OpenLearn – Resources about Red Clydeside

'Bloody Friday': The Battle of George Square, Glasgow, 1919

Through its OpenLearn website, which offers free learning opportunities and courses, the Open University has developed a range of material exploring the origins and events surrounding Red Clydeside, covering the period stretching from c1910 into the 1920s, at a time when 'class struggle' in Glasgow was its most intense.

As its website says, "January 31, 2019 was the centenary of one of the most violent episodes of social and political conflict in Scotland over the course of the twentieth century. Taking place in the heart of Glasgow, the ‘battle of George Square’, otherwise referred to as ‘Bloody Friday’, is widely remembered as one of the most vivid and important events of the period referred to as ‘Red Clydeside’. The Red Clydeside era (1914-1920s), and the events of 1919 in particular, have been the focus of political controversy for many decades; controversy which is reflected in ongoing arguments and debates. The centenary of the 1919 battle/riot/rebellion (depending on your standpoint) has provided the opportunity for more arguments to come to the fore."

The main aim of this material, the site goes on to say, is to provide an introduction to Red Clydeside, to consider the developments that led to the events in Glasgow in January 1919, and to reflect on the enduring legacies of this period. The controversy around Glasgow 1919 and Red Clydeside more generally is a key element of this material.

A secondary aim has been to provide a guide to previous research, writing and published output of many varied kinds, as well as accounts of the events on Clydeside provided in other forms of media.

The Red Clydeside Collection provides:

  • a live resource it is always being added to as new interpretations emerge and hidden histories are uncovered – for example, of The Missing Women

  • a collection of historical and contemporary materials

  • a learning resource comprising text, film, music, links to published materials, images and video footage from the OU's 1919 Centenary Open Learning Event, George Square, January 31, 2019

  • a focus on the important role of women in industrial and community action during the period of the Red Clyde

  • a series of reflections on 1919 in relation to contemporary struggles in Glasgow, not least the Equal Pay Strike, 2018

The site is available at