12 FEBRUARY 1994, Page 11

One hundred years ago

ON Saturday last, those who call them- selves the unemployed, but are, many of them, the unemployable, assembled on Tower Hill and marched to Trafalgar Square, where they held a meeting. The police designated the Embankment as the proper route for the procession, but to this the demonstrators would not agree, and a determined, though unsuc- cessful, attempt was made by them to force their way up Fleet Street. The result was a severe scrimmage with the police, and the injury of a good many people, including the "organiser of the Social Democratic Federation," Mr. John E. Williams, who received "a nasty blow in the mouth, a semi-`black' eye, and several scalp wounds." Five persons in all asked for treatment at St. Bartholomew's and the Charing Cross Hospital. At Trafalgar Square, a resolu- tion was passed, which ended, "This meeting further expresses its opinion that if work is denied them, the unem- ployed are morally justified in helping themselves to the accumulations of wealth created by their own toil." "A Londdn Citizen," writing to Monday's Times; says that he heard one of the speakers say, "The shops around you are full of stolen property; go and take it; if you are men, you will not let twen- ty-four hours pass without helping your- selves to your own property."

The Spectator 10 February 1894