Food Prices – Denaby’s Protest

February 1915

Mexborough and Swinton Times February 20, 1915

Food Prices
Denaby’s Protest

A largely attended meeting to protest against the prevalent food prices was held in the Picture Hall at Denaby on Sunday morning.

Mr B.L.Smith (President of the Mexborough and District trades and Labour Council ) presided, and in the course of his opening remarks he said that some of the noblest and best had responded to the country’s call, but when they consider the unwarranted increase in the price of commodities there are inclined to ask whether the sacrifice was worth making. Wheat had increased over 72% of the price of last year, and 66% over the three years average, but their wages had not increased.

The Government could command the railways and become the bankers, and he (the speaker) said they should take over the shipping and control the foodstuffs. (Here, here)

Councillor T.Hill propose the following resolution:
“that we, the workers of the Denaby and Cadeby Main Colonies, strongly condemns the unspeakable greed and lack of patriotism on the part of the great shipping interests and others in artificially forcing up the price of food, and thus exploiting the national situation for private profit and advantage; and more strongly urge the government to once take full possession of the foodstuffs and ships.”

The speaker said he was one of those men who rather die fighting for the trade union cause than by fighting enemies at the front, and it was high time they began to protest against the present prices going on any longer. He would be the last man to preach sedition, but it was simply for the Government to lay down a law that prizes that obtain before the war to continue doing 1915, are until the end of the war. What would they do if the people surrounding were to march to the farmers and demand goods at the price they were paying in 1914? He said they will be within their rights in saying to a farmer:
“We will not steal it, but we will pay for it at the price at which you sold in 1913.”
They paid no more for their ground, no more for their seed, no more for their labour, and yet they received over 100% more than they did in 1913.

Mr J Hall (Swinton) briefly seconded the resolution.
Councillor L Jones (Mexborough) in supporting that man’s inhumanity to man was making countless ages mourn, and he was convinced that something would have to be done, and be done quickly, for he was not willing to stand by and see that business continue; to see men and women dying of one while others were living in luxury – and he will be one of the that army of volunteers to go forward and bring such people down.

The resolution, which was carried, was also supported by Councillor Slack (Rotherham) who said that the Government should defend the people and see that no advantage was taken of their breakfast table.