Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Lord Bonkers' Diary: The Stilton Strike of 1919

An unexpected and valuable insight into the economic history of Rutland and also into Lord Bonkers' relationship with Lloyd George.


Liz Truss – I could have sworn she used to be one of ours – has had what she believes to be the novel idea of selling Stilton to the Japanese. It’s not novel at all, as anyone familiar with the economic history of Rutland could tell her. 

When Japan opened herself to trade with the West in the 19th century, our merchant captains were among the first to sail into Yokohama and Nagasaki. Sweating with thick blue veins and a pungent odour, those skippers chose Stilton as their cargo. Trade with Japan grew steadily and I remember as a boy seeing Japanese craft tied up at Oakham Quay having made the perilous crossing of Rutland Water with their bales of silk. 

All went well until the Stilton Strike of 1919, when the miners came out demanding better pay and Lloyd George sent the troops in. They were billeted in Cropwell Bishop, and I recall telling LG at the time that this was Going A Bit Far, but by then he only had ears for his new Conservative friends and the trade with Japan never recovered. Really, I wonder what they teach in school History classes nowadays.

Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South West, 1906-10.

Previously in Lord Bonkers' Diary...

No comments: