polar bears included) and on board HMS Beagle in South American waters, while the papers of Louis Arthur Lucas (1851-1876) provide a glimpse into his explorations in Africa, 1875-6.   From his base in Khatoum, Lucas set out to explore areas of the Congo as well as Lake Albert, then known as Albert Nyanza, one of the great lakes of Africa.

Volume 1 of Louis Arthur Lucas’ African sketch book: huts of the Kytch tribe, [Southern Sudan], 1876 [MS 371 A3042/2/6/14]

Volume 1 of Louis Arthur Lucas’ African sketch book: huts of the Kytch tribe, [Southern Sudan], 1876 [MS 371 A3042/2/6/14]

Proving that adventure does not have to take you to far shores, the trial journey from London to Bath of Goldworthy Gurney’s steam carriage in July 1829 provided quite a tale. This marked the first journey at a maintained speed made by a locomotive on land or rail, pre-dating George Stephenson’s Rocket by over a year.  Beset by various challenges, the intrepid travellers were finally met by a hostile mob outside Bath who stoned the carriage.

Page of a note from Sir J.Willoughby Gordon to Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, sending a detailed report of the journey of Gurney's steam carriage from London to Bath, 31 July 1829 [MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1034/29]

Page of a note from Sir J.Willoughby Gordon to Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, sending a detailed report of the journey of Gurney’s steam carriage from London to Bath, 31 July 1829 [MS 61 Wellington Papers 1/1034/29]

So, however you choose to travel this Bank Holiday, we wish you happy travelling!

The development of Special Collections

From June until December 2016, there will be a building project taking place in the Hartley Library. As a result, between June and September, the Archives and Manuscripts and Rare Books reading room will be running a restricted service: this might include brief periods of closure. While updates will be made available through our website, we take the opportunity to reflect on the development of the Special Collections division down through the years…

Early developments
The archive holdings date back to the 1860s, soon after the foundation of the Hartley Institution, the earliest predecessor of the University of Southampton. The Institution was founded as a local learned institution and had among its facilities both a library and museum. Between them, they gathered in or were presented with a number of manuscript collections. The early collections were eclectic in nature, ranging from the papers of local seamen and materials clearly brought back from their travels; to records that may have their origins in the archives of the corporation of Southampton, with which the Hartley Institution was closely associated; and groups of letters, some coherent archive groups, put together by autograph collectors. As early as 1873, the minute book of the library committee records the presentation of ‘Specimens of old English writing in the form of deeds, upon condition that they be bound’ (now MS 28).

Item from a collection of deeds relating to property in Petersfield and Mapledurham, principally for ‘Gobyesmede', together with lands in Liss and Sheet, Hampshire [MS 36 AO143]

Item from a collection of deeds relating to property in Petersfield and Mapledurham, principally for ‘Gobyesmede’, together with lands in Liss and Sheet, Hampshire [MS 36 AO143]

The Institution’s collections included items of more general interest, ranging from Renaissance drawings to manuscripts from among purchases and bequests of books. The Library and Museum received materials relating to the locality, to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the most important of which, the Cope bequest, contained manuscript (now MS 5) as well as printed items. With the establishment of local record offices, in Hampshire, for the county and city of Winchester, in and after 1947, for the corporation of Southampton in 1951 and for the corporation of Portsmouth, papers of local interest were directed there and local topographical manuscripts ceased to be an active focus for the University’s collecting policy. In 1972, the University dispersed to local record offices all the local material that it did not own; the material was transferred principally to the Hampshire Record Office, where it now has the reference 46M72 and 7M87-110m87. At the same time the remnants of the holdings of the museum of the Hartley Institution were transferred to Southampton City Museums, with the exception of some of the rock collections, which remain in the Geology Department. The maintenance of the Cope collection as a collection of materials of local interest continues, although its accessions are now almost exclusively printed.

Acquiring the Wellington and Broadlands archives
A new chapter of the University’s archive collecting commenced in 1983, when the papers of the first Duke of Wellington were allocated to the University under the national heritage legislation. There are close links between the University and the Dukes of Wellington: the seventh Duke became in 1952 the first Chancellor of the new University of Southampton, the fruition of a campaign supported by his family for a university of Wessex. Further significant acquisitions of manuscripts ensued, the Broadlands archive in 1985-7 (including the Palmerston and Mountbatten papers), followed by accessions of supporting collections. The conversion of a part of the University Library in 1982-3 to provide appropriate accommodation for the Wellington Papers was followed in 1987 by the provision of new archive strongrooms and an enlarged reading room.

The official opening of the Wellington Suite, 14 May 1983. Dr Chris Woolgar shows a bound volume of the papers to the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.

The official opening of the Wellington Suite, 14 May 1983. Dr Chris Woolgar shows a bound volume of the papers to the Duke and Duchess of Wellington.

The development of the Anglo-Jewish collections
The University has had through the collections of C.G.Montefiore, a former President of the University College, and through the library of Dr James Parkes, a special interest in papers concerning the relations of the Jewish people with other peoples; since 1989 this has been developed with a particular focus on the records of Anglo-Jewry, of national organisations and of individuals, and in 1990 many of the collections of the Anglo-Jewish Archives were transferred to the Library. The principal genealogical holdings of the Anglo-Jewish Archives, the Montefiore-Hyamson, D’Arcy Hart and Colyer-Fergusson collections were transferred at this date to the Society of Genealogists in London. In the range of these materials, the University and researchers have good reason to thank those individuals who, since 1963, had worked through Anglo-Jewish Archives towards the preservation of the records of the Anglo-Jewish community. A considerable number of major accessions relating to Anglo-Jewry has been received since 1990 and this continues to be an area where collecting is most active.

Expanded accommodation
As part of a major building project in the Hartley Library in 2002-4, the Special Collections accommodation was greatly enlarged. This included an additional strongroom and a new reading room, which doubled reader spaces. The extension also provided an opportunity to incorporate public exhibition space as an integral part of the library environment. This space includes the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery and the Level 4 Gallery.

Visitors to the Wellington and Waterloo exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery

Visitors to the Wellington and Waterloo exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery

The Special Collections Gallery was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund primarily for the display of material from the collections to encourage public awareness and access. The exhibition programme focuses on themes within the collection and links in with University academic activity including celebrations of research, conferences and contributions to national and international events and commemorations.

Recent developments
The range of collections continues to expand and develop with recent acquisitions including papers relating to Basque child refugees (MS 370 and MS 404), the papers of Ian Herman Karten (MS 409), and new collection of Wellington related material (MS 351/6). Meanwhile our first group of digitised collections are available to access online through the Virtual Reading Room, with other recent developments including the establishment of our social media channels, including our WordPress blog and Facebook page.

For updates on other developments and how the building project will impact on our services please visit our website at:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/.

Ian Karten, MBE

The papers of Ian Herman Karten, MBE (1920-2011) [MS 409 A4140] have recently been listed and are now available for research. Ian Karten was born in Vienna although to a family of Polish nationality.  At the age of 3 he moved to Duisburg in Germany where his father started a business.  Facing anti-Semitism at his German school, at 16 Karten was sent to a Jewish School in Cologne.  In 1938 he obtained a visa to come to England and studied Medical Engineering at Battersea College (now the University of Surrey).  He served in the RAF during World War Two.  At the end of the war he was assigned to an air disarmament unit which was set up to take over German airfields.

Kartenwithplanes

After the war, Karten worked with the RAF disarmament wing in Denmark and Germany

Almost all of Karten’s family died in the Holocaust including his father Israel, his brother Max, his sister Fanny and his grandfather Gedalia.  After the War, his mother Helen (Chanah) came to live with him in the UK.

IanFannyandMax

Karten (front) with his siblings Fanny and Max

In 1946 Karten joined Multitone Electronic Ltd.  He managed to turn this company around becoming Managing Director, Chairman and the CEO.

Karten met Mildred Hart at an Anglo-Jewish Association gathering in the 1960s; they married at the Chelsea Affiliated Synagogue in December 1968.

Ian and Mildred's wedding

Ian and Mildred’s wedding

The Ian Karten Charitable Trust was created after Karten sold his share in Multitone Electronics.  Its was established as a grant-making trust in 1980 to offer educational opportunities to those in need.

In 1996 the Trustees decided to devote a substantial part of the Trust’s resources to the establishment of centres for disabled people to be known as Computer-Aided Training, Education and Communication (CTEC) Centres. The first CTEC Centre was established in 1997 in Berkshire.

Since the 1990s, the Parkes Institute for the study of Jewish/Non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton has been a benefactor of the Karten Trust with the endowment of a lectureship, a fellowship and most recently, a post in outreach work.

After being awarded his honorary degree from the University of Southampton

Karten in his University of Southampton degree robes

In 1998 Karten was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Southampton. In 1999 he was awarded an MBE for his ‘services to charity’.  In 2000 he was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Haifa.

The collection includes correspondence with lawyers concerning reparations for losses suffered during the Holocaust, an extensive photographic collection including many photographs of Karten and his family in Germany prior to the war, papers respecting Karten’s purchase of shares in Multitone Electric Company and commemorative photographs, certificates and objects respecting the CTEC Centres.  Please see our website to find out how to access this material.

The Ian and Mildred Karten Memorial Lecture is part of the Parkes Institute annual lecture series and has been named to honour the generosity and interest shown by Ian and Mildred in the Parkes Institute. This year’s lecture “Imagining the Jewish Past: writing The Wolf in the Water, a play about Jessica, Shylock’s daughter?” is being given by Naomi Alderman. It takes place on 10 May 2016.

The travels of William Mogg, RN (1796-1875)

This week the public outcomes for students undertaking their second year History Group Projects will go live. They will include exhibitions, articles, presentations, websites and documentaries, with a number of projects drawing on material from Special Collections. Group 7’s project draws on the journals of William Mogg…

Christopher Columbus, Francis Drake, Marco Polo, James Cook, Robert Falcon Scott… These men all have one thing in common. They are famous explorers who made ground-breaking discoveries through their travels across the world. However, what most people don’t know is that we have our very own local traveller from here in Southampton: William Mogg. This figure, forgotten by history, was actually part of some of the most significant and famous voyages of exploration during the nineteenth century.

Photo of William Mogg wearing the medal presented to him ‘for Arctic discoveries, 1818-1855’ [MS 45 A0188]

Photo of William Mogg wearing the medal presented to him ‘for Arctic discoveries, 1818-1855’ [MS 45 A0188]

Born in 1796 in Woolston, Southampton, Mogg joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1811, serving in the continental blockade of the Napoleonic war. From 1821-5 he joined Captain Lyon and Sir William Parry on their Arctic expeditions on HMS Hecla and Fury, which Mogg describes in his second journal. He also travelled around South America from 1827-33 on HMS Beagle, an expedition on which Charles Darwin was also present on.

Although Mogg is not an established figure in the history of exploration, he played an important role aboard ship and his account of everyday life has proven very significant in enhancing our views of 19th century culture and attitudes.  He served as a clerk on Parry’s expeditions where he recorded meteorological material. His journals also include annotated copies of Robert Fitzroy’s Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and the Beagle, which describes the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe.

Throughout Mogg’s six journals he describes his travels to the Arctic, South America, Wales, the West of England, Switzerland and Italy, and within these he also includes a number of drawings, postcards and photographs which he collected during his travels. In his journals, Mogg recorded some incredible stories of his interactions with different native populations such as Arctic Esquimaux, Feugians, and the Patagonians. He immersed himself in the various cultures that he encountered, and has many tales to share of the people he met along the way. He talks of hunting trips he went on, games played with the natives, the languages he learned and even tattoos he was given! Mogg does not only provide interesting and humorous anecdotes, but grants us an insight into another time; a world very different to ours today.

The journals also provide a rare glimpse into the personal thoughts of a man who experienced more in four decades, than most people would in an entire lifetime. His attitudes to different cultures, places and people are fascinating, and his journals are a truly valuable piece of history that should be treasured by Southampton. William Mogg’s journals reveal just how important every member of a crew can be. Although history only notes the leaders of such voyages, Mogg shows that these men would never have been able to achieve the things they did, were it not for the crew which helped them along the way.

A group of second year history students are currently studying journals 2 and 3 from the University’s Special Collections and have created a website to present their fascinating research, aiming to shed light on the life and work of William Mogg, and bring his sadly unknown journeys to life.

Please visit http://www.moggexplored.fallows.org/ to find out more about one of Southampton’s lost historic figures.

Article by Hollie Geraghty

References

Southampton University Special Collections, <http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/cataloguedatabases/webguidemss45.page>,[Accessed 03/05/16].

Mogg, William, The Papers of William Mogg, 1811-c.1870, Journal 1, 2,3,6, Special Collections Division, Hartley Library, University of Southampton.

General Strike of 1926

The General Strike of 1926 was called by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in an attempt to prevent wage reduction and increased working hours for coal miners in the north of England, Scotland and Wales.

The coal industry had suffered greatly since the end of the First World War with the strike being the latest in a series of industrial disputes. While the dispute initially began in mining areas, other industry workers soon joined the miners in a move of solidarity. One of the key trigger events came as print workers in Fleet Street refused to print an edition of the Daily Mail containing a leading article attacking strike action. This led to a breakdown in negotiations between TUC and the government and resulted in TUC’s decision to proceed with a general strike which began on 4 May 1926. It was to be the first (and only) general strike in British history with the closing not just of mines, but transport, newspapers, docks and power stations. In total, somewhere between 1.5 and 1.75 million workers took part in industrial action.

The first issue of The British Worker, 5 May 1926. The paper was published by TUC for the duration of the strike and was printed on the presses of the Daily Herald.

The first issue of The British Worker, 5 May 1926. The paper was published by TUC for the duration of the strike and was printed on the presses of the Daily Herald.

However, the government was prepared and took control of the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies (OMS) which had been set up the previous year to provide volunteers in the event of a general strike. In London, and elsewhere, efforts were made to ensure essential public services continued with a food depot set up in Hyde Park for volunteers and transport workers. Among those working at the depot were Jeanne Malcolm and Edwina Mountbatten, later Countess Mountbatten of Burma (pictured below). At the same time, Edwina’s father, Wilfrid Ashely, then Minister for Transport, was busy arranging contingency plans for transport services.

The government also ran an aggressive propaganda campaign which included the publication of The British Gazette, a highly patriotic newspaper which ran articles condemning the actions of the strikers while at the same time playing on growing fears of communism. As a result, the strikers failed to win over the middle classes with many instead volunteering as strike-breakers.

Photograph of Jeanne Malcolm and Edwina Mountbatten, Hyde Park canteen organisers during the General Strike of 1926 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB1/K190B]

Photograph of Jeanne Malcolm and Edwina Mountbatten, Hyde Park canteen organisers during the General Strike of 1926 [MS 62 Broadlands Archives MB1/K190B]

In a letter written by Henrietta Joseph, dated 18 May 1926, she discussed her experience of the strike:

“The strike was the most extraordinary experience I have ever known. There was not the horror and the anxiety of the war; but there was greater strangeness. One woke into a foreign world, where things were not done for us, one had to do one’s own arranging and fixing. Everyone was a pioneer. Life became an adventure. There were no newspapers. Letters were few and came seldom. Centuries of civilisation were swept away. As in the war, we all fraternised with one another. As days followed strange day, the resources of civilisation began to be foreshadowed rather than actually to appear as we got to know how things began. Gradually these young lords and varsity men became increasingly efficient at their jobs. The railways began to lose some of their amateurishness. One or two papers began to come out – almost life-like – in some cases there were 4 pages. The Times actually published a list of births, marriages and deaths. There was a side issue of an extra strike in Marylebone. The scavengers were out. No collecting of refuse. Then four varsity cricketers ran a dust cart of their own. On it was printed the legend ‘England collects the ashes’. Edwin was a special constable guarding our electric power station. (Amateurs ran the power stations.) We were all getting ‘into’ it. The world was starting again and doing its business in quite another way but doing it quite well. A millennium of sociability and brotherly love had begun. The universe was one big family party. Class distinctions were wiped out and then all of a sudden last Wednesday the general strike was called off. Gradually the world shook itself and came out of its dream. Now we are almost normal, it’s a matter of fact. We have passed through a great disaster, which politically and commercially we shall feel adversely for a long time, but it was a wonderful experience.”

MS 335 A2045/6/15

On 12 May 1926, after 9 days of action, the TUC announced their decision to call off the strike, having failed to significantly disrupt services. The miners eventually returned to work with their pay reduced and working hours extended. A year later, the government passed the Trade Disputes Act of 1927 making the type of sympathetic strike action that had created the General Strike illegal.