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War and the transformation of British society c1903–28

Key Topic 1: The Liberals, votes for women and social reform

The activities of the women’s societies and the reaction of the authorities. Overview

Children’s welfare measures, old age pensions. Overview

Labour Exchanges 1909, the National Insurance Act 1911. Overview

The political position of women in 1903




Reactions of the authorities to militancy and protest

Forced feeding

The ‘Cat and Mouse Act’

Children’s Charter (1906)

The School Meals Act (1906)

Medical Inspection, 1907.

The reasons for and importance of Old Age Pensions Act (1908).

Labour Exchanges (1909)

National Insurance Act 1911.

Key Topic 2: The part played by the British on the Western Front

The BEF and 1914. Overview

Britain’s contribution to the Western Front 1915–17. Overview

The end of the war. Overview

The despatch of the BEF

The part played in the events of 1914

The failure of the Schlieffen Plan

The race for the sea

Setting up of the trench system.

The nature of trench warfare

Haig and the Battle of the Somme

The development and importance of new weapons



The creeping barrage.

Britain’s part in the events of 1918

Ludendorff’s offensives

The drive to victory.

Key Topic 3: The home front and social change

DORA, censorship and propaganda. Overview

Recruitment and rationing. Overview

The part played by women. Overview

The importance of censorship

Examples of propaganda

The various methods of recruitment: 1914–16

The reasons for, and impact of, conscription: 1916–18

Conscientious objectors.


The effects of submarine warfare on Britain

Measures brought in by the Government to alleviate the threat of U-Boats.

Key Topic 4: Economic and social change 1918–28

The changing role of women 1918–28. Overview

Industrial unrest 1918–27. Overview

The General Strike of 1926. Overview

Extension of the franchise

The changes in women’s work and social changes.

Trade union membership

Industrial militancy in the years 1918–20

The long-term and immediate problems of the coal industry

Black Friday (1921)

Red Friday (1925)

The Samuel Commission (March 1926).

Government preparations and measures to deal with the General Strike

The reasons why the TUC called off the General strike

Trades Disputes Act of 1927.

Black Friday

Friday 15th, 1921 is referred to as 'Black Friday.' This is because it marked a change in the ay that Unions worked alongside each other - the 'Black' part of the name coming from the widespread view that union leaders were betraying workers.

The decision that led to this day being called Black Friday was one by the leaders of the transport and rail unions to NOT strike in support of the miners union. Miners had suffered wage cuts and poor conditions since the end of the First World War and there had been a period of industrial action. It was widely expected that other unions would support workers when this was the case and engage in sympathy strikes and other forms of Industrial action. The decision not to strike in support of the Miners was therefore a break with previous practice and was seen by many union members as a betrayal of the miners, as on their own their actions were likely to be less effective. The decision not to strike also saw the end of the 'Triple Alliance' of rail, transport and miners unions who had agreed to work together.

Reasons why the rail and transport unions chose not to strike:

- it was claimed that the miners themselves were not willing to strike over the changes to pay and conditions.

- there was very high unemployment at the time and there would possibly have been little sympathy for the miners from the general public.


Black Friday 1921 - Wikipedia article

National Archives - Black Friday, the Cabinet papers




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