100 Years Ago – 15 June 1920

15 June 1920

Sir Eric Geddes, the first Minister for Transport, announced that there would be an increase in railway fares because of the higher costs of wages and materials. Geddes was keen for the railways to pay their own way and he also instigated what became known as “the Geddes Axe” which was a cut in Government expenditure across numerous departments. There had been an increase of 50% in the cost of railway tickets in 1917 which was introduced to discourage non-essential travel, but this rise had never been cancelled after the First World War came to an end.

After some initial confusion in the media, where it had been reported in some places that Lenin’s Government had been overthrown, the press reported that the attempted revolution had failed.

Winston Churchill, who later became Prime Minister, wrote a critical article about Lenin in the London Evening News. He said that “Lenin destroyed the Russian Republic. He dissolved the Russian Parliament. He had the bulk of its members hunted down and killed. He has robbed his country of victory, peace and freedom; and what has he given them in exchange? This, then, is the man who the crazy portion of the Socialist Party have been worshipping. He has now revealed his measure and his mentality to the British public, and he appeals to them to create in Britain that enslaved, infected, starving and verminous Bedlem to which he has reduced the noble and mighty Russian state and nation”.