In what was probably the first strike that can be truly called general, the 1842 General Strike involved nearly half a million workers. Coming at the peak of the Chartist campaign for basic democratic rights it combined resistance to wage-cuts in the coal, cotton and engineering industries with an all-out struggle for universals suffrage.
The strike lasted almost six weeks and during which the authorities arrested over 1,500 people and killed many people, including some in Blackburn. (recent information would indicate, at least, four were killed by troops)
The plaque in Darwen Street has been up for many years and it states:-
‘Here in Darwen Street on 15th August 1842 Textile Workers protesting against Wage Cuts in the Famous ‘Plug Riot’ were fired upon by Troops of the 72nd Regiment. Up to 3 of the demonstrators are thought to have been killed.’
As this goes to press there is being assembled fresh information on events in 1842. This will be published in due course.