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Preston lock-out was only one more manifestation of a 'strike fever' which 'raged across the country' Working men who had accepted a reduction in their wages in the hungry 1840s read in the press about growing national prosperity, and demanded the 10 per cent be restored (i).

Below are two pictures that were probably drawn by the strikers or their sympathisers. A knobstick is a name given by workmen to one who during a strike or lock-out continues to work on the master's terms; a black-leg [OED]

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The legend at the foot of the second picture is ‘THE WARPING AND WINDING ROOM HANOVER ST MILL’ The chap on the left in the top-hat is called ‘THE MASTER’ and he says: ‘I am quizzing(1) you, my beauties’. The fellow in green is ‘THE OVERLOOKER’, and is saying (presumably to the little boy in red who’s shinned up the loom): ‘I say you young devil come down you are sure to be kilt’. And the red-haired woman is saying: ‘Sure a now the devils skure to yes Mike come down wid yes’.(ii) This looks like an attempt to render Irish speech.

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(i) Smith A, The Preston Strike 1853-1854 History Today. https://www.historytoday.com/anne-smith/preston-strike-1853-1854
(ii) https://rhulvictorian.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/hard-times-2-preston-lock-out/

 

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