Non-striking transport industry workers try to reset an overturned Glasgow bus during a General Strike demonstration

Civic House History: 1926 General Strike

14 October 2022
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Exploring the role the building now known as Civic House played during the 1926 UK General Strike.

Almost a full century ago in 1926, the intention of mine owners to reduce workers’ wages caused a General Strike across the entire UK. This action was called by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress to pressure the government into protecting the miners’ interests — and fight for higher wages and improved working conditions.

While it’s easy to keep track of developments and mobilise via social media these days, back in 1926 it was a much more involved affair. And Civic House as we know it today existed in the past as a different sort of home – for the General Strikers of Glasgow to keep up with all the goings on across the ongoing UK industrial action.

Civic House actually started life in the 1920s as Civic Press Limited, on what was then Brown Street (now Civic Street). This print press harboured a strong working class ethos, and one of the most important publications to come out of Civic Press was The Scottish Worker.

Produced by the Scottish Trades Union Council daily throughout the General Strike, the main function of The Scottish Worker was to combat anti-strike propaganda – something which strike leaders perceived was being weaponised in the regular press.

Almost one hundred years on from the historic General Strike of 1926, you would be forgiven for thinking that little progress has been made throughout the years to align the rights of workers with the demands of employers.

With rights to protest being stripped away only recently and threats of strike action coming to fruition on the regular, the present relationship between trade unions and those with political power is seemingly close to breaking point. What happened back then, and how does it compare to our situation today? Read on!


The Scottish Worker No. 1, Published 10th May 1926 by Civic Press Ltd (Source)


The Scottish Worker published by Civic Press acted as a one-stop-shop for all the strikers’ needs, providing not only news but also advice on how best to conduct themselves individually while increasing their collective chance of success.

Unfortunately, by the time the sixth instalment of The Scottish Worker was published the paper was already detailing how the once declared General Strike had now been called off – and not for the reasons the workers wanted.

The 1926 General Strike was called off on 12th May, due to the government’s timely enlistment of middle class volunteers to maintain essential services and drastically deaden the strike’s impact.

Although the strike ultimately failed to enact the change it sought for, the movement’s collective action and decision to fight for livelihoods in a respectful manner is both admirable and inspirational in equal measure.

Who knows what the future holds if the tumultuous topic of workers rights continues down its current plight – and what past lessons might be gleaned from the annals of Civic Press Limited if its walls could talk once more?