Spring Bank Holiday


The TUC Library will be closed on Monday 30th for the Spring Bank Holiday. The last Monday in May was officially designated a public holiday by the 1971 Banking and Financial Dealings Act. Traditionally a holiday had taken place on the day after Whit Sunday or Pentecost, which was a moveable date depending on the date of Easter.

The image below shows a demonstration of the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union at Ham Hill near Yeovil on Whit Monday in 1877.

Demonstration at Ham Hill, Somerset, 1877

On Whit Monday in 1896 Keir Hardie addressed a crowd of the Independent Labour Party in Yorkshire, at Hardcastle Crags near Hebden Bridge.

Meeting of the Yorkshire ILP near Hebden Bridge, 1896

The Bank Holidays Act of 1871 had formalised four public holidays in England. Prior to this date a number of religious festivals and saints’ days were traditionally celebrated across the country.

The campaign for longer periods of holiday from work had continued throughout the 19th century and the TUC began to campaign for statutory annual leave with pay from 1911. The leaflet below was produced by the TUC in 1937 to campaign for an entitlement to a paid holiday. This was introduced at a basic level in particular industries by the Holidays with Pay Act 1938.

Holidays For All leaflet, TUC, 1937

For more information on these items, or anything else the TUC Library holds, get in touch.





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