PortCities London

The Great Dock Strike of 1889

Mobilizing support

Original entrance to the East India Docks.
View full size imageThe dockers established pickets at the gates of the East India Docks. © NMM

Picketing the docks

The Strike Committee organised mass meetings and established pickets outside the dock gates. They persuaded men still at work and 'blacklegs' to come out on strike.

As Tillett recalled, 'We had 16,000 pickets on at one time under their Captains, Lieutenants, and Sergeants, divided and sub-divided with military precision'.


As the men gathered at the dock gates there were accusations that they were intimidating those who stayed at work. One observer wrote to The Times to complain.

The coal heavers' float during a procession in the 1889 strike
View full size imageThe coal heavers' float in a procession during the 1889 strike. © NMM
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