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


Cartoon entitled 'Business: better than usual', 23 Jan 1915

image from Red Clydeside collection

Landlords in the main munitions areas of Britain were quick to realise the financial gains which could be made from the increased demand for housing in vital munitions districts during the first world war. The first signs of the troubles ahead in Glasgow came within months of the beginning of the war when it was reported that factors were intimidating dependents of workers, who had left to fight the war in France, to pay increased rents.

Over the course of the following two years the labour movement on Clydeside mounted a vigorous challenge to attempts by landlords to increase rents. The ILP in tandem with local women's housing groups and with the support of skilled workers in munitions factories and shipyards, led a campaign for the return to pre-war rents in all working class districts.

Under pressure from parallel protests in other British munitions centres such as Birkenhead, Woolwich and Sheffield the government conceded and introduced legislation prevented the raising of rents in working class districts for the duration of the war.

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