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


Letter from Sir William Weir to Sir Robert Home, 14 Aug 1919

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At the outbreak of the First World War, Sir William Weir was Chairman of Weir's of Cathcart, a large engineering works situated in the South Side of Glasgow. As one of the major Glasgow engineering works involved in the production of munitions Weirs experienced the growing influence of the CWC and the rise in industrial militancy linked to the introduction of 'dilution'.

The rise in industrial and political militancy during the First World War inspired fear within many sections of the British political establishment over a possible Bolshevik revolution on British soil. In order to combat these potential forces of revolution many within the established political order began to organise anti-socialist and counter-propaganda groups. William Weir with his experience as a major employer and as a government minister was one of those who was proactive in preventing the growing influence of left-wing political ideology and trade union strength.

According to the Lord Weir's private correspondence, between August and September of 1919 there occurred a flurry of activity aimed at attracting his membership to and financial support for, right wing anti-socialist propaganda groups. Weir's correspondence from this time details moves made by 3 groups to solicit his support. These three groups being The Reconstruction Society, Freedom of Britain Movement and an unnamed grouping headed by Conservative MPs Edmund Talbot and F.E.Guest. It is thought that Weir eventually lent his support to The Freedom of Britain Movement