Monday, January 14, 2008

The Pope, The Cardinal and the Dockers

Banner of the Amalgamated Society of Watermen and Lightermen (Greenwich Branch no. 13).
National Maritime Museum, London

The Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen was established in 1872.

The banner shown belonged to a branch of the union from Greenwich and shows Cardinal Henry Manning (1808-92), Archbishop of Westminster.

The Cardinal was a supporter of the dockers during The Great Dock Strike of 1889. Manning was instrumental in settling the Strike.

Manning supported social reform. He appealed for unemployment relief and protested against the Poor Law.

Manning also campaigned for decent housing for the poor and supported the right of workers to join trade unions and go on strike.

These views are reflected in the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum issued by Leo XIII and on which Manning exercised great influence.

Manning's involvement in the Dock Strike made a major impression on Hilaire Belloc, 19 years old at the time - who was to become a major speaker for the Catholic Church during the early Twentieth Century