This film is part of Free

General Strike Off

Smithfield Market is barricaded and Hyde Park turned into a milk depot, as London tries to cope with the 1926 General Strike.

Non-Fiction 1926 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


The 1926 General Strike saw workers all over Britain withhold labour in support of the miners. Railwaymen, drivers, dockers and printers went on strike, with London heavily affected. This film shows the final day of the strike – 12 May 1926 – and features a close-up of a letter posted outside the Trade Union Congress HQ in Eccleston Square announcing the end of strike action. It also shows figures such as Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and JH Thomas, a Labour minister.

The film, which is slightly damaged in places and may have a small section missing, focuses on the role of volunteers and soldiers, who helped kept London functioning. We see a barricaded Smithfield Market, Soldiers in armoured cars are parked outside a barricaded Smithfield Market, while drivers collect milk from a depot created in Hyde Park. Later, volunteers unload food at Albert Dock and volunteer bus drivers are seen sleeping and eating at Chiswick bus depot, where they were ‘living in’.