Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hayes & Harlington Labour Candiates from1918 -


1918 Harry Gosling
1920** PPC Captain Frank Goldstone did not stand at 1922
1922 W.J. Brown
1923 Robert Small
1924 Robert Small
1929 Reginald. F. 0. Bridgeman
1931 L.M.Worsnop
1945 Walter H Ayles (Elected)
1950 Walter H Ayles (Elected)
1951 Walter H Ayles (Elected)
1953 Arthur M Skeffington (By Election) (Elected)
1955 A.M.Skeffington (Elected)
1959 A.M Skeffington (Elected)
1964 A.MSkeffington (Elected)
1966 A.M Skeffington (Elected)
1970 A.M.Skeffington (Elected)
1971 Neville Sandleson (By Election) (Elected)
1974 Neville Sandleson (Elected)
1979 Nevile Sandleson (Elected) (later defected to SDP)
1983 Peter Fagan
1987 Peter Fagan
1993 John McDonnell
1997 John McDonnell (Elected)
2001 John McDonnell (Elected)
2005 John McDonnell (Elected)
2010 John McDonnell (Elected)
2015 John McDonnell (Elected)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hayes Labour Association Estb1910

The Establishment of Hayes Labour Association

The Labour Representation Committee had been established in 1903 as primarily a parliamentary organisation to co-ordinate Labour MP’s.

A few areas such as Ealing experimented with the establishment of local Labour Representation Committees (LRC), however it was not until 1909 that the Labour Party was encouraging the establishment of local Labour Parties.

The initial meetings of the Hayes Labour Association took place in a cottage in Hayes 1910 when Percy Langton was elected as the Association's first Secretary .
Contemporary reports state the “foster mothers” of the Hayes Labour Association were Percy Langton and Henry Palmer.

Percy Osborne Langton was a decorator and plumber of Angel Lane. He was born in Hayes in 1889 the son of Walter Langton.
While Henry Palmer was a bricklayer “with a heart of gold and a tongue like a lash of whip silver” he was also an active campaigner for allotments. Langton stated” It had been a conversation between two working men of whom Mr. Palmer had been one and he would remember with pride had been the other” April 1915.

It was largely due to Henry Palmer that the Hayes Labour Association had been established Labour to Power Percy Osborne Langton referred to origins of the Hayes Labour Association.

In the local council elections of 1910 the Hayes Labour Association embarked upon an electoral strategy that would secure its meteoric rise to power. The Association planned to field its first candidate. Percy Langton however he stood down in favor of Henry Palmer . 

The previous year 1909, Henry Palmer had stood as a “Working Man’s” candidate, losing by just 34 votes.” He was a bricklayer with a heart of gold and a tongue like the lash of a whip of silver” wire” at this his second attempt and now as a Labour candidate Palmer failed by a mere 6 votes.
At the following 1912 council election the Hayes Labour Association had secured the election of three Labour Councillors onto the Urban District Council - Henry Palmer, Percy Langton and William Rawlings, the later a packing case worker.

“Much had been made out of the labour party being socialist, he for one was not ashamed of owning up he was a socialist, but the whole of the Labour party were not socialist” Palmer May 1912

George A Sellwood had by 1914 become the joint secretary of the Hayes Labour Association.

At the 1914 Council election, Labour succeeded in having elected Juan Colonna Drenon a Bookseller and Frederick Mason a machinist.

The rapid advance of the Hayes Labour Association had not gone unnoticed and the London (Evening) Standard which warned in February 1913 that Hayes was now a “danger spot” in the Uxbridge Parliamentary Division
‘There is one danger spot in thoroughly Unionist (Conservative)Division Uxbridge it is only a spot at present but it wants watching “

”At present no radical candidate is before the constituents and it really is not a matter of surprise, it is no joke to fight in the radical interest in this division”
“There is a weak spot on which more guns require to be directed at Botwell, Hayes. The population and electorate are very rapidly increasing. Many of the newcomers are not landowners seeking fresh air and the amenities of rural Middlesex. They are largely importations from the North and Midlands."
“Gradually radicalism has been sown and the Hayes District will be important in the future fight”.

The Labour Party was not only being attacked from the right, the left, notably by the Uxbridge branch of the Social Democratic Federation established in 1908 in the guise of Mr A. D. Notley and Mr Barr. It was also attacked by John Hoffman of the Socialist Party of Great Britain who witheringly stated
“To call the Labour Party Socialist, which contains for the most part job hunting trade union officials making sheep’s eyes at the capitalist class”.

At the1914 election the Hayes Labour Association secured the election of five Labour councilors out of a possible nine, thus securing a Labour majority on the Hayes Urban District Council for the first time, The five included
Percy Langton
William Rawlings
Juan Drenon
Fredrick Mason
Robert Woodward

Merlane Chair of the HLA stated June 1914

“The Hayes Labour Association held a meeting after every meeting of the council and their representatives hold a meeting after every meeting and their representatives had to report to them as to the work done and the Association brought forward certain propositions and left the members to carry them out if they did not carry out their wishes of the Association they were asked why”

The Hayes Labour Association’s stunning success in securing a majority on the council was unrivalled by any other Labour Party, certainly in Southern England, The success should be measured against the fact that Labour strongholds such as Acton, Poplar, Battersea and Rhondda did not fall to Labour until 1919.

The relatively early electoral success of the Labour Party in Hayes helped undoubtedly to consolidate the Party during the forthcoming period of political instability caused by the outbreak of World War 1. Elsewhere the War unquestionably slowed the advance of the Labour Party and sowed confusion in its ranks, as jingoism replaced normal politics.

Despite national setbacks by 1915, Hayes Labour Association could claim an astonishing two-thirds majority on the council with Robert William Gunton being elected. The Labour councilors first action was to elect Councillor Juan Drenon as the first Labour Chairman of Hayes UDC.

Juan Drenon was born in 1864 in Liverpool, he was an inspirational man who through himself fully into the work of the Association. He is credited with pushing ahead with the early council housing scheme's and it could have been no accident that he was elected the first Labour Chairmen of the council

Note: Photo Palmer 28 Feb 1913 pg5 Gazette

Hayes Labour Association

The impact of the first ten years of the Hayes Labour Association 1910-1920
“Not his masters voice - but the workers voice”


Hayes in 1901 was a sleepy agricultural village in West Middlesex owned by just a handful of landlords. With a population of 2,594. However, at the turn of the twentieth centaury it was transformed in the space of ten years into one of British Empires major centres for the mass production of the new technologies of the day, such as gramophones, typewriters, and printing. Its population increasing from 4,261 in 1911 to 8,394 by 1921.

It was the decision of Hayes Development Company to acquire land adjacent to Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1899 to build modern factories upon. The choice of Hayes for the site of so many new factories was according to the local newspaper no accident “The Advertiser February 1907” for the following reasons: -
a) The short distance from London
b) Accessibility to rail and canal routes
c) Lower council rates
And ironically
d) Because the labour market in London was not controlled by the London Trades Union Council

Ironic because, Hayes would become one of the most trade unionised areas in Britain, exerting considerable influence on a local Labour party which itself would dominated Hayes politics for the next one hundred years.

The formation of Hayes Urban District Council The original Hayes Parish council was established in 1894, it was reported that the councillors consisted of “five socialists and four gentlemen” this is however very doubtful. With the national re-organisation of Local Government the Hayes Urban District Council was formed in1904 but with only limited voting rights for men and non for women.

As with many other councils at the time, a number of local dignitaries were elected to govern. Indeed such was the lack of political debate on the new council that the councilors referred to themselves as the “happy family”.

The landlords of Hayes were renound for their refusal to sell land for small holdings or to build houses and accordingly were viewed with bitterness by the local working people of Hayes who were expected to “doff their hats and curtsey” to Shackle family and other landlords, a bitterness that remained palpable amongst a number of early Labour Party activists well into their old age such as Clara Barney.

During this period key debates at council meetings revolved around issues such as the treacherous state of the Hayes roads, often impassable because of mud and the hazard to health of Hayes pond.

Early yeas of twentieth century their was increasing unemployment in the West Middlesex area, George Lansbury who would later become famous for the Poplar Council revolt, spoke on unemployment at Uxbridge town hall October 1905. But the only real option for many poor in the district was migration to Canada and Australia.

By 1905 the Liberals felt strong enough once again to challenge the Conservative monopoly of on the Uxbridge Division, It had not even contested the previous election. As perspective Parliamentary Liberal candidate Sidney Pocock pointed out “Liberalism had been dead and dormant in the division for 20 years” . Locally on Hayes Council attempts to maintain the “happy family” in power were helped by the lack of political activity.

At the 1906 Hayes Council election it was stated “Election fever is apparently unknown to Hayes”At present no radical candidate is before the constituents and it really is not a matter of surprise, it is no joke to fight in the radical interest in this division”

But things were starting to change George Moses a Grocer of stood as a “progressive” and was elected in 190 he was joined by George Lowe a famous horticulturalist in 1908, as was the staunch independent but progressive leaning Israel Ellis, Headmaster at the Hayes Industrial School for Jewish boys.

One of the key reasons for the move to secure the election of progressive candidates to local councils, was in order to secure trade union rates of pay for council employed staff, this was known as “fair wages” and it was around this that political debates on Hayes UDC crystallised in July 1908.

The local newspapers attitudes to political developments was polarised with the Gazette wholeheartedly supporting the Conservative Party and taking every opportunity to attack the emerging Liberal, Labour and Socialist movements. Meanwhile the progressive forces had in Mr Hanson the editor of the Middlesex Advertiser from 1906 a close friend of the Labour Party founder Kier Hardie The Gazette warned in 1908 for example that

“The coming enemy is socialism and socialism of the Victor Grayson, Blatchford, H.G Wells and G.B.Shaw are not to be answered by a policy of sops they must be met by a railing back to the united principle that have led the United Kingdom and the Empire on a path of sure and sane, if apparently slow progress”.

Meanwhile the progressive cause recievied a major injection of radicalism, when the newly completed factories required skilled and un skilled labour. These positions were often filled by unemployed workers from the Midlands, North of England and Wales. These workers not only brought with them a strong commitment to trade unionism but also to the newly emerging Labour Party.

While work could now be found in Hayes accommodation and lodgings were hard to come by and of dubious quality. It was estimated that two thirds of the workers employed in the new factories traveled from the surrounding conurbations of Southall and Acton. An early survey conducted by the Hayes Labour Association highlighted the level of the problem. According to the Association over 2,000 men traveled to Hayes by rail and a further 1,000 by bicycle, tram or walking. The Association noted that some workers traveled over 21 miles to work in Hayes. It is therefore unsurprising that housing would later become such a dominant issue in the rise to power of Labour Party in Hayes and would leave an indelible mark upon the future geography of Hayes.

This site was established as part of "Our History" project. To provide information on the part played by working men and women to impove our Society.