Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Poster displayed in windows during Glasgow rent strikes, 1915

published by Glasgow Labour Party Housing Association

image from Red Clydeside collection

The outbreak of war in 1914, and the sudden migration of thousands of workers into munitions districts in Glasgow, intensified pressure on available housing. Many landlords saw this as an ideal opportunity to increase rents, which quickly led to increased hardship for many working class households led by women.

Women from these areas organised to resist threats of evictions from landlords and began a campaign of non-payment of rents which forced the government to pass legislation preventing any war-time increases in rents.

The rent strikes saw the first mass organisation and involvement of Glasgow working class women in political agitation, and fostered the later activities of many of them in the wider Labour movement, notably Mary Barbour and Agnes Dollan.

Source: Gallacher Memorial Library, Glasgow Caledonian University Special Collections and Archives