TODAY is the 90th anniversary of Black Thursday, the first day of the Wall Street crash that triggered the Great Depression.

October 24, or Bloody Friday, was also the day on which the great global crash of 2008 happened.

Any capitalists out there who are reading this on the morning of October 24 should perhaps crawl under the covers and have a duvet day. Whatever you do, don’t call your broker and sell shares.

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YES, a complete coincidence – or not, see October effect below – except for the fact that both crashes had their roots in share prices that were divorced from the reality of the genuine value of stocks. Greed drove the markets before both crashes and eventually the stock markets just couldn’t bear any more unreality. In 2008, there was the added and very crucial aspect of the collapse of the financial sector which saw great institutions cease to be and governments bailing out major banks in the weeks before Bloody Friday.

The National:


MOST scholarly experts agree that the Wall Street Crash began on Thursday, October 24 that lasted until Tuesday, October 29, was the consequence of nearly a decade of booming share prices coming up against the reality of falls in industrial and agricultural production.

The Roaring Twenties had seen many hundreds of thousands of Americans invest in the stock market – many doing so “on margin” with borrowed money – and for a long time they enjoyed profits.

In mid-1929, after record profits by many industrial companies in several sectors, America was in a stock market fever, sustained by billions of dollars in loans. Speculators gambled that share prices would continue to rise and they would be able to profit from the increase but then suddenly production of automobiles dropped, house sales decreased and other signs of economic malaise started to show.

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The Dow Jones index of shares peaked in mid-September but there soon began a slide in share prices. On September 20, the London Stock Exchange crashed after the Clarence Hatry scandal broke – he was a swindler who had forged £1 million in loan notes, and he eventually served nine years in jail.

An already nervous Wall Street took fright at the London events and were not helped by the British Chancellor Philip Snowden saying Wall Street was “a perfect orgy of speculation.”

The market was reassured by bankers and “experts” that lending would continue and the share prices were on a permanent plateau. The Federal Reserve, which had raised interest rates, did little to help – the truth is that there were few legal protections for investors.


LATE in the trading hours of October 23, share prices fell alarmingly as investors sold their stock. The next day, Black Thursday, saw extraordinary activity on Wall Street – shares in blue riband stocks plummeted until big hitters stepped in to help the market rebound. But at the end of trading, the Dow Jones was down 11% and nearly 13 million shares had exchanged hands, triple the normal trading volume.

The market slightly steadied on the Friday and Saturday mornings, but on Black Monday, October 28, share prices plunged. On Black Tuesday, the market officially crashed as investors panicked, with rumours of stockholders jumping off high buildings and fighting on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The effects were devastating for the American economy. The Dow Jones index did recover quite quickly, but the sheer scale of losses started to feed into the economy and April, 1930, started the long two-year slide that ended in the summer of 1932 with the stock market having lost almost 90% of its value. Both in the US and Britain, and many other parts of the world suffered the knock-on effects called the Great Depression.

The Dow Jones would not reach its peak of early 1929 until November, 1954.


BLOODY Friday, October 24, came after the collapse of Northern Rock and Lehman Brothers, the Federal rescue of US lenders, the Treasury rescue of Lloyds and especially RBS. Some banks and institutions were beyond saving.

Ireland went into recession and could not underwrite its banking system. Iceland’s three biggest commercial banks collapsed in early October. Prime Minister Gordon Brown used emergency powers to freeze the assets of the banks’ UK subsidiaries.

It should be noted the bankers who caused the crash in Iceland were prosecuted and several were jailed. No banker in Britain has ever stood trial for their role in the 2008 crash.

On Bloody Friday, many of the world’s stock exchanges experienced the worst declines in their history, with an average decrease of around 10%. Later that day, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, Charles Bean, said: “This is a once in a lifetime crisis, and possibly the largest financial crisis of its kind in human history.”

As we well know, share prices have taken a long time to recover.


STATISTICALLY speaking, there is no such thing. Academics who have studied the panic of 1907, the Wall Street crash of 1929, Bloody Monday in 1987 and Bloody Friday of 2008, say there is no connection between these events except for them all happening in October. Even though September is actually the worst month for crashes, plenty people still think October means turmoil... cue Boris Johnson?