Thursday, July 26, 2007

Keith Dobson

Keith was simply one of the best community and Labour Party Councillors in Hayes.

His commitment, mischievous mind, happy nature and passion for a better world made him very popular with all who meet him.

A committed family man (his wife Sue and daughters Sarah and Clare), a keen horticulturalist, allotment owner, and pipe smoker, (and he liked a good pint of beer).

He had worked for Hillingdon Law Centre (Hayes) during the GLC days, but later worked as Housing Officer in Ealing. Having been a member of TGWU and NALGO.

A Labour party member for 35 years (having resigned on "numerous occasions" as John McDonnell MP pointed out).

He threw himself into everything think he did for the community, being an active Ward Councillor for the London Borough of Hillinhgdon and a school governor,
Keith was rightly proud that he organised a march from Hillingdon hospital in support of the health workers in 1982. Keith an opponent of the hated Poll Tax even attempted to pay his poll tax on a cheque, written on a banana and later in pennies.

Keith along with John McDonnell MP fought against the expansion of Heathrow airport which threatened to destroy his beloved village of Harmondsworth Keith Dobson was elected in 1986 as Councillor for Barnhill Ward and later Heathrow (surving one term along with his daughter Sarah 1990-1994).

He succumbed to illness on 13th September 2001 at Hillingdon hospital aged 62.

The packed funeral in Harmondsworth village church on Thursday 20th September 2001, where John McDonnell MP read the eulogy, simply reflected the high esteem he was held in by his community and by his comrades.

(Top) Election address Barnhill L-R
Keith Dobson, Richard Farrell, Michael Walker

(Right) Keith at the annual Inter Constituency Cricket Match at Brunel Uni Playing fields (Hayes v Uxbridge) Brian Hudson at the wicket

Monday, July 23, 2007

Southall Bowls Club established 1901

Southall Bowling Club was begun on a small green by the side of the White Swan Public House, King Street, Southall in 1901

The originators in Southall were two brother George and Alfred Standley

The "mother club" in the District

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ealing Labour & Trades Council 1937

Chairman: Mr H.J. Andrews
Vice Chairman: G. Ridley MP
Vice Chairman: Joe Sherman

Secretary: Miss I.M. Dunstall
Asst Secretary: Mrs M.C. Gooderham
Treasurer: Mr E. Hemming
Registrar: Mr E. Gerken

Mrs Moelwyn-Hughes, Mr Bagenal, Mr Gooderham, Mr Gilbert, Mr Patchett, Mr Anderson, Mr Burton, Mr Taylor

Ealing Labour Hall Committee (later Sherman hall)
Mrs Coomes, Mrs Turner, Mr Reynolds, Mr Holt, Mr Preston, Mr Bagenal, Mr Anderson, Mr Gooderham

Labour Fete Committee
Mrs Brayshay, Mrs Conquest, Mr Voisk, Mr Brayshay, Mr Privett

Labour Party Home Counties Organiser: Mr Kneeshaw

Friday, July 20, 2007

Vishnu Sharma

Born in the Punjab in 1921, Vishnu Sharma was active in the peasant movement and later in trade unions, becoming Assistant General Secretary of the Punjab Provincial TUC at a time of the British Raj.

Because of his militancy, he was arrested six times and imprisoned for a total of three and a half years. He was forced to stay in his village for 21 months and visit the police at 11am every Sunday. Sharma joined the Communist Party of India in 1937.

He left for Britain in 1957, arriving on a Friday, speaking no English and with just three pounds in his pocket. On the Monday, he joined the British Communist Party. He worked in a rubber factory in Southall, taught himself English and immersed himself in trades unionism; Sharma became a member of the British Communist Party’s Executive Committee from 1971.

Long active in the Indian Workers Association, he was elected President of the Southall Indian Workers Association (IWA) established on 3rd March 1957, by some of the younger more radical elements of the Punjabi community in 1957.

Vishnu Sharma was also Vice-Chair of the Campaign against Racial Discrimination, a founder member and full time worker for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and a member of the National Council for Commonwealth of Immigrants, the forerunner of the Commission for Racial Equality, from which he resigned in protest at the 1968 Immigration Act.

He was a member of the original Steering Committee of the Anti-Nazi League. The author of a Communist Party pamphlet, “No Racist Immigration Laws” (1979),

Vishnu Sharma died at age of 72 in Delhi after attending a Congress of the Communist Party of India.

Sources: Communist Party pamphlet “No Racist Immigration Laws” 1979; Morning Star May 1st 1992

Ealing Population 1951 non British 333

Ealing Population 1959 1,250 Asian 150 Jamaicans

1965 Strike by Asian Workers at Woolf Rubber Company and Rockware Glass

1973 Strike by Asian workers at Gutterman Textile (Perivale) and Lyons (Greenford)

1976 Strike by Asian workers at Heathrow Catering, Dura Tube Wires, Chibnall Bakeries

1979 Strike by Asian workers at Ealing hospital, St Bernards and Hillingdon

1982 Strike by Asian Workers at Ealing and Hillingdon Hospital

1986 Strike by Asian workers at Privatisation of support services at Hillingdon hospital

1995 Strike by Asian workers at Hillingdon Hospital

1998 strike by Asian workers at Lufthansa Skychef

2005 Strike by Asian Workers at Gate Gourmet and unoffical baggage handlers
Mrs Rubenstein Chairman of Ealing branch of National Birth Control association
said the movement was progressing slowly, the influence of birt control she said was to increase the quality of health in children born to a nation

Ealing Labour Hall estb 1926

An idea that originated five or six years ago ill the minds of" a few enthusiasts has been consummated in the erection, by voluntary labour, of the Ealing Labour Hall in Dorset Road, Ealing, London

Mrs. J.R. Clynes visited the hall on Saturday afternoon, and performed the chief office in its ceremonial opening, Mr. A W. Whinnett (the secretary) recounted tlie history of the scheme.

The idea of a Labour Hall for Ealing, he said, arose in the minds of a few enthusiasts some five or six years ago, and they rightly thought that the progress of the Labour Party would be stimulated if a building could be erectedrom which the organisation might be directed of the Party's many activities, both political and social.

Under the secretaryship of Mr. Whinnett a committee was formed, and a start made in the building up of financial resources.

This, Mr Whinnett said. was essentially a long process, because the money
had to be collected in small amounts of sixpences and shillings.

In spite of trials and difficulties, the committee raised a sufficient amount to purchase the plot of land upon which the building stood, and the tennis court adjoining at a cost of £154 (about £45,000) when the purchase of the land was completed.

Mr Wilson found that he could no longer carry out the duties of secretary, and He was succeeded in March, 1924, by Mr Yeo, who filled the post very efficiently until the end of the year.

It was during this time that the business of the` building was turned into a company and registered under the Friendly Societies' Act and affiliated with the Co-operative Union.

The speaker followed Mr. Yeo in the secretarial office,
At that time the committee was faced with the fact that it had very little money left, and it also appeared that interest in the scheme was flagging.

A scheme was organised to get members of the Party to take shares and tthis arrested the drift of thought from the end in view.


When, however, estimates came to be obtained a new and serious impediments to the speedy realisation of the Party's objective arose.

The tenders ranged in price from £620, without lighting or heating, to £950 inclusive.

Then largely on the counsel of Mr. Loosley the committee decided to undertake the full responsibility of erecting the building.

The total cost, including furnishing, was about £500 (Now about £150,000). The carrying out of the work by contract would have cost £900, and he thought it might be regarded as a notable achievement that by direct, voluntary labour so large a saving bad been effected. A sum of £300 had been borrowed from the Co-operative Wholesale Society Bank, and the Party found the balance.

Mr. Whinnett in conclusion, thanked Mr, Loosley, Mr Axten his lieutenant and Messrs Mitchell, Mr Wilson for work in connection with the foundations, inside work, etc. Messrs Barrett, Bushnell and Bright for painting decorating and glazing, Mr A. Smith and his two brothers for plumbing, Mr Hay for sign-writing; Messrs Evans, Thursby and comes for electric wiring and fitting and the womens section for much appreciated co-operation with these helpers.

Useful gifts in kind had been received from Mrs Lewingdon, and Messrs Hendy and Melhuish

Mr J.E. Robinson secretary of the Labour hall who presided at the opening and the President Mr A. H Chilton JP was unable to attend through illness

Mrs Clynes opening the hall referred to it, very aptly, as a delightful acquisition to the Party’s resources saying that it was evident that only a splendid and sustained ffort could have brought about such a result. The Labour Party all over the country had obtained a foothold by similar sacrificial service; the speaker hoped that members would regard this achievement as a humble beginning and in course of time they would add to the structure as others had done elsewhere

Mr G. H. Pratt proposed a vote of thanks to Mrs Clynes, Mr F.G. Taylor seconded and Mr J.R.O. Jones supported

Tea was afterwards served and in the evening a social was held

Ealing Labour Choral Society rendered part songs, and individual soloists were Miss K. Hurley, Mr A. Chudley, Mr H.R. Edwards and Mr Jones

Miss K. McNulty and Mrs H. Farley recited and Misses Gladys and Ida Ball gave exhibition dances

Misses E and K Hurley sang duets and Mr F. M. Costello entertained with magic and ventriloquism. Mrs Mutton was the accompanist

The Hall which should prove a valuable asset to the Labour Party is certain to be in pretty constant use; but it can be hired for meetings etc on application to Mr J. E Robinson of 150 (?) Felix Road, West Ealing,London

West Middlesex Gazette 16th January 1926


The Ealing Labour Hall was later renamed the Sherman Labour Hall (probably after the prominent member of the Joe Sherman Ealing Trades Council secretary during the 1926 general strike
and Ealing Labour Party Secretary in the 1930'sr)

The other Labour Hall was Ruskin Hall at 16 Church Road, W3

Southall Councillor, Middlesex County Councillor, Labour candidate for Windsor in 1929, prominet in the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) and Wesleyan Minister

Mr A.H. Chilton was accidentially killed while on duty as station foreman at West Ealing Station (must have been in the early 1930's)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Labour Party Candidates
Uxbridge Urban District Council 1960

Leader Alderman: Tom Parker

Hillingdon North
Frank Sutcliffe, 153 Lynhurst Cres, Buyer for BEA, Secretary Uxbridge Trades Council

Hillingdon East
Ron Bossonn, 69 the Dingle, TGWU member, married 3 children

Pete Harwood, 82a Pield Heath Lane, aged 22 , married, Asst Chemist Sec of Young Socialists, prominent in Uxbridge CND

John Collett, 81 Worcester Road, ex Royal Navy, service in WW2 and Korea, married 4 children

Uxbridge South
Emil Conrad, 9 Glebe Avenue, fought several council elections

Harry Woodhams, 2 Northwood Road, Harefield, leading councillor, ex Chairman of the Council, ex Chair of Housing

W. Oeter, 78 Burnham Ave, lived in district for 21 years, attended Breakspear and Haberdashers School, Nottingham University, Teacher LCC secondry modern school

Uxbridge North
T. Wright, 205 Lynhurst Cres, active TU since 1937, served in NFS and Royal Navy during war, and lived in district five years, married, one son

Hillingdon Central
D.J. Lugwell, 49 Oakdene Rd, lived in district for 23 years, works for GPO,keen sportsman, married one daughter

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Amalgamated Society of Engineers (Southall) 1913

At a meeeting of Southall branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) (later Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) held at Northcote Arms, Southall smoking concert occasion presentation of an award of merit

Mr Cantwell Presided
Mr Donkinson Executive member
Mr Dumbleton Branch secretary

Mr William Bywater related a life long experience in connection with trade unionism. His stewardship commenced in 1850 in the employ of the Railway Foundry at Leeds, where lie was apprenticed as smith, twelve months before the forming of the Society of Engineers.

It was from that foundry the first fast express engine, the" Jenny Lind." went out. At the time of such locomotive taking the iron road he listened to the discussions of the advocates of trade unionism. and subsequently became one of its earliest members.

He considered him self one of the ideal trade unionists. His shop was one of tlie finest trade unionist shops of that day, some 62 years ago when he joined as trade unionist at the age of nearlv 21 vears. He stood before them as a man over 80. He had fulfilled 2 secretaryships, '

First at Leeds and secondly at Bridgwater in 1874. He had been through all the battles of trade unionism. He played an important part in the boilermakers strike at Leeds in 1866, and at Bridgwater in later years. On each occasion his Executive Council enabled him to get the workers back to their employment. In those days he was a man who stuck up for his employer. He did so because the firms were in the right and his fellow-workers in the wrong. He considered the object of an ideal trade unionist was to support the party which was in the right, and this he did in his day by upholding the employers of labour, and on each occasion he received the support of his Society at head-quarters.

He thanked the Amalgamated Society of Engineers for having founded such an excellent excellent institution which provided him with ampler means of comfortable subsistence in old age and kept him out of the poor house.

When old age was creeping on with weakened intellect and diminished strength he was in a position to thank god for the provision which his Society had secured .

He appreciated the gifts presented to him

At the conclusion of his remarks Mr Bywater was greeted with the singing of “He’s a jolly good fellow”

A peculiar coincidence in connection with Mr Bywater is the fact that he was formerly a blacksmith and had three uncles who were blacksmiths and he himself was known as “Uncle” to the members of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE)

In full appreciation of these facts the Chairman followed by singing the “Village blacksmith” the ringing and clanging being rhythmically taken up by the brothers in the Lodge

The illuminated ASE address presented to Mr Bywater bore the following inscription

“Amalgamated Society of Engineers (Sectional Societies amalgamated 1857) present to Brother William Bywater of Southall branch by special resolution of the Executive Council for faithful services in the capacity of Branch secretary and other branch officers extending over 57 years. Dated December 1913 signed Robert Young, Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) General Secretary

Still achieving, still pursuing Learn to labour and to wait”

Southall Carpenters & Joiners Union

Councillor Horace Lucia - Farewell

Report Southall Gazette 21st November 1913

Members of Southall General Union of Operative Carpenters and Joiners union assembled at the Northcote Arms, Southall on Wednesday evening last week, the occasion being a farewell dinner in honour of Mr Horace Lucia.

Mr. Lucia was practically the founder of the Southall Branch of the Carpenters & Joiners Union, and during the twelve years of it existence- he held the offices of Secretary, Treasurer, and President at various periods, until about sixteen moths ago he secured a Government appointment on the West Coast of Africa (Ghana).

He has now been home on holiday for four months, and returned to resume his duties in West Africa on Wednesday.

Mr. F.Hann presided, and was supported by Mr H. Lucia, A. Bond (secretary), and Mr J. Rundle (walking delegate of the union), with Mr. William Matkin (general secretary) of the union) in the vice-chair.

An excellent dinner was provided by Host J. H. Gerard following; which the Chairman read a letter from Mr. A. W. Rayner (Carpenters & Joiners Union District Secretary), who regretted his inability to attend, and expressed ins good wishes to Bro.Lucia whom he knew to be a good worker for trade unionism, j

After the loyal toast had been duly honoured the Chairman expressed his pleasure at being in the chair at what was the first social evening hold by the Sonthall Branch.

He hoped that it would not be the last, as in his opinion more good was done at' one social evening than at all the Branch meetings that could be crammed into a twelve months

The object of the meeting that night was to honour one whom they were proud to call "one of us," Brother Horace Lucia. It was quite unnecessary for him to give even a brief history of his career: it was well known to all of them. Brother Lucia had been a member of the General Union for the last twenty years, and had always taken an active interest in trade unionism and all that it meant. He thought they could do with a great deal more members of thee same mettle as Bro Lucia, for wherever there was any work to be done there ho was to be found, always in the front rank.

Those "stars" in the human firmament seemed to be few and far between they rose up amongst them. cheered those who came into-contact with them and, after a time, dropped out and were lost sight of.

The " star " of Southall had dropped out quicker than expected.Like some stars that returned periodically, he was back with them that night, and he hoped that the time would come when they would have him back withthem permanently.

He would be returning to the West Coast of Africa next week, and he took that opportunity of assuring him, on behalf of the members of that branch, that they would never forget him. -

He (the speaker) was one of the representatives to the trades and labour council and at their meetings frequent reference was made to the name of Bro Lucia and the views he advocated.

That showed that his advice there was very much respected and spoke volumes for his uprightness and soundness of judgement.

It was their earnest wish that he might be permitted to return home once more to his wife and fanily and those tiesof friendship he valued so much

He asked them to drink to the health and prosperity of their friend and brother Brother Horace Lucia.

Mr Horace Lucia responded and expressed his deep appreciation for the flaterring manner in which the toast had been peroposed and the cordial manner in which it had been recievied. He had know nearly half the members present for quite twenty years – the length of his membership in the society and at times had the pleasure of disagreeing with most of them but at the same time he would like to say that whether they agreed or agreed to differ with their colleagues and friends in an organisation like that if their principles were good and their actions straight forward they would be able to say as he could that after that number of years they were the best of friends and hoped to remain so for many years to come

Mr William Matkin said he was very pleased to have the opportunity of meeing their friend Bro Lucia he knew the struggle br lucia had in the formation of that lodge and the manner he had stuck to since its inceptionand was sure that he was pleased to see the members present that evening and the altered conditions of things woith regard to the feeling towards trade unionism that was spreading throughout the country and especially in London

he also refered to Horace Lucia being practically the father of the Southall trades and labour movement.

Horace Lucia active in Southall Clarion Fellowship
Horace Lucia Elected as first Labour Councillor in Southall
This report would have the Southall Carpenters & Joiners Union established in 1901

William Matkin
, 1883-1920
WiIliam Matkin was born at Gaythorpe, Lincolnshire , in 1845, and as was customary in those parts served his apprenticeship as a joiner in residence with the master with whom he was indentured. When he became a journeyman he migrated to Sheffield, where he joined the G.U. in 1864; and from there to London . In the Metropolis he attached himself to Wandsworth Town Lodge and later to the London Progressive Lodge. Always active in trade union affairs, for some years he acted as the London District Secretary for the, G.U. lodges until his appointment as General Secretary in the latter ­part of 1883. This post he held continuously until his death in 1920. In 1890 he was president of the Liverpool Trades Union Congress and was elected to the Parliamentary Committee of that body

The clock

The clock belonged to a Mrs Horace Lucia, 22 Butter market, Bury St Edmunds circa 1880s

Photo London Committee 1891

Uxbridge branch of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners was meeting in 1888 and working closely with the Operative Bricklayers Society

Monday, July 09, 2007


The second meeting of the Ealing and District Labour Representation Committee (LRC) held on Friday, the 3rd June 1904 at the Swift Assembly Rooms, Ealing Green, when eight unions and kindred organisations were represented. Deputations were appointed to interview unaffiliated societies.

LRC District Secretaries were appointed for Acton, Chiswick, Ealing, and Hanwell, (West Middlesex) with a view to preparing the way forf electoral work at coming elections. It was decided to meet on the first and third Fridays of each month. Gazette June 11th 1904

7th May 1904 next sunday Labour Representation Committee Sundsy afternoon demonstration against indentured chinese labour on Ealing common also to denounce taxation of the peoples food
march from Chiswick, Brentford and Hanwell continguents reach Ealing Common by 3.15
2.45 Old Hatter, West Ealing, march headed by Ealing town band

William Piggott
Honary Secretary Ealing & District Labour Representation Committee (LRC)



Under the auspices of the Southall Independent Labour Party (ILP) Reginald Sorensen’s play “ Tolpuddle “ was given at Holy Trinity Hall, Southall, on Saturday evening.

As the title indicates, the play deals with the Dorsetshire farm labourers who were transported to Botany Bay in 1834, ostensibly for taking an illegal oath, but in reality for forming a farm workers’ trade union.

The play opens at the present time, when a motor party, whose car has broken down, arrive at an inn in Tolpuddle. One of the natives is astonished to hear that they do not know of Tolpuddle and the memorial to the martyrs in the ‘local chapel, and proceeds to read the account of the unveiling of the memorial.

One of the party, who holds!” strong “ views on the need for keeping the workers in their place, falls, to sleep during which the whole drama of Tolpuddle is enacted, he taking the part of an informer in the early part, and the moving spirit to secure their release in the latter part of the play

This part was adequately performed by Mr Charles Wright, Mr. Sorensen took the part of one of the labourers, George Lovelace, and doubled the part of an Under Secretary in Whitehall.

Both were done well, the latter being a perfect gem in its portrayal of a good-looking self-satisfied numb skull.

Miss Elsie Pracy was George’s sweetheart, a serving maid, who uses all her influence and womanly wiles to get George to have nothing to do with the union, only to change her view when George is arrested and sent to Botany Bay.

She was very good also,The other characters were in good hands, though the opening scene and reading of the rules would be better for a little excision. From this point, however, the play proceeded with a swing from the arrest of the trio to their trial, the attempt or Jennie and Standfield’s (another labourer’s) wife to influence the Under Secretary, and the final reunion with the returned convicts who learn that £1,300 has been subscribed for them and also that the union is no more.

In the last scene the sleeper wakes, takes some time to come to himself, and astonishes his companions by saying that Tolpuddle is greater than they think.

Altogether it was an excellent little play and a very interesting to a student of the early days of trades unionism –F.H

20 March 1926 Uxbridge Advertiser & Gazette

Reginald Sorensen (sometimes spelt Sorenson) born Higbury, London on 19th June 1891 was a theological student and ex minister of the Free Christian Church, at Walthamstowand grand father of Sheila Sorensen

Chairman of the National Peace Council, India League, West African Students Union and Fabian Colonial Bureau

Member of Walthamstow council 1921-1924, Essex County Council 1924-1945,
Stood unsuccessfully for the Labour Party at Southampton in the 1923 and 1924 General Election and again in 1934 at Lowerstoft.

Elected Leyton West (Leyton), in North London in 1929, defeated at the 1931 general election, but regained it again in 1935 and held it until retired to the Lords as Baron Sorenson in 1965

Owen Rattenbury story of the six Dorsetshire Labourers (Tolpuddle Martyrs)"Flame of Freedom" printed 1931 credits Sorensen

Sorensen's play seems to have been wriiten up as a 86 page booklet in 1928 called "Tolpuddle or who's affeared"

Reginald Sorensen Died 8 October 1971


Councillor Mrs B (Barbara) A Chard came to Southall in 1898, helped found the Women’s Co-operative Guild and the Women’s Railway (Union) Guild.

During the World War 1 she helped women munitions workers, in groups of up to eighty to find accommodation in Hayes and Southall area.

Elected as Southall Labour Councillor in 1919 and onto the Board of Guardians, became Chairman of Southall Urban District Council in 1926

Mr Albert J Chard was her husband, also a Labour JP a railway guard

Positive this is Barbara Chard born in 1872 at Cardigan, Wales aged 29 at 1901 census

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

First Socialist Public Meeting in Hillingdon

In July 1907 The London Standard announced that the London Clarion Scouts planned an “invasion” of Uxbridge, however the project was abandoned because of “inclement weather”. It then fell to the Southall Clarion Scouts to carry through on the plan and accordingly embarked upon the journey to St Margaret’s church Uxbridge on Saturday July 13th 1907 with the aim of initiating out what was the first socialist meeting ever held in Uxbridge at the old pump outside the church,

The local paper covered the event accordingly
“The meeting one of the first open air meetings held in Uxbridge was held outside St Margaret’s Church, the chief speaker being Councillor Horace Lucia (Southall) he explained that they (Socialists) aimed at the nationalisation of all means of production, distribution and exchange - not in order to rob anybody in any shape whatever, but in order to prevent the people, the workers being robbed as they were at present.

Socialism, he claimed, concerned life at every point, and would certainly sweep away the present unwholesome and unsanitary conditions in which so many of the working classes had to live, a condition, too which meant that they were underfed, badly clothed, and ill housed. He urged that the land, machinery, and other means of producing wealth. Should be utilised for the benefit of the whole nation, and not, as now, for the enrichment of a comparative few, while the mass of the people never knew how they were going to live from week to week.

Finally, he urged that if the people wanted social reforms carried out, they must look to no party but their own for they would get nothing which they did not strenuously claim and work for on their own behalf.

In November 1907 the Uxbridge gazette reported on the following regular events on Saturday night at the pump at St Margaret’s
Church Uxbridge , “The visitor to Uxbridge may see on any Saturday night just how the local people like the teachings of Socialism. Be it understood that the Uxbridge Socialist Society assembled themselves (with important speakers) in the triangle just outside the Church in Windsor Street and mounted on a box painted in flaming red, proclaimed to the public some of the advantages of Socialism. But the funny part of the whole business is that the Uxbridge people wont see the Socialists emphasise (ie) that “Socialism alone is the salvation of the masses” one of our staff went out of curiosity to watch the proceedings and the following transcript from his notebook will show pretty clearly the kind of reception the red flag has received

SOCIALIST ORAITOR: “the capitalists are..
THE CROWD: “Three cheers for Sir Frederick” (The local Tory MP)
SOCIALIST ORAITOR: “The wage slaves of England”

THE CROWD: “Good old Joe”

SOCIALIST ORAITOR: “You sweated workers”

THE CROWD: “Rot, Ailens, Jews”

SOCIALIST ORAITOR: “Think of your present conditions, I heard a man just now he had lost his job “

THE CROWD: an egg or two is thrown

THE CROWD: “Tariff Reform”
THE CROWD: Then a none too musical voice rises to song “If I could only take your hand” The notes are rendered in the slowest possible manner the musical susceptibilities of one of the socialists are hurt.
SOCIALIST ORAITOR: leaves the box and a colleague fills the vacancies.

SOCIALIST ORAITOR: “ ill sing you a song (he says) The red flag and he gets no further.
Boisterous laughter is all that is heard, discard reigns. Supreme despair on the faces of the red flaggers.
A Policeman walks round with a merry twinkle in his eye
ONE VOICE: “Three cheers for Joe”
THE CROWD: in unison they come back ONE VOICE: “And now three cheers for John Burns”
THE CROWD: “Boo - Boo - Boo - ray” When this has been repeated some half a dozen times.

THE CROWD: Sing God Save the Queen, two or three times

All then becomes quiet the Socialists have departed the crowd follows suit The Socialists however, before they went promised to return on Sunday morning.

The Secretary of Uxbridge Socialist Society was in 1907 Mr A.D. Notley of 8 Tachbrook Road, Uxbridge, who became a well known Uxbridge Socialists family.

At the end of September/early October 1908 a Socialist Van (This must have been a Clarion). The “Vanners” “entered upon a three day match with lungs and wit at Uxbridge, for about three hours each evening the pavement under the Market House rang with the heavy shock of the wordy warfare, and it
must be admitted that the Socialist Orator held their own remarkably well”

Albert Notley, born Meadham, Suffolk founder member of Uxbridge Social Democratic Federation later Party (SDF/SDP) Life Assurance Agent.

The other Social Democratic Federation member Dickie Bond recalled was Mr Barr who had a watch repair shop in the market house, Uxbridge.

A local Uxbridge branch of the Social Democratic Federation (DSDF) was established in early 1908 and meet at the Ram Hotel on Wednesday nights one of the first meetings was on “The coming down fall of our present social system” Public House.

Both the Notley and Barr family were involved in trade union activities into the 1980's

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Trico equal pay strike at the company's Great West Road Factory, Brentford, commenced on May 76' after a long period of management procrastination and manoueuvres to evade their obligations under the Equal Pay Act of December 1975.
Trico has a virtual monopoly of the windscreen wiper market, and is an American multinational company with headquarters in Buffalo, New York. Soon after the strike commenced, it was necessary to organise a 24-hour picket as, on a number of occasions, blackleg convoys with massive police support charged through picket lines at the dead of night to try to keep supplies moving.

But strikebreaking, arrests of pickets, police intimidation, the management's use of the Tribunal machinery, misleading letters, local press hostility, etc., all foundered. After 21 weeks of highly courageous and self-sacrificing struggle, full of problems and tensions but also of humour and dignity, a magnificent victory was won that can give new confidence to millions of women and other workers.
On October 17, after 21 weeks outside the gates, in pouring rain but in an unforgettable scene of jubilation and confidence which I was privelidged to witness, the women and men strikers marched back victoriously through Trico main gate, a totally transformed force compared with those who walked out with doubts and hesitations 21 weeks earlier.

 Like many of the hundreds, especially young people often with music and song who "manned" the picket line at night, I (Tom Durkin) was privileged to play a small part in the picket with Brent Trades Council and Secretary, Jack Dromey. (Harriet Harman then working for Brent Law Centre gave legal advice)
Here, I would like to pay tribute to the work and courageous perseverance of the Strike Committee, to the magnificent leadership of the Southall District AUEW and other officials, to the help of GLATC and Trades Councils and to the many Shop Stewards' Committees and others who are legion and, without whose help, this victory would not have been achieved.
My attempt at "versifying" very inadequately chronicles some aspects of this historic struggle which rightly has been compared with that of the Bryant and May "Matchgirls" of 1888. More worthy contributions in prose and poetry will undoubtedly appear in due course.

No more we'll stand at Trico's gates with heads and banners high.
No more will happy cheers or angry jeers our feelings signify.
But all will still recall with pride, though a thousand years should pass.
This immortal strike that few can equal, and none surpass.
At Trico's gates a golden page has truly now been written,
A page no sneering scribe nor cynic, even the hardest bitten,
Can dim or e'er belittle, for here was made an epic stand
Inspiring and exciting women, in this and many another land.
Near 90 years have passed since Unions first demanded equal pay,
Heralding for women, the dawning of a more enlightened day,
When sex discrimination and oppression would be swept away,
And equal rights triumphant reign, as the order of this new day.
Little did those Trico women dream before the month of May,
That fate had then allotted them a special role to play.
To stand upon a picket line, all through each night and day
And lead this hard demanding struggle, undaunted, come what may.
The Trico bosses scoffed and boasted when the strike had just begun
"In three short hours they'll crumble and crawling to us come.
Then we'll hire and fire to our hearts desire, we'll make them cringe and cower.
And they'll rue the day that for equal pay, they dared our might and power.

But these braggart bosses had a shock. Being neither scared nor pliant,
The women through the gates marched out, determined, proud, defiant.
And thus began that struggle grim 'gainst boss and scab and law.
For when a boss's loot's at stake he fights with teeth and claw.
Not three, nor even 3000 hours, brought those women to their knees.
It was Trico bosses, cap in hand, who said "settle if you please".
Tribunals, scabs, strike breaking cops, all proved of no avail.
For the women stood invincible, like granite cliffs before a gale.

Those pickets who stood at Trico's gates from many lands they came.
Just seeking a job and better life, not fortune vast nor fame.
Some black, some white or yellow or brown, whatever hue their skin,
They're all of the human family, are mankind's kith and kin.

And at those gates the women stood neath scorching summer sun,
Beside the ceaseless traffic that forever rumbles on.
The passing drivers often spoke by flashing lights or hooter blare,
As if to say "you'll win the day, if others help and do their share."

And through the night's long silent hours they stood when all seemed dead.
When only the moon and stars looked on from their orbits overhead.
While ghostly figures of pioneers who've long since passed away.
Matchgirls, suffragettes and others, stood there unseen supporting equal pay.

They stood there when their bodies ached and spirits all seemed spent.
When few there came to the picket line to do a welcome stint.
Oft huddling close together from piercing wind and lashing rain
They longed and sheltered homes, for glowing fires and cosy beds to lay in.
They stood there too unflinching when Trico scabs and thugs
Backed up by burly cops with hate filled eyes and vacant mugs.
Smashed through that picket line with van and juggernaut.
For measly blackleg pay their wretched little souls, were bought.

And those who crossed that picket line with a snivelling "blow you, Jill"
Whose creed is grab and never give, are lowly creatures. They're not men.
And when their children ask some day "Daddy, what did you do for equal pay ?"
"I ratted and took the Judas gold", with hang dog look, they'll have to say.

But let's salute those Trico men who joined the women's fight.
Not money did they do it for, but injustice to put right.
For they can hold their hands up high, and look all mankind in the eye
And give their children this reply "I struck, for rather than scab I'd die".

The Trico women had guts galore, but never were in a strike before.
Courage and guts need something more to put bosses like Trico on the floor.
With their Strike Committee as the core and Southall District to the fore
The fighting force they did create made Trico bosses capitulate.

A strike's a hard and searching test, some falter and some fall.
When there's debts to pay and food to buy, without the wherewithal.
When problems and worries ever mount, awaking and even in sleep.
So anger and compassion mix, for the drop-outs, and the weak.

Yes, a strike's a hard and searching test, it sorts the gold from dross.
The workers who uphold a right, from the toadies of the boss.
For progress always has its price of sacrifice and pain.
Which Trico women have fully paid, so millions more shall gain.

The bosses have no inspiring cause but they all stick together,
To rob and cheat the working-class, for this they help each other.
And though their wealth is vast indeed and buys both scab and press.
It could not buy one noble cause, though it filled this universe.

But struggles like Trico's need not be. Our Unions have such power.
Trico, or any boss could crush, within a single hour.
Without their say no wheel could turn, this country would stand still.
Bosses, even Governments, would come pleading, to settle there and then.

So, let's our tribute fully pay to sisters who bore the brunt.
Who never flinched nor faltered but proudly stood in front.
For they have shown to millions more that struggle can succeed
And millions when they strive as one, no power can them impede.

But in our flush of victory not once must we forget.
Other brave sisters who cry for aid, and who are sore beset.
In Belfast, Spain and Chile, in apartheid's ghetto hell.
Where the sadist brutes oft torture some lonely sister in a cell.

For none should have to fight alone when the cause is just and right.
And none should have to bow before the boss or tyrant's might.
Brothers and sisters hand in hand a new world we shall gain
When power into our hands we take and end all bosses' reign.

Salute then all who made this stand that echoes far and wide.
The women who broke the barrier and have released a tide.
For they have sparked a flame that grows, and nothing can withstand
Till women's rights are fully won in this green and pleasant land.
Till the new Jerusalem we have built, in England's green and pleasant land.

Tom Durkin Brent Trades Council

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Hillingdon Woodcraft meets every Tuesday evening during term time at the Uxbridge Centre, Greenway, Uxbridge, from 6.15pm-to-7.45 pm. -

At the moment we have an Elfin Group for 6 to 9 year olds and we hope to start a Pioneer Group for 10 to 13 year olds which will be run at the same time.

Our evenings consist of project work on subjects such as the environment, internationalism and cooperation and we play non-competitve games, do country dancing and usually round off the
session with some folk singing.

We have several ramps a year which are usually held in conjunction with other districts and organise walks and outings throughout the year.

We love to welcome all children but in order to organise our sessions, plan programmes and do fundraising, parent participation is essential.

The more parents are involved the less responsibility falls on each individual and all the children benefit from the variety of ideas put into tha group.

For more information please contact:
R. & S. Styles, P. Hunter, C. Breuer

Dickie Bond recalled the Woodcraft Folk in Uxbridge over many years

Women's Co-operative Guild

Women's Co-operative Guild 1983

Last week 3,000 women from all over Britain gathered together in the shimmering
heat in the gardens of a country mansion to celebrate the centenary of the Co-op
Women's Guild.

The women treated the grounds and the mansion of Stanford Hall in Loughborough
as 'their own, examining the commemorative plates, the old books and pamphlets on display.
the finely furnished rooms with an air of proud possession for they, as members of the Co-
operative movement, do indeed own them.

Stanford Hall, Loughborough in Leicestershire is the Co-op College which holds courses
long and short for people in the Co-op in Britain and people from the Third World countries on
subjects like retail management or how to set up co-operatively-run enterprises.

It was familiar territory for many of the women there celebrating in the grand centenary
picnic, as they had attended courses about the workings of the vast and complicated co- operative movement with its myriad of services and functions.

And this is the very reason the Co-op Guild was set Up in 1883 — to educate women about the Co-op with the prime purpose to get them to shop there and give the movement full support

The guild's symbol of the woman with the basket reminds us of this early purpose. But the guild grew to be much more than a shoppers' club and burgeoned, especially between the wars, into a mass women's movement with a membership of 90,000. campaigning on social issues.

A photographic exhibition at Stanford Hall remembered the campaigning days when guilds- women marched the streets of London on the peace issue or put pressure on members of Parliament over divorce law reforms,

When the Royal Commission on Divorce in 1911 invited the Co-op Women's Guild to contribute their opinions to the enquiry, over 60 per cent of the guild officers contributing, supported the radical notion of divorce by mutual consent.

In those day "adultery" was the sole grounds for divorce but the woman had also to show that
her husband's offence was aggravated by other wrong-doings such as desertion or cruelty.

After a long discussion about the need for cheaper and easier divorce for working class
women, the central committee of the Guild circularised branches about their opinions on divorce.

Replies were received from 429 branches, 414 supported and equal law for both men and women, while 364 were in favour of cheaper divorces so the low paid could also take advantage of the facility.

It is interesting, now that the Church of England's discussions on divorce are raising once more many old Christian objections, that in 1911 only 40 branches of the Guild were opposed to divorce.

For the first time there was a public expression of female working class opinion on the
-operation of the marriage laws through the Co-op guild. Working class women's experiences of bad marriages were catalogued and made public for the first time.

In the early days the Guild claimed that "it lifted the curtain which in marriage falls on a woman's life."

Women reported all forms of cruelty, including the transmission of sexual diseases, violent
behaviour and even attempts to induce miscarriage'.

A new book about the Guild "Caring and Sharing" written by Jean Gaffin and David Thomas quotes some of die original evidence: "She had 11 children and told me that during the periods of pregnancy he would do all sorts of things to frighten her and bring on a miscarriage.

"He even has crept down the cellar grate and then rushed up the steps and burst into the
kitchen with a great yell. She was obliged to stay with him, because she had no means of supporting herself and children.'

Divorce reform came slowly; in 1923 men and women were granted equality of treatment and in 1937 there was an extension of the grounds for divorce to include desertion, incurable in sanity and cruelty.


Financial assistance for poor families in seeking divorce was introduced in 1949 and mutual consent as the basis for divorce was not introduced until 1969.

Not only did the Guild campaign for divorce reform, armed with the experiences of ordinary women, but they also campaigned for better midwifery services and ante- -and post-natal clinics prompted by the descriptions of the terrible deprivation of expectant mothers and children gathered from guildswomen.

But the most immediate effect the Co-op Guild made on women's lives was getting them to take an interest in social and political issues outside the home.

An old leaflet dating from before World War I found at the exhibition, is a sad reminder that the social position of women has not changed very much in all those years.

It argues that women should take as much interest in outside matters as men, "If education and the fullest development of his powers in this outside work is good for the man then it is equally good for the woman."

It also argues that things had changed. "In the old-fashioned days it was the custom to sever the man's work from the woman's by the hard and fast rule that while the man's work and interests lay in outside matters, the woman's were entirely with those inside the house
children, house-cleaning, washing, sewing etc."

So things were beginning to change in 1903, but it is significant that the present feminist movement began in the Sate sixties by making exactly the same kind of observations on women's lot.

Memories of past radicalism this week have prompted" many guildswomen to compare the present day Co-op Women's Guild, with the old and the conclusion is that no longer is it the lively exciting movement that it once was. There are various reasons for the drop in membership, now down to 15,000. Since the Second World War the number of local co-op shops has been cut and women have lost the local base for branches.

The new general secretary, Claire Turner, a young woman who is taking over from Kathleen Kempton, sees the problem as one of recruiting among, young people. "We have to make' the Guild a political and campaigning force again," she said.Re-launch

"Our image will have to change somehow. If we focus the movement around say six key issues the Guild will be seen as an active movement with a positive identity.

"Really, after the centenary celebration we need a relaunch of the movement to get the new members in.

"Next year will see a lot more campaigning around peace," says Claire. The white poppy
launched by the Guild in the '30s as a symbol of peace, to be worn on Armistice Day, will be sold again.

Claire finds that the older members of the Guild are often much more radical in their willingness to campaign than the younger women. "This is because throughout their life they had to fight for what they have."

One veteran member, Florence Cowings, agrees with that sentiment. Fifty years in" the Guild, she said, "It has been my whole life. Working for the principles of co-operation has led me naturally to Socialism.

"I had five children" and it was for them I was working to get a better life, but now I'm very worried about the young people of today. Unemployment is de-grading and it makes them apathetic.

"I saw worse conditions and unemployment in my time - I joined the Jarrow marchers -
for five miles only — but then there was a more fighting spirit I don't find today."

It remains to be seen what role the Co-op Women's Guild takes now that it is into its second century. The question left hanging in the Loughborough air last week was summed up in the centenary exhibition.

"Can the guild link up with the contemporary feminist movement in attempting to show that the oppression is still as great as ever because of the un paid labour in the home, rein forced by the sexual division of labour under patriarchal capitalism?"

There were few if any guilds-women, young or old, who could disagree with the final statement in the exhibition. "The guild can only survive if it carries out a new identity for itself in its second century."

By Helen Bennett, Morning Star Tuesday 19th July 1983

SWP Uxbridge 1989

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Margaret Thatcher's premiership.Predictably the Tory media is sycophantically lauding the eventydespite the sickening record of Thatcher's period in office.

The savage pursuit of profits by the Tories has ment the establishment of permanent levels of mass unemployment has seen Budget after Budget shift the burden of taxation onto the poor in favour of the weal thy,and has led to bloodshed in the Falklands and on the picket lines of the miners and printers.

And Thatcher has even more misery in store for the working-class through her repeated attacks on the N.U.S., Education and through her 'flagship', that zenith of Tory rapacity,the Poll Tax.
Yet whilst the uedia continually perpetuate the idea that Thatcher's decade in power has effected a fundamental and irreversable change in British society,this is far from the truth of the matter. Dave Hayes assesses Thatcher and her period in off ice.

What have been her objectives in office and has she achieved them?More to the point,is she indestructable or can the Tories be beaten?

Speaker Dave Hayes
at Herschel hall, Slough 8pm 17th May 1989

Slough Socialist Workers Party (SWP) meets weekly atthe AUEW, Bath Road, Wednesdays at 8pm except for every 3rd Wednesday in the month

Uxbridge SWP meet infrequently at Uxbridge Friends meeting House, but never secured a significant following, unlike Militant