Liverpool riots 1909

LIVERPOOL: ORANGEMEN AND A CATHOLIC PROCESSION.

A disturbance arose in Liverpool on Sunday during the passage of a procession of Catholics of St. Joseph’s parish through a part of the city in which an Irish population predominates. [St Joseph’s was in Grosvenor Street, off Rosehill. It was Liverpool Scotland ward, which returned the only Irish Nationalist M.P.outside the island of Ireland, between 1885 and 1929.]  A disturbance a fortnight ago, reports The Manchester Guardian, resulted in the arrest and conviction of two members of the Orange party on a charge of smashing windows in the house of an Irish family. The party is said to have threatened reprisals, and yesterday there was serious rioting, followed by thirty arrests.

During the week notice was issued calling upon Orangemen to gather in force and prevent any “illegal procession “ taking place, the assumption being that the Catholics would carry in the procession the host, but this, it is said, was never intended. It is also asserted that a contingent of Orangemen arrived on Saturday night from Belfast. But whether this is true or not, it is certain that nearly an hour before the time fixed for the procession to start the Orangemen invaded the neighbourhood of St. Joseph’s Church in great force. Consequently, when the procession started, it was thought wise to confine it to the immediate neighbourhood of the church. The Orangemen seemed determined to prevent even this, and the two bodies came into collision. Bricks, bottles, and other missiles were soon flying, and the fight continued for a considerable time, in spite of the efforts of between 500 and 600 police, including a mounted contingent. Those arrested include both Catholics and Orangemen. A number of people were treated for cuts on the head and other injuries. The police assert that many Orangemen carried naked swords beneath their coats, which they brandished in a menacing manner when the two parties came into collision. During the whole evening the district remained in a ferment of excitement, although the police patrols prevented any further organised attacks. The prisoners will be brought up at the police-court this morning and charged with rioting.

Another message says that the police made charges upon the crowd, which would otherwise have got beyond bounds. Some took refuge in passages and backyards from the cover of which they pelted the police with stones. Several were struck and injured by other missiles. Meanwhile, quite a number of houses were being wrecked, and windows were smashed in a wholesale fashion. In one case a house was fired. Upwards of fifty arrests were made, many of the prisoners being injured. About a dozen policemen were also injured, and treated at hospitals.

For two or three days the rioting was followed by brawls and disturbances in the quarter affected. On Tuesday there was a conflict between the children of St. Polycarp’s Anglican Schools and of the Catholic Schools of St. Anthony’s. This caused a disturbance between their respective mothers. Uneasiness among the mothers increased during the afternoon, and they began to apply at the schools for the release of the little ones to get them home in safety. In many cases excitement outran discretion, and mothers forced an entry into the schools and dragged out the children by force. The result of this was that some fifty schools in the Scotland-road district were promptly closed by the Education Committee.

The above text was found on p.39,26th June 1909, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

 

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