Unrest among Young Single Miners Debarred from Relief – March to Doncaster

August 1926

Mexborough & Swinton Times, August 20, 1926

Unrest among Young Single Miners Debarred from Relief
March to Doncaster

The agitation which has been going on among the young single miners, who, under the Merthyr Tydfil judgement, are debarred from relief, came to a head last week-end, and on Saturday some hundreds of these young fellows from Conisborough, reinforced from Edlington, marched to Doncaster, with the intention of demanding relief from the Doncaster Board of Guardians.

Their intention was known, and they were met at Hexthrope by a band of mounted police, who dealt with them very kindly and tactfully, with the result that they were dispersed without any disorder. A deputation went on to the Board of Guardians and was heard sympathetically, though the Guardians were unable to give the single men any satisfaction, explaining that they themselves were strictly bound by the law, which provides that men involved in trade disputes may not be relieved under the Poor Law unless they are actually ill from under-feeding.

A number of the men were accommodated during the week-end at a hostel in Doncaster, and on Monday they held a meeting, and were addressed by one of the Labour members of the Board of Guardians, Mr. Tait, of Edlington. Some of the demonstrators undoubtedly bore traces of privation, and one or two of the men in the crowd fainted. A party of them interviewed the Clerk to the Guardians, who advised them to make separate and individual application to the Relieving Officer, and this advice, we understand, was adopted.

One of the single men who took part in the march gives us the following account of it: ‘We started off about 8.30 on Saturday morning, blithe and gay, led by women, and singing the ‘Red Flag.’ We took the main road to Doncaster, and everyone we met was in sympathy with us; even the police, when they turned us on to the Hexthorpe Flats, were sympathetic, and while we were waiting for the deputation to the Guardians, they bought us cigarettes. The Master of the Workhouse also sympathised, and sent us to the Hostel, where were guarded and fed. The beds were good, but the food was not so good. After the deputation returned from the Guardians, one little group after another dropped out, and started for home. It was funny to see the mounted police watching us, but they were really very kind.’