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Description

'Captain' Edward Tupper addressing the crowd at Bute Docks, Cardiff, during the Seamen's strike 1911.

The period between 1908 and 1914 has become known as 'The Great Unrest' as Britain saw a number of major industrial conflicts. In south Wales, coal miners employed by the Cambrian Combine went on strike, clashing with troops at Tonypandy in 1910, while at Llanelli in 1911, disturbances resulting from the national railwaymen's strike resulted in six people losing their lives, two of whom were shot by soldiers.
During the summer of 1911, a seamen's strike spread from Liverpool to the docks and port of Cardiff. One of the leaders of the strike was a man known as 'Captain' Edward Tupper, who is seen here addressing the sailors of Cardiff. In order to keep the port open and break the strike, the employers decided to import foreign labour. In Cardiff, they employed a large number of Chinese seamen, and paid them higher rates than those usually received by the strikers. The Chinese sailors were subjected to frequent attacks (both physical and verbal), for their part in the dispute. Moreover, attacks soon spread to the homes and businesses of members of the local Chinese community.

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