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


Eviction of a soldier's wife and family at Shettleston, 12 June 1915

image from Red Clydeside collection

This article by John Wheatley was instrumental in bringing the related issue's of war-time rent increases, landlord profiteering and evictions of working class tenants to the forefront of national political debate in 1915. The ILP with Wheatley at the helm were able to mount a successful three-pronged campaign against the landlord's attempts to increase rents in working class munitions districts of Glasgow.

Firstly the ILP, along with local women such as Mary Barbour, helped organise a successful campaign of non-payment of rents. Secondly they raised the public profile of the rents struggle by presenting the tenant's case for rent restrictions in the press, the courtrooms and before the governments official enquiry into rent rises. Thirdly and perhaps most importantly they were able to articulate the tenants sense of moral outrage at rental increases into a powerful propaganda weapon against the 'Profit huns'.

Lloyd-George's government, fearing further delays and obstructions to the manufacture of armaments on Clydeside introduced the Rent Restrictions Act in 1915. This Act prevented any increase in working class rentals for the duration of the war.

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