About this artwork

James Keir Hardie was born in Lanarkshire and started work as a miner at the age of ten. While working, he attended evening classes, and began to agitate for better pay and working conditions. In 1878 the mine owners blacklisted him, and he took to journalism, working to establish the miners’ union in Lanarkshire. He first stood for Parliament in 1888, when he chaired the newly-formed Scottish labour party. He was elected in 1892 and was the first leader of the Independent Labour Party in the House of Commons and did more than any other to establish the political authority of labour in Britain. He was severely distressed by the outbreak of war in 1914 and died the following year.

Updated before 2020

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