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The General Strike -  London Times Newspaper Vesta Case, 1926
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The General Strike - London Times Newspaper Vesta Case, 1926

Measurements: Length: 6cm (2.25in)

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Silver. Slide-action vesta case, engraved with the London Times’ 213 year-old clock logo over the date ‘1926’ and the Latin inscription 'Ictus Meus Utlilis Esto' (May My Strike Be Useful). Maker’s name of Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company, Regent Street, London. Hallmarked London 1926.

Silver match cases of this type were presented to the editorial staff of the Times who produced and distributed emergency editions of the newspaper during the General Strike of 3 to 12 May 1926. The  so-called ‘shock troops’ of The Times were engaged in long hours of handling unending bundles of paper and well as occasional fisticuffs with the printers and other Union men. At one point they had to deal with a fire in the basement of their Fleet Street headquarters. On the whole, however, The Times, as it reported itself, became ‘the very centre of fashion’ with Members of Parliament and half the clubs in London, undergraduates and schoolboys offering their services.’

Meanwhile the workforce at the Manchester Guardian appealed in vain to the Trades Union Congress for permission to be exempt from the strike, explaining ‘to put the press out of action gives a most dangerous power to the Government, which … will enjoy a complete monopoly in the distribution of news and views.’ As it turned out Guardianista fears were well founded when the government established their own broadsheet, The British Gazette, edited by Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. In response, the TUC published its own strike bulletin, The British Worker.

Vesta cases such as the present example are recorded as having been presented to Dirk Bogarde’s father, Ulrich, who was The Times’ art editor, and to the novelist Graham Greene, who was then just down from Oxford and a sub editor on the paper.
 

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