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Unrest in Parliament: The Hot Summer of 1911

The summer of 1911 was a hot one. Massive strikes took place across the country, including seamen, railwaymen, coal miners, women working in food processing and garment-making and even school children. That, combined with record-breaking temperatures made Britain a constitutional, industrial and political tinderbox. It was harder to endure than today: no refrigeration for food, heavy clothing; more manual/outdoor labour, unventilated workplaces, surging food prices, and limited deodorant. All this fuelled industrial militancy, especially in hard, outdoor labour like the docks.


It also raised political tempers: 670 MPs in heavy clothing, packed into a steaming Chamber…


Dr Robert Saunders, reader in Modern British History at Queen Mary University of London joins Dan on the podcast to take a look at how heat exacerbates social and political unrest and what parallels are to be found between the scorching summer of 1911 and the summer of 2022.


This episode was produced by Mariana Des Forges, the audio editor was Dougal Patmore.


If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe today!


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More Episodes

9/20/2022

The Man Wrongfully Hanged at Cardiff Prison

In September 1952 Mahmood Hussein Mattan became the last to be executed at Cardiff Prison, but Mahmood had in fact been framed by the police and 70 years later South Wales Police formally apologised to his family for his wrongful conviction.Mahmood originally hailed from Somalia and had been a merchant seaman who had ended up settling in Cardiff and marrying a Welsh woman called Laura Williams. They lived in the Tiger Bay district of Cardiff and had three children before their separation in 1950. Mahmood faced racism and discrimination and had several encounters with the police. His vocal distrust of the police had made him unpopular with the local force though and when Lily Volpert, a Cardiff shopkeeper, was found murdered and her shop robbed they quickly turned to Mahmood. Despite a lack of any firm evidence linking him to the crime, he became the prime suspect. He was poorly represented in court and facing a hostile jury he was convicted in July 1952 and sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out three months late. The case never went away though and his family kept the fight alive for 45 years until 1998 when his case was the first to be reviewed by the newly created Criminal Cases Review Commission. His conviction was quickly quashed but it was another 25 years before they received the apology they and Mahmood deserved.To discuss Mahmood's case author Nadifa Mohamed joins Dan for this episode of the podcast. Her novel The Fortune Men, which has been longlisted for the Booker Prize, is based on the case and she immersed herself in Mahmoud's life and the history of Cardiff's multicultural Tiger Bay area to bring this story of injustice to life.Please note that this episode contains mentions of racial trauma, slavery and violence.The audio editor was Dougal Patmore.If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe to History Hit today!To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.