Big Jim and the 1913 Lockout in Context

Welcome to a crash course-history-lesson. I wouldn’t be able to review BIG JIM: Jim Larkin and the 1913 Lockout without putting it in context.

Ready? Okay, concentrate. There’ll be a quiz at the end.

“The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise.”

Big Jim in Context

  1. 1913 Lockout: Big Jim centers on the events of what’s known as the ‘1913 Lockout’. Basically, tens of thousands of tram workers went on strike, demanding a pay rise. This resulted in ‘locked out’ of their jobs, meaning that if they didn’t stop striking, they got no money. People were starving. There were riots.
  2. Dublin in 1913: Dublin at the time sounded like a really horrible place to live. 26,000 families in Dublin city lived in tenements, 20,000 of them in single rooms. The mortality rates per 1,000 were 22.3 in Dublin compared to 15.6 in London. On 2nd September, 7 people – including two children – died when two tenements, numbers 66 and 67 Church Street collapsed. All of this was contributing to the feeling of unrest and anger in Dublin at the time.
  3. Bloody Sunday:  James Larkin appeared in the window of the Imperial Hotel, Sackville Street (now Clerys, O’Connell Street) to address a huge crowd. He was immediately arrested and a riot followed.  The police baton charge caused over 300 injuries and the day is known as “Bloody Sunday.”
  4. 6 months of starvation: The Lockout continued for 6 months with families enduring widespread hardship, poverty and hunger and by early 1914 many of the workers were driven back to work.
  5. Jim Larkin: A Socialist activist and Trade Union Leader who fought for workers’ rights and against the starvation and widespread poverty that riddled Dublin in the early 20th century.

Feel ready to read the review? Read it here on Girls Like Comics.

“…He talked to the workers, spoke as only Jim Larkin could speak, not for an assignation with peace, dark obedience, or placid resignation, but trumpet-tongued of resistance to wrong, discontent with leering poverty, and defiance of any power strutting out to stand in the way of their march onward.” — Drums under the Windows by Seán O’Casey

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