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24463988

Strike in Coventry December, 1917

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24463988

Greetings,

I am researching a strike in Coventry held apparently in demand of higher wages and recognition of shop stewards in early December, 1917.

Unfortunately copyright law forbids me sharing the specific images I am working with, but does anyone have any idea which particular factory would have had an ALLAN & NEWTON MEMORIAL HALL attached to it?

Grateful for any info.

Best wishes,

MB

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sueburden

MB

This may have be of no use, but there was a Newtons Drapers in Hertford Street, Coventry. They also had a branch in Foleshill Road, Coventry. During WW1 they were selling munitions overalls.

Sue

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24463988

Thanks, Sue. All leads help.

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Moonraker

I expect you've tried the local newspapers. What about

Historical directories

(Mind you, I've often been puzzled by what's not listed in Kelly's Directory for Wiltshire 1915. Yesterday I couldn't find in it a farm near Ramsbury mentioned in contemporary records as housing German PoW working parties, but there it was on a modern map.)

Moonraker

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Terry_Reeves

MB

I have a particular interest in Coventry and WW1. The strike,as you say, was principally about wages and the recognition of shop stewards, or more particularly their right to negotiate on behalf of their members. It lasted for seven days was discussed in Parliament and condemned by the national press. The principal concern was that it was affecting aircraft production at a critical period of the war - Coventry factories produced a quarter of all aircraft manufactured in WW1. I have a fair amount of information about Coventry engineering firms, as well as the many memorials in the city, but have not come across this particular one. If you can give a bit more context to your research, I will see what I can do to help.

TR

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kenf48

Why do you think the hall was attached to a factory?

As Terry says it's estimated 50, 000 aircraft and munitions workers were on strike. The engineering workshops varied in size and they would have held many meetings in suitable assembly or church halls. As they were probably more 'methodist than marxist' it would not be surprising for them to meet in a church hall, even though one contemporary columnist writing in the Times accused them of 'murder'.

Without the context suggested above probably your best bet would be large scale OS maps, perhaps held in the Coventry Archives but definitely at TNA

Ken

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Alan Tucker

There is a volume of cuttings relating to strikes at this time in the Local Studies section of the main Library

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Terry_Reeves

Alan

It has all been moved to the History Centre at the Herbert Museum.

TR

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24463988

I am very grateful.

I am a picture librarian for a major news organisation and am in the process of surveying and scanning the surviving Great War period negatives of three national newspapers - two of which no longer publish. I have been a member of this forum for a few years but have confined myself to battlefield touring with friends more than doing any research or joining discussions. So, rest assured I have not turned up on a mission of commercial gain. I want to see the material used and hope to get as much of it ready in time for 2014. The actual amount of negatives, I do not know. Both the collections I have access to were badly depleted by the WW2 Blitz and post war deletions to make space - an almost traditional newspaper problem from the period when the concept of photo archives had not taken hold. This work is a passion for me and I will happily ask questions on here to fill my knowledge gap. Unfortunately I am forbidden to share these images on this forum or anywhere else, and I have to keep the commercial details private. So, I hope you'll be patient. It is frustrating, but atleast I am doing something important. Not bad considering I've been in the trade for 35 years.

Many thanks,

MB

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Terry_Reeves

MB

I am afraid that does not help at all. I have checked the various Coventry Directories and Allan and Newton does not appear. Can I ask again for the context . I appreciate that the images are subject to copyright, but unless there is more information I fear that you will not get the information you require. If the information is so confidential, please contact me by the forum PM system.

TR

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kenf48

To be fair I thought that was a reasonable explanation

Now for a totally left field suggestion

The Wesleyan Home Missions Committee opened a building for the use of munitions workers in Holbrook Lane Coventry in 1917, it closed in 1925. I don't know if it had a name but,

Richard Allen (sic) and John Newton were famous evangelical slave trade abolitionists (Newton wrote Amazing Grace) afaik neither had any connection to Coventry but I'm originally from Kettering (Coventry was originally in the Northamptonshire Circuit and is about 35 miles away) which is so proud of it's abolitionist tradition its on the town coat of arms. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility a 'Memorial Hall' would be named after them, then again it could be simply a couple of workers.

As I say no evidence - yetthumbsup.png

perhaps someone local can help, the local papers would have covered the opening I imagine

Ken

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24463988

MB

I am afraid that does not help at all. I have checked the various Coventry Directories and Allan and Newton does not appear. Can I ask again for the context . I appreciate that the images are subject to copyright, but unless there is more information I fear that you will not get the information you require. If the information is so confidential, please contact me by the forum PM system.

TR

The image shows a large group of workers posing for the camera. Maybe a hundred to two hundred men (no ladies or boys). The factory is visible in the background and in a few of the other frames (total of five from an original set of twelve). The factory has two or four broad width chimneys and in this particular shot the group of men stand in front of a hall with the name Allan and Newton Memorial Hall in the stonework above the door. The two dates pix were taken were 1st and 3rd December, 1917. In latter years the library index job numbers for images were scratched into the rebate of frames and during the Great War period effort was usually made to inscribe the subject in brief terms. Sadly these frames have nothing added. The flimsy envelopes negatives were stored in have deteorated and in many cases disappeared. The original diaries, like ledgers, are golddust and we still have the card index. Navigating it is another issue altogether! - even with my experience. The diary for 1917 is the oldest we have - previous volumes for 1910 - 16 were lost in WW2. My reason for posting was to make a decent caption because I have sad experience of poorly managed projects where good captioning would reap dividends but is often lacking. In the past it would have sufficed to just say Coventry strike - 1917 and leave it at that, but to me this misses the responsibility of passing these images down with as much info as could be provided. I am well aware it might not be possible to be very detailed in all cases - but it is something I pride myself in. It doesn't matter if I revisit these pix later - these things can slow burn. While running this project I also have to do daily work with modern pix and prepare to move the whole collection to a new site - 50 million individual images and negative frames all in - weighing several tons - much of it incredibly fragile.

I am going to see if I can get permission to show the pix with large watermarks - because I value the input of this forum and recognise it is hard to do this without the image and no etchasketch! thanks again for your patience and support.

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Terry_Reeves

MB

Thanks for that, it was a big help. I believe the memorial hall was named after William Allan and William Newton. Allan, who died in 1874, was one of the founding fathers of the TUC, and was also General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. William Newton was the Secretary of the London branch of the Union ( also running a pub close to ASE HQ in Peckham as a side-line) and worked closely with Allan to build up the union membership in the mid-19th century. I have yet to track down the site of the building, however, when I get the opportunity I will look further now that I have some direction. I will also check the ASE Minutes book for the Coventry branch to see if I am on the right track.

TR

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NigelS

Apologies if I may have missed mention of it on reading through, but has the possibility of a link with a photograph catalogued in the records of the ASE held at the University of Warwick been considered? 'Googling' using "ALLAN AND NEWTON MEMORIAL HALL" finds the catalogue details for it; unfortunately it's given as an 'unidentified photograph' so it looks unlikely that it will shed any more light on the location, or any more information than is already known.

NigelS

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24463988

Terry - fantastic stuff. I am very grateful for this info. Thanks also to Ken and Nigel. I know it is only a small thing (perhaps) - but it all adds to the overall effect. I expect I'll be back with other enquiries...and I've only opened one box of negatives.

MB

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