Strike–fund box from the Stoke Canon papermakers’ strike

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Strike–fund box from the Stoke Canon papermakers’ strike

In the West Country the production of high-quality paper was a significant industry; one centre of the trade was the Exe valley. Tremlett's factory at Stoke Canon was one of the largest of such factories.

In 1907 members of the National Union of Printing and Paperworkers at the Stoke Canon factory struck for higher wages. Some of the workers lived in tied housing from which they were expelled and eleven families spent months in tents on the edges of the village. After a long and bitter dispute labour was brought down from the Midlands to replace the striking workers and many never regained their jobs.

This box was used to raise funds for the striking workers; it turned up in the 1980s underneath the floor of one of the leading activists in the strike. Beside it is displayed a postcard showing the evicted workers and their families 8 weeks after the strike had begun, with the tents provided by the union of Printing and Paperworkers in the background. Such postcards sold at a penny to help the Branch Voluntary Fund.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum