Mark’s History: When Burley folk rallied in 1914 rent strike

burley rent strike
Photo: Mark Stevenson

When in January 1914 James Relton, Fred Patchett and George Hargreaves, who lived on Harold Grove in Burley and around 300 other tenants living in the Burley area received news that their Landlords wished to increase their rent by 6d they were not best pleased, writes Mark Stevenson.

The rent increase had been called for by the Leeds branch of the Property Owners’ Association.

burley rent strike 2
Photo: Mark Stevenson

A meeting was held at the Queens Road Feast Ground where there were calls for a city-wide protest against the increases. Other areas of Leeds affected, like Harehills, joined in the protest to withhold rent.

Of the 285 Burley tenants who were refusing to pay their rent in February, 178 still refused to pay the extra 6d. By March that number had dropped to 85/ Some tenants simply decided to pay the 6d, others had moved out or been kicked out of their homes.

In March 1914 Fred Patchett said:

“Tenants you are beaten. The law has gone against you.”

People still tried to organise against the landlords but it was not until during World War One when the government was forced to introduce rent controls for fear of Mutiny on the front line did tenants get any kind of protection against the greed of landlords of the time.


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