Sir Edward Carson in Manchester

Great Free Trade Hall Meeting - January 1912


Sir Edward Carson at Manchester Free Trade Hall
Sir Edward Carson Addressing a Crowd

At the end of January 1912 Ulster Unionist leaders launched an anti-Home Rule campaign in the North of England.  Meetings were held in Liverpool, where Sir Edward Carson, the leader of the Ulster Unionists, and F E Smith, MP for Birkenhead, were the principal speakers.   Meetings were also held in Morecambe, where Lord Willoughby de Broke addressed a, Preston, where Walter Long MP spoke, and Bury where Austen Chamberlain MP was the speaker.  Further meetings were held in New Brighton and Warrington.

On 23 January 1912, Carson spoke in Manchester at the Free Trade Hall.  A report of the meeting in the Belfast News Letter wrote:
‘Included in the Lancashire and Yorkshire campaign against Home Rule was a meeting held yesterday evening in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.  The historic hall was packed to the doors, about 5,000 being present. Colonel Sykes MP was in the chair.'

Sir Edward Carson, who was introduced as ‘the most prominent figure of the day’, said his reception made him imagine almost that he was in the Ulster Hall in Belfast.  He hoped to be there very soon, engaged in a battle which, after all, was theirs just as it was his.  In the 112 years which had passed since the Union between Great Britain and Ireland became law their country and his had become one consolidated centre of the British Empire.  (Cheers from audience)  He appealed to all Conservatives who might differ on certain topics to close up their ranks on Home Rule.  The meetings in Liverpool had given him good heart and good courage as that meeting would on his journey to Belfast.  The task that had been put upon his shoulders at the present moment was very difficult and very burdensome.  He did not look upon it as any sinecure.  He looked upon it as a grave, a serious, and a difficult mission for his fellow-countrymen.  (Cheers from audience)...’

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