A Case of Conspiracy in Clerkenwell – Facts


One of the elements in the case that Freddie finds himself involved in is the labourers’ union, and there is a mention of a previous general strike.  The immediate postwar era saw a series of radical events, stimulated in part by the communist/Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917. As the economy stabilised in the early 1920s the labour unions moved sharply to the right. An exception came with the coal miners union, which faced lower wages in a declining industry hurt by lower prices, severe competition from oil, and sharply declining productivity in Britain’s ageing coal mines. The 1926 General Strike was declared by the Trades Union Congress for the benefit of the coal miners, but it failed. It was a nine-day nationwide walkout of one million railwaymen, transport workers, printers, dockers, ironworkers and steelworkers supporting the 1.5 million coal miners who had been locked out. Ultimately many miners returned to work, and were forced to accept longer hours and lower pay.

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Another important element is Communism. The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was a British communist party which was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991. Founded in 1920 by the merger of several smaller Marxist parties, the party gained the support of many socialist organisations and worker’s committees during the period after World War I and the Russian October Revolution. Many miners joined the party through 1926 and 1927 after the General Strike of 1926.

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Miss Stapleton, the woman who is killed, is part of the temperance movement, and their meetings is in the same building and on the same day as those of the communist allegiance. The Temperance movement in the United Kingdom originated as a mass movement in the 19th century. Before this, though there were diatribes published against drunkenness and excess, total abstinence from alcohol was very rarely advocated or practised.

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Freddie lives in Fleet Street in London.

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Freddie spies on Peacock as he has a secret meeting in Russell Square. Russell Square is a large garden square in Bloomsbury, in the London Borough of Camden.

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Then he follows Peacock to Finsbury Park. Finsbury Park is an area in north London, England, which grew up around an important railway interchange near the borders of the London Boroughs of Islington, Haringey and Hackney.

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