Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Celebrating the life and legacy of Cardinal Manning

Press Releases

Celebrating the life and legacy of Cardinal Manning

11th June 2014
This year is the 125th anniversary of the Great London Dock Strike, which saw around 130,000 dock workers walk out over low wages and desperately poor working conditions.

A key factor in the resolution of the strike, which posed a serious threat to the local and national economy, was the intervention of Cardinal Manning, then the Archbishop of Westminster, who led the attempts at conciliation between the workers and employers. A much-loved advocate for the poor and working class in London’s east end, Cardinal Manning, had great sympathy for the dockers, who were paid just 3 - 7 shillings per week – almost half that of an agricultural labourer, and often had to compete to be employed for only a few hours or a day at a time.

Deciding to make a stand, workers in the West India Dock went on strike on 14th August 1889, led by a docker named Ben Tillet. Others soon followed, and the dockers came together to organise mass meetings, establish pickets and march through the City of London. 

With the help of Cardinal Manning, the strike was brought to an end on the 14th September 1889 with all of the dockers’ demands met. The strike is now widely recognised as a significant milestone in the development of the British labour movement, marking the establishment of trade unions for the semi-skilled and unskilled working population.

To commemorate this incredible achievement and to give thanks for Cardinal Manning’s life and legacy, Caritas Anchor House and the Newham Deanery will be hosting a conference on Catholic Social Teaching on Thursday 19th June.

Cardinal Manning’s ideas on solidarity, the dignity of work and rights for workers, and the role of the family in society had a deep influence on the development of early Catholic Social Teaching, and the conference will look at what this means in a modern context.

With speakers including Lord Glasman and Kevin Flanagan, Director of St Antony's Centre for Church and Industry, the evening will be an opportunity to celebrate the local Catholic community in Newham and develop a vision of future social engagement.

The conference will be followed up by a Mass of thanksgiving for Cardinal Manning, celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, on 14th September. It will be held in St Mary’s and St Michael’s Catholic Church, Poplar, which adjoins the primary school where the ‘Cardinal’s Peace’ was signed in 1889.

For more information, or to book a place, please contact us on or call 0207 476 6062.


Jazmine Sandison, Communications Lead
Caritas Anchor House, 81 Barking Road, London E16 4HB
Phone: 020 7476 6062


If you or a colleague would like to attend the Cardinal Manning Catholic Social Teaching Conference, we would be delighted for you to join us. The event takes place on Thursday 19th June and will be held at Brick Lane Music Hall, 443 North Woolwich Road, London, E16 2DA. Doors open at 6.30pm, with the speakers due to start at 7.30pm, and the conference will end at 9.30pm.

Caritas Anchor House is a nationally acclaimed flagship project addressing the root causes of homelessness – such as poor education, substance misuse, mental health problems, domestic violence or a history of offending – and create sustainable solutions that ensure the people we help will never find themselves in that situation again.

It is a registered charity providing accommodation for over 230 single homeless people each year aged 19 to 65. It gives so much more than just a roof over their heads and provides a wide range of accredited vocational training courses in construction, electrical, plumbing and distance learning for both residents and the local community. In practical terms, this means not only giving our residents the skills and confidence they need to rebuild their lives and move on to independent living, but also serving the community as a whole.

The charity is located in Canning Town, in the London Borough of Newham, the third most deprived borough in England and Wales.