Bullets for bread! the Featherstone massacre

A contemporary article by David Nicoll on the Featherstone massacre and the futility of parliamentary politics. On 7th September, 1893, locked-out miners in the pit town of Featherstone, West Yorkshire confronted their bosses. In response, troops were called in and they proceeded to fire on the workers. Published in the The Anarchist: A Revolutionary Journal of Anarchist Communism.

Submitted by wojtek on March 3, 2012



10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Glimmer on June 11, 2013

An account of another strike, reproduced from Rearguard Action, anarchist zine from Huddersfield.


In the summer of 1869 a riot occurred in the town which had considerable effect on the subsequent policing of public disturbances in Great Britain. On 17 May 1869, John Young, the English manager of the nearby Leeswood Green Colliery, angered his workers by announcing a pay cut. He had previously strained relationships with them by banning the use of the Welsh language underground.

Two days later, following a meeting at the pithead, the miners attacked John before frogmarching him to the police station. Seven men were arrested and ordered to stand trial on Wednesday 2 June. All were found guilty and the convicted ringleaders, Ismael Jones and John Jones, were sentenced to a month's hard labour. A large crowd had assembled to hear the verdict, and the Chief Constable of Flintshire had arranged for police from all over the county and soldiers from The King's Own Regiment Chester to be present. As the convicts were being transported to the railway station the crowd grew restive and threw missiles at the officers, injuring many of them.

On the command of their C.O., Captain Blake, the soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing four people including one completely innocent bystander, Margaret Younghusband. She was a 19 year old girl, a domestic servant from Liverpool. She was observing events from the nearby high ground. The ball entered her thigh severing her femoral artery. She bled to death. The others killed were Robert Hannaby a collier from Moss, near Wrexham. He was shot in the head in the act of throwing a stone and died instantly. Edward Bellis, another collier, was shot in the abdomen. A local doctor, Dr Platt, performed surgery to remove the ball but Bellis died shortly afterwards. Elizabeth Jones, living at Coed Talon, wife of collier Isaac Jones, was shot in the back and died days later from the injury.

The following week Isaac Jones was one of a number of men tried for their involvement in the riot. He was allowed bail to attend the funeral of his wife. Although he strenuously denied the connection, Daniel Owen's first novel, Rhys Lewis, published in instalments in1882-1884, was heavily based on these events. Daniel Owen was a writer who lived in Mold.