ON 26 AUGUST 1913, tram drivers and conductors left their vehicles on Dublin’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, in a sequence of events that eventually led to the Dublin Lockout, a seminal moment in Irish history.
An exhibition recalling the dispute between workers, led by labour leader, Jim Larkin and William Martin Murphy, the then President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Chairman of the Dublin United Tramways Company, will open at No. 2 Kildare Street tomorrow afternoon.
The row started when Murphy sacked and replaced more than 300 tramway staff suspected of being members of the Irish Transport and Workers Union. The dispute escalated as the boss ‘locked out’ strikers and continued to use non-union staff.
Eventually, more than 20,000 workers were involved in strikes and lockouts and the protests continued until January 1914.
TheJournal.ie, with the kind permission of the National Library of Ireland, has published some of the items that will be on display during the exhibition. The venue will also feature films and interactive touchscreens to allow visitors explore the experiences of those living through the complex conflict.
Before the Lockout…
In the years preceding the Lockout, Dublin was a divided city – inner city squalor and poverty, contrasted with gracious suburbs.
A cartoon by Thomas Ftizpatrick first appeared in The Leprechaun in August 1911 (Image: The Lepracaun, NLI)
The game changer…
On 26 August 1913, drivers and conductors left their trams on O’Connell Street, beginning the events that became known as the Lockout.
A postcard showing the riots and police baton charges on 31 August.
Frank Reynolds’ original pen and ink caricature of Jim Larkin.
Portrait of William Martin Murphy (Image: Irish Life, 29 August 1913, NLI)
Frank Reynolds’ pen and ink caricature of William Martin Murphy.
Delia Larkin and other members of Irish Women Workers Union.
A note from Jim Larkin on 30 August, ahead of his arrest the next day, appointing James Connolly to take over from him, and noting that “all must work together”.
Signed postcard showing Jim Larkin’s arrest on 31 August.
Tenement buildings collapsed in Church Street in September 1913, killing seven, including a locked-out worker, Eugene Salmon (17). (Image: Illustrated London News, 13 September 1913, NLI)
“The Real Strikers”: a cartoon in the Leprechaun of October 1913, following RIC and DMP baton charges at the end of August. (Image: The Lepracuan, NLI)
Barefoot boys holding up Daily Herald sheets reading “Murphy Must Go”, in front of large crowd. (Image: Irish Life, October 1913, NLI)
Who’s the bad guy?
Larkin portrayed as a self-interested figure leading Irish workers to ruin. (Image: Sunday Independent, 7 September 1913, NLI)
Cartoon from the Irish Worker, depicting William Martin Murphy as a gleeful oppressor. (Image: The Irish Worker, 29 November 1913, National Library of Ireland)
Workers waiting on the docks for the food ships coming from the UK. (Image: Irish Life, 3 October 1913, NLI)
“Dublin, October 1913″: cartoon in The Leprechaun.
Thinking of the children
Plans to “Save the Kiddies” by placing strikers’ children with foster families in England were met with resistance from Catholic clergy. They feared that children might not be placed in Catholic homes. (Image: Sunday Independent, 26 October 1913, NLI)
All images republished with the kind permission of the National Library of Ireland.