In April 1929, Churchill's Budget ended the 325 year long Tea duty. When Gandhi told British India that taxation is about politics as much as economics, it may have helped the British government to accept that the Tea tax, one of the longest running taxes, was not conducive to good domestic relations. The traditional cup of tea, thick with milk and sugar, had become part of the British way of life only after 1839; before then Chinese green tea had held a virtual monopoly. From that date, the Treasury, anxious to encourage colonial trade, had allowed Indian black tea into the country duty-free and the tea trade was closely linked to colonial politics.
The image of women nattering over a cup of tea had begun to look very out of date. The suggestion that traditional subjects were off the agenda was evident in figures released this year, which revealed that in 1927 the birth-rate was the lowest on record. The Ministry of Health predicted that two thirds of the population would be middle-aged and elderly by 1950. In June, Berlin held the world congress on women's work, but though women's issues were more often discussed, the idea of women as virtuous and moral, was still very much intact. Mussolini's decision to ban beauty shows and contests in Italy, was not to support women's liberation, but to protect them from what he considered an immoral activity.
During the 1920s the US economy had grown rapidly, with many companies making vast profits and share prices had shot up - seemingly continuously. On October 24, the Wall Street stock market crashed. The fall in prices led to the ruination of many individual shareholders who had brought shares with bank loans. Repercussions hit the global economy, as overseas loans made to German and Austrian banks and firms were recalled, US demand for overseas goods dropped, as did worldwide demand for British goods. The Depression had arrived.
Photo 98 is a series of high profile national events and exhibitions: for information events and exhibitions; for information call 01484 559888 or refer to www.photo98.com
Current exhibitions: `Seeing Red', work by Clare Strand at National Museum of Photography Film & Television in Exile, Upper Parkgate, Little Germany, Bradford BD1 5BJ (01274 203 300). Until March 8.
Jennifer RodgerReuse content