A demonstration and meeting of working men (estimated to be 20,000) in favour of the nine hours movement was held on the Town Moor.
The nine hours movement was a five-month strike by engineers which started in Sunderland, but spread throughout the North East. The aim was reduce hours of work to nine hours per day (or fifty-four hours per week). The strike was successful in its aim and the employers agreed to the demands of the workforce. Most industries followed this lead and the Nine-hour working day became the norm throughout the country.
The Amalgamated Society of Engineers appointed John Burnett as president of the Nine Hours League. Reynolds’s Newspaper wrote about him: ‘In a few weeks the engineers completely succeeded; they defeated one of the ablest of living men in argument, and Sir William Armstrong and his own workman, Mr. John Burnett met face to face as negotiators of terms, after a tug of war in which Greek had met Greek in the columns of the daily papers. The nine hours movement has spread far and wide’ and ‘the movement has done more for the working classes than all the Bills introduced and passed by Mr. Gladstone’s Government.’