London [and elsewhere]: Various Publishers, (1926). Important archive of primary documents relating to the 1926 General Strike in Great Britain which, though brief and a failure from the syndicalist point of view, would nonetheless be the only General Strike in British history. The event also established a pattern for Tory suppression of radical labour, including the use of "emergency" legislative measures and the mass distribution of propaganda through state-run media. Ironically, the strike also presaged a massive sweep to power of the Labour Party in the years immediately following, a wave which was at least in part a response to the repressive measures employed by the Conservatives against the Trades Union Congress in the General Strike.
Of primary interest here is the complete run of eight issues of The British Gazette, a government propaganda sheet edited (and including numerous contributions by) Winston Churchill, who was at this time Chancellor of the Exchequer. Depending upon one's point of view, the Gazette marked something of a low-point in Churchill's career: though it claimed to be filling a journalistic void created by striking newspaper workers, Churchill's paper was more or less a pure exercise in disinformation, filled with intentional inaccuracies intended to build public sentiment against the strikers and to demoralize participants in the strike. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was said to have given Churchill the Gazette job "...to keep him busy, and to keep him from doing worse things" (see John M. Davidson, Memoirs of a Conservative); the newspaper's prevarications so galled professional journalists that one was moved to write: "One of the worst outrages which the country had to endure - and to pay for - in the course of the strike, was the publication of the British Gazette. This organ, throughout the seven days of its existence, was a disgrace alike to the British Government and to British journalism" (Kingsley Martin in The New Statesman, May 15, 1926).
Also included here are several other private news sheets, indicative of the hunger for information felt by British populace suddenly without any reliable source of news; and a broadside, without imprint but likely issued by HMSO as a prospectus of sorts announcing the imminent publication of the Gazette. Fifteen pieces including printed periodicals and ephemera. Contents generally fresh and well-preserved; a few with original folds from distribution; Very Good. The entirety housed in a custom folding cloth chemise and quarter-morocco slipcase. Includes:
• The British Gazette. Vol 1, no 1 - Vol 1, no 8 (all issued). Lon: HMSO, May 5- May 13, 1926. All issues in excellent state of preservation, with slight tenderness (but no tears or loss) at the horizontal and vertical mailing folds.
• Strike Bulletin. Bradford: TheYorkshire Observer. 2 issues. [no. 1], May 5, 1926 & no. 6, May 11, 1926. Mimeographed sheets, corner stapled; 5pp + 6pp. Horizontal folds at bottom 2”, whether from storage or distribution uncertain. “Cessation of work by the whole Technical and Labouring staff of “The Yorkshire Observer” - without notice, and in flagrant disregard of their contracts of service - has made it necessary for us to present these small sheets instead of a normal newspaper.”
• London Daily Express. 2 issues. Nos. 8126-27 (May 12-13, 1926); 1 + 4pp. Both issues severely abbreviated due to work stoppages.
• Mayfair Bulletin. Giving the Latest Strike, Home & Foreign News. 14th May, 1926. Lon: April Showers, Ltd. Mimeographed on pink paper, corner stapled, with horizontal folds from distribution.
• Broadside: Emergency Bulletin! Strike to Continue - No prospect of Early Settlement. Sans imprint. Letterpress, recto-only; ca 26 x 21cm (10” x 8”); type in single column below double rule. Announces a number of emergency measures to replace striking transportation, newspaper and dairy workers, including the pending appearance of The British Gazette. OCLC locates one copy only (British Library).
• Handbill: Hurley’s Library Free Bulletin. Obtainable twice daily at Hurley’s Newspaper Counter without charge. [May 10, 1926); ca 25cm x 10cm (10” x 4”); printed both sides of sheet. Announces latest strike news; verso bears headline: “Hurley’s - our Library Service is Not on Strike!”.