Monday, January 15, 2007

Middlesex County Councillor Ben Smith

Ben Smith MCC 1919
Middlesex County Council 1919

Benjamin "Ben" Smith was elected on 8th March 1919 as the first Labour Middlesex County Councillor for Hayes (and Northwood).

Born 29th January 1878. A former taxi driver (previously horse drawn
cabs). his boyhood was passed on the Warspite training ship and later served in the Navy and Mercantile Marine.

He was Organising Secretary of the London & Provincial Union of Licensed Vehicle Workers and then later United Vehicle Workers (which became the TGWU),

Ben Smith lived at 29 Birkbeck Avenue, Horn
Lane, Acton. and was active in "many committees in Acton".

He stood on a platform of

- Good Housing at reasonable rentals
- Equal Education facilities for all children
- Good Roads
- A better Tram service

He also
supported the nationalisation of all transport services

His election address contained a letter from Harry Gosling (the Uxbridge Labour Parliamentary Candidate in 1918) stating that the Hayes Labour Party were the only people who had tackled the housing problem.

His opponent was W.H. Evans owner/secretary of the Cocoa factory Hayes, West Middlesex

Ben Smith won on a low turnout, giving Labour its first Hayes Middlesex County Councillor

Elsewhere, in West Middlesex the Labour Party also did well in the County Council elections
at -

William Henry Knowles of 2 Brandville Road, West Drayton was elected foor Labour

A leather & boots shop tradesman in Yiewsley, he had been Harry Gosling's Election Agent, he was involved in the Wesleyan church (Brotherhood movement),was a Yiewsley Labour Councillor, and had previously helped establish the shop workers union in Wycombe.


Southall- Norwood
James Culley of 41 South Road, Southall was elected as Labour MCC County Councillor

He was a railway signalman and was elected with a huge

Ben Smith later dabbled with left wing politics and the Communist led "Red unions - RILU " but finally ended up in 1924 as Member of Parliament for Rotherhithe. Alderman Bermondsey Urban District Council 1926-1943. 

He became Sir Benjamin Smith and served in the 1945 Labour Cabinet as Food Minister, shock resignation in May 1946. Died 5th May 1964

Ben Smiths nomination form for 1919 was signed
by (all women)
Proposer; Ada Hillier
Seconder;Annie Rhodes;
Assentors; Fanny Elizabeth Smith; Annie Eleanor Fuller; Alice Mary Laporte; Florence Gertrude Williams; Mary Catherine Aldridge; Charlotte Lillian Chambers; Ellen Pullen; May Smith

(this was the first County Council election where women had had the vote)