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george owston

on 7 June 2014

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Transcript of

How Was the Face of Scottish Industry Changed By WWI?
No more seasonal labor

The start of the 20th century was a period of upheaval in Scotland. A world war, the decline of the British Empire and the awakening of both women and the working classes.
Scottish national identity was becoming more complex and dependent on differences in race, gender and class. These changes are well demonstrated in the experience of Glasgow and Clydeside down through the century.


In the early 20th century Clydeside was the 'workshop of the world'.
workers moved to the area and encouraged mechanisation.
population concentrated around Glasgow, a huge working class population were living on top of each other
Scotland was becoming over-dependent on heavy industry.
Rise of red Clydeside

The Glasgow Rent Strike of 1915- protest against greedy landlords raising rents on often sub-standard housing whilst many breadwinners were on the Western Front dying for their country.
The protest was supported by the Unions, Labour Party and the suffragettes. Scottish membership of the Independent Labour Party tripled during the Great War.
The government's backlash to the riot was extreme: 12,000 troops, machine guns and tanks deployed in Glasgow
Labour shortage filled by women e.g. 30,000 female workers in Gretna munitions works, 60% Jute workforce in Dundee female.
However big fear of dilution of skills & wages caused resentment against female workers & strikes in ship yards 1915.

Scottish farmers profited e.g. more demand for lamb as cheaper lamb from Australia hampered by U Boats.
Helped during wartime by food shortages caused by German submarine blockade and demand for home grown food.
Farm workers wages doubled during war.
Many farm workers replaced by POW's, conchies or female Land Army

Farmers were affected by rationing
Rationing began in April 1918 e.g. red meat, sugar etc and lasted till 1920 in some food e.g. butter.
People encouraged by propaganda to eat less e.g. meatless days (Monday & Friday).
Health of nation improved due to lack of red meat, sugar etc


Boosted by war time orders for steel for munitions, ships e.g. 90% armoured plate from Clyde
Steel output doubled during war.
Coal production during war fell slightly due to switch to oil.

Higher unemployment after the war, average 10% in 1920s, more than England as there was no long term work for migrants
80,000 unemployed in Glasgow alone.

Loss of orders for ships has knock on effect of cutting steel and coal orders
After war Scottish farming suffered due to cheap imports of grain from USA, Canada etc.
Switch to new fuels e.g. oil affected orders for coal.
Loss of markets in central and Eastern Europe affected orders.
By early 1920’s Scotland producing 1/3rd less coal.
By end 1920’s workforce cut by half
Industry badly affected by strikes as owners try to raise hours and cut wages.

George Owston
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