Lawrence Special subject course

Politics and class conflict in the 1920's

A selection of primary sources from Churchill Archives Centre selected by Jon Lawrence to support his third-year Special Subject course in History 'Class, Party and Social Identity in England, 1914-1945.' These texts are drawn from the Churchill, Amery and Bevin papers, which are among the many important collections of political papers held at Churchill Archives Centre.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the documents.

Copyright notice

The following documents are reproduced with the permission of the copyright holders, and should not be further copied or published without permission. They are also available on a CD that can be loaned to students only, on an overnight or over-weekend basis.

Documents

Leaflet from Leo Amery's 1922 election campaign for Birmingham Sparkbrook

Two-sided, colour Union Jack flyer "Empire Trade/Better Times". This is a leaflet from Leo Amery's 1922 campaign for Birmingham Sparkbrook.

Two-sided, colour Union Jack flyer "Empire Trade/Better Times".Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/12, 1922

Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/12, 1922


Reverse of a leaflet from Leo Amery's 1922 election campaign for Birmingham Sparkbrook

This is the reverse side of a leaflet from Leo Amery's 1922 campaign for Birmingham Sparkbrook. Note especially the appeal to women voters by emphasising the "discontent and hatred" that socialism would bring. Arguments such as this played their part in encouraging politicians on all sides to disavow fractious forms of public politics after 1913.

Reverse of a leaflet from Leo Amery's 1922 election campaign for Birmingham Sparkbrook.  Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/12, 1922

Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/12, 1922


Poster from Leo Amery's 1923 election campaign

'Unemployment and Drunkenness'. A classic populist Conservative attack on Liberal faddism which could as easily have appeared in the 1890s as the 1920s. By then Amery's principal local opponents were Labour rather than Liberal, so this may have been attempted to mop up any residual working-class Liberal votes in the constituency. Sparkbrook was a fairly poor inner-city constituency and one of the great strongholds of working-class toryism.

Poster from Leo Amery's 1923 election campaign.  Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/11, 1923

Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/11, 1923


Poster from Leo Amery's 1924 election campaign

 	Poster from Leo Amery's 1924 election campaign. Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/12, 1924

Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/12, 1924


Leo Amery's letter to his party leader Bonar Law, October 1922

Leo Amery's letter to his party leader Bonar Law, 24 October 1922. Amery had drafted Bonar Law's election address - in effect the Conservative Party manifesto for the General Election, and is explaining the approach he has taken. Particularly striking is his reference to omitting much of "the 'zip' of old time electioneering" in favour of an emphasis on "safety first" (the slogan that would become notorious for its prominence in Baldwin's fateful 1929 campaign).

Leo Amery's letter to his party leader Bonar Law, October 1922. Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/10, 1922

Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 4/10, 1922


Ernest Bevin's statement on the General Strike, May 1926

Bevin's statement on the General Strike to T&GWU Area Secretaries Committee, 27 May 1926 [13pp]. This statement was made two weeks after the TUC General Council had called off the strike, leaving the miners to fight the employers' lock-out alone. Bevin is clearly trying to present his role in the strike, and its manifest failure to save the miners. His comments on the false promises of government and on bitter battles to reinstate striking T&G men, especially those in clerical grades after the return to work, are especially interesting.

Ernest Bevin's statement on the General Strike, May 1926. Reference: Bevin Papers, BEVN II 7/7, 1926. Pages 1-2


Churchill's speech notes on the General Strike, June 1926

Churchill's notes for a speech on the situation after the General Strike given at Hornsey on 19 June 1926. Here Churchill reiterates his strong opposition to the General Strike as an "illegal and unconstitutional conspiracy," but in other respects his tone is more conciliatory than in May.

Churchill's speech notes on the General Strike, June 1926. Pages 1-Reference: Churchill Papers, CHAR 9/77, 1926. Reproduced by kind permission of Curtis Brown Ltd on behalf of Mr Winston S. Churchill.

Pages 1-2

Pages 3-4

Pages 5-6

Pages 7-8

Reference: Churchill Papers, CHAR 9/77, 1926. Reproduced by kind permission of Curtis Brown Ltd on behalf of Mr Winston S. Churchill.


Leo Amery's diary entries during the General Strike, May 1926

Typescript diary, 2-4 and 10-12 May 1926. These pages from Leo Amery's diary give a contemporary flavour of attitudes to the crisis within government - one striking feature is Amery's apparent nonchalance to the "constitutional crisis," which at times barely appears to interfere with his normal routine as a minister (he was Colonial Secretary).

Leo Amery's diary entries during the General Strike, May 1926. Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 7/20, 1926. Pages 1-2

Reference: Amery Papers, AMEL 7/20, 1926