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Trouble at mill in 1934.

ON this day 85 years ago, the Blackshirts of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists ran into trouble at Windmill Hills in Gateshead.

In the early 1930s, severe economic depression was blighting swathes of the industrial North East in the shape of mass unemployment, bringing hunger and hardship.

The right-wing Blackshirts hoped to exploit this and gain support in these poverty-hit areas.

On this day in 1934 they targeted a traditional May Day meeting by the Independent Labour Party outside the Labour Exchange at Windmill Hills.

The Gateshead Book of Days by Jo Bath and Richard F Stevenson describes what happened.

"A group of Blackshirts headed for the rostrum chanting 'M-O-S-L-E-Y'. Perhaps they expected the help of the men in the dole queue, but they were mistaken. Instead, 1,000 men charged at them. They fled, but not before one was knocked unconscious and another lost teeth."

The Blackshirts would be given short shrift on Tyneside. A meeting at Gateshead Town Hall ended in humiliation for them two weeks later. And in the summer of 1934, as support drained away, it led Mosley himself to cancel a planned major rally on Newcastle's Town Moor.


Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirts in the mid-1930s

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2019
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