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!

To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.