the Express & Star appeared during the General Strike of
of the General Strike was still hitting the West Midlands in
June in a dispute which had bitterly divided Britain. We had been
plunged into the confrontation immediately after the national coal
strike sparked off by the threat of a cut in wages.
But the General
Strike was called off after nine days, leaving the coal miners to
struggle on through a six-month dispute before agreeing to work
blamed both the General Strike and coal stoppage for a £2,000 loss
on tram and bus services in the area over a 46-day period.
But oddly enough
the strike appeared to have resulted in a business boom in Cannock
Chase with a sudden big demand for "smudge" - the finest possible
kind of dust-like slack coal which was normally dealt with by piling
it up in small mountains.
Its usual price
was three shillings and sixpence a ton, but in the miners continuing
strike conditions it was fetching double that figure.
the "smudge" cost 18 shillings a ton to raise out of the pit so
the colliery companies could not be said to be making a fortune
by selling it at seven shillings a ton. "Smudge" was regarded as
useful emergency fuel for works - particularly in the electricity
and water industries.
of the workers was understandable. While fighting in the trenches
they had been promised a "land fit for heroes" when they returned
Britain was a wretched place. Millions lived in appalling conditions,
unemployment was rife and those who were working had few rights.
that nothing short of a Soviet-style revolution would make things
better. In the General Strike troops were called in to run the trains
and to keep the docks open.
came to a standstill, but a few newspapers, including Winston Churchill's
British Gazette and the Express & Star, managed to keep going in
Henry Seagrave in the four-litre V12
Sunbeam in which he set the world flying kilometre record at Southampton
Sands in 1926.
let fly . . . An
incident on a train involving two members of the "Live and Let Live"
theatre company ended in the Walsall court in May.
While on the
train a dispute arose about a song and the company manager, a man
of "ungovernable passions," lost his temper and struck company member
Dolly Dennis, grabbing her by the throat.
Patrick Hughes, who gave his address to the magistrates as The Grand
Theatre, was summoned for assaulting the woman.
He denied striking
the fellow artist and claimed she "carried on like a fiend". The
court chairman fined the manager one pound and suggested that in
future he carried out the motto on his programme.
Square and Darlington Street, Wolverhampton in 1926
News in brief
. . . Wolverhampton's
new Wulfruna Street Technical College was officially opened by Princess
Mary Viscountess Inscelle in May.
There was a
tragedy at Walsall's Moss Close in April when a five year old boy
was accidentally shot in the head by his 14-year-old brother, who
was practising with his father's rifle.