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Revisiting Red Clydeside: 'Bloody Friday': The Battle of George Square, Glasgow, 1919

Updated Thursday, 25 June 2020
On January 31st 1919 a violent confrontation between the police and striking Glasgow workers took place in George Square. 100 years on, this collection explores the events that lead to 'Bloody Friday' and the legacies of the Red Clydeside period.

Protesters in George Square Glasgow, 1919

January 31, 2019 was the centenary of one of the most violent episodes of social and political conflict in Scotland over the course of the twentieth century. Taking place in the heart of Glasgow, the ‘battle of George Square’, otherwise referred to as ‘Bloody Friday’, is widely remembered as one of the most vivid and important events of the period referred to as ‘Red Clydeside’. The Red Clydeside era (1914-1920s), and the events of 1919 in particular, have been the focus of political controversy for many decades; controversy which is reflected in ongoing arguments and debates. The centenary of the 1919 battle/riot/rebellion (depending on your standpoint) has provided the opportunity for more arguments to come to the fore.

The main aim of this material is to provide an introduction to Red Clydeside, to consider the developments that led to the events in Glasgow in January 1919, and to reflect on the enduring legacies of this period. The controversy around Glasgow 1919 and Red Clydeside more generally is a key element of this material.

A secondary aim has been to provide a guide to previous research, writing and published output of many varied kinds, as well as accounts of the events on Clydeside provided in other forms of media.


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