The Great Dock Strike of 1889
Women during the strike
While the men were on strike money was not coming into the house for food. Women therefore wandered the streets for hours searching for something to eat.
Everything that could be of any value was pawned. Suits, boots, handkerchiefs, jackets, work tools, dress material, dresses, shawls, underclothes, shirts, trousers, waistcoats, and even the bedding on which the families slept.
Landlords who tried to collect their rents faced resistance. A white banner was hung across Hungerford Street, Commercial Road, which said 'As we are on strike landlords need not call.'
Another at the top of Star Street, Commercial Road read:
And we all think it is right not to pay the landlord's money,
Everyone is on strike, so landlords do not be offended;
The rent that's due we'll pay you when the strike is ended.
As the strike progressed into its second and third weeks, there was great hardship in East London. By the end of August many dockers and their families were starving.
The employers' view
The employers were now confident that they would be able to force the men back to work:
During the strike the port was at a standstill and the dock companies were losing money.
Despite this, they believed that giving into the dockers' demands would set a dangerous precedent.
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