Today in London’s radical history: London bus strike ends, 1917.

The May 1917 London Bus strike seems to have been sparked when the London General Omnibus Company refused to recognise the Vehicle Workers Union. I haven’t yet been able to find out much about it, but it looks like it lasted a few days, and was mostly solid. Out of a total of 1900 buses, only 20 were running on May 13th!

The day after, it was reported that

“The situation in the London bus strike today has undergone very little change. There was a repetition this morning of yesterday’s scenes as thousands of workers proceeded to business. Trams and tubes absorbed much possible the extra traffic thrown upon them.”

Services were resumed on May 15 pending negotiations – after discussion the strike was ended on the 18th.

The strike was part of a huge wave of strikes in 1917, building as prices raises and wage constraints during the war hit hard, as knuckling under ‘to support the war effort’ began to crumble under disillusion with the war aims, horror at the casualities – and the surge of hope inspired by the February Russian Revolution…


An entry in the 2016 London Rebel History Calendar – check it out online

One comment

  1. carole heath · February 4, 2017

    I have looked into some of my family history. And Stuart Headlam who had a parish in Bethnal green London was one of my forbear’s. I. Lived in Bethnal green myself and did wonder if there was a there somewhere as a school and a road are named after him there. I also found out about Headlam association with the Fabian society and the London county council. I have an interest in literature and the fact that Headlam helped Oscar Wilde during his trial and I believe paid his bail for him. Headlam I have heard did a lot for the poor of Bethnal green in his time there.


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