When Churchill came to Crewe
Barricades and protests in 1909

Winston Churchill may have become the one of the greatest names in British history, but when he visited Crewe, in December 1909, the welcome was hardly friendly from some quarters.

As President of the Board of Trade, Churchill was in the Cheshire railway town as part of a series of pre-General Election meetings called by the Lancashire & Cheshire Liberal Association and demonstrations were anticipated from suffragettes.

Streets were closed and windows barricaded for Churchill’s arrival and the police threw a cordon around Crewe Town Hall for almost four hours.

Isolated pockets of protest were reported in the town, but only three arrests were made. Two women were detained for breaking windows at Crewe Liberal Club, and another female campaigner was detained after trying to board the Minister’s car.

It was said that Mr Chruchill received a rapturous welcome at the meeting during which he outlined the Liberal Government’s record and promised social reforms, particularly with regards to pensions for old people.

On the crucial question of defence, he said it was vital that Britain should strengthen her navy.
He also criticised the House of Lords for rejecting the “People’s Budget” (there’s apparently nothing knew in politics!) and a resolution was passed recommending that the Lords’ future powers be restricted.

Later Churchill visited an overflow meeting at Crewe Congregational Hall, under the Presidency of Lord Sheffield