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General Strike Day 5: Saturday 8 May 1926

Food convoy, London

[Photograph of military escort for the food convoy, London, from a General Strike photograph album]

As is only natural on a Saturday, the tension of the early days of the emergency is appreciably relaxed, and the holiday spirit has forced itself to the front"

BBC news broadcast, 7pm

  • The Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin uses the 9.30pm BBC radio news bulletin to broadcast to the nation - the first time a British Prime Minister had done this during a national crisis. He had earlier issued the statement that: "Every man who does his duty by his country and remains at work or returns to work during the present crisis will be protected by the State from loss of Trade Union benefits, Superannuation Allowances or Pensions. H.M. Government will take whatever steps are necessary in Parliament or otherwise for this purpose".
  • Details of the proposed settlement put forward by the Archbishop of Canterbury, on behalf of leaders of the Christian churches, are printed in 'The British Worker' and 'The Times', but not by the government newspaper 'The British Gazette'.
  • The Governor of Northern Ireland declares a State of Emergency.
  • Regent's Park, London, is closed to the public (although the zoo remains open). Victoria Park has also been closed and the military authorities are using it as a camp.
  • At Whitehall and royal residences including Buckingham Palace, ceremonial guards are replaced by armed soldiers in service uniforms.
  • The Trade Union Congress National Transport Committee calls for all permits issued to motor vehicles by local strike committees to be reviewed, due to the government's refusal to co-operate with the trade unions over the transport of food, abuses of the scheme, and the attitude of certain police authorities. The government newspaper 'The British Gazette' describes the trade unions' transport restrictions as an "organised attempt to starve the nation".
  • A convoy of lorries carrying flour, with an escort of 16 armoured cars, cavalry and mounted police, travels from the London Docks to Hyde Park. It is watched by a large and peaceful crowd.
  • A check for approximately £5000 is received by the Trades Union Congress General Council from the All Russian Central Council of Trade Unions. After discussion the TUC refuses to accept it.
  • Magistrates in Edinburgh order the pubs to be closed today from 3pm.
  • "Fresh outburst of rowdyism and slight looting" in Glasgow, during the night.
  • Rioting in Hull today and tomorrow, soldiers with fixed bayonets are called in to one area.
  • Tram service restarted in Plymouth, vehicles are attacked and some tram windows smashed. Elsewhere in the city, several thousand attend a friendly football match between a team of policemen and team of strikers. The strikers win 2-0.
  • During the evening police in Newcastle baton charge protestors.
  • The Mayor of Northampton issues a message of congratulation to the town on the maintenance of peace and good order.
  • A special church service for strikers is held at St Albans Cathedral, addressed by the Bishop of St Albans. Around 1,500 people attend.
  • 'The Daily Telegraph' reports that 200 ex-Cavalrymen and polo players have volunteered to serve as extra mounted police.

Selected sources:

See all digitised sources for Day 5