GAS STOKERS STRIKE 1872

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers relating to the Gas Stokers' Strike at the Beckton Works of the GasLight and Coke Company, 1872, including Central Criminal Court papersconcerning criminal cases arising from the strike, correspondence, TradesUnion Congress printed papers and press cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1872 two workers at the Beckton Works of the Gas Light and Coke Company,Edward Jones and Thomas Dilley, presented a document to the managers of theworks requesting 6d per day advance for the coal wheelers employed at theworks. The next day Dilley was given seven days' notice to leave the works.This prompted the workers to go on strike, demanding that Dilley bereinstated. Five of the strikers, including Edward Jones, were prosecuted bythe Central Criminal Court, and were sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment for'conspiring, with threats, to coerce the Beckton Gas Company'.

The Gas Stokers' Defence Committee was subsequently set up to providefinancial support to the families of the imprisoned strikers. The committeealso sent a letter of appeal to the Home Secretary, and the sentences weresubsequently commuted to four months' imprisonment.

In 1889 employees from the same works were laid off, prompting theestablishment of the National Union of Gasworkers and General Labourers. TheUnion entered negotiations with the works and succeeded in having theworkers' twelve hour working day reduced to 8 hours throughout the industry.The Union soon had over 20,000 members.

Arrangement

Two files

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