Sunday, February 22, 2009

Labour Candidates 1922 and 1923 - West London

Labour Candidates - West London Area

General Election 1922

W.J. Brown - Uxbridge
A. H. Chilton - Ealing
Miss Mary Richardson - Acton
C. Latham - Hendon
G. Latham - Enfield
J.J. Mallow - Watford
J. Clynes (Jnr) Hemel Hempstead
O. Connelian - North Buckinghamshire
S. Stennet South Buckinghamshire

A. H Chilton Labour candidate for Ealing, Lived in Southall, active member of the National Union of Railwaymen, Wesleyian Minister, Labour Middlesex County Councillor. President of Ealing Trades & Labour Council. Candidate for Windsor 1929.

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)

W. J. Brown Labour candidate for Uxbridge General secretary of the Civil Service Association Union, right winger.

Charles Lathan, Labour candidate for Hendon 1922, 1923, and 1924. (changed surname to Lathan to distinguish himself from his brother George Latham) Railway clerk, President of the National Union of Clerks, later Labour leader of the London County Council.
George Latham (older brother of Charles) President of the Railway Clerks Union (TSSA) 1906-1912, Chief Assistant secretary of the Railway Clerks Union 1912-1937. Later Member of Parliament for Sheffield Park


Mary Raleigh Richardson (a Canadian by birth circa 1888/89) was a prominent WSPU suffragette, who was in prisoned on a number of occasions. On March 10, 1914 she infamously entered the National Gallery in London and slashed the Rokeby "Venus", in support of votes for Women.
For this attack she was sentenced to six months in Holloway Prison. She joined the Labour Party in 1919 and stood for parliament in 1922 in Acton; in 1926 in Bury St Edmunds; in 1931 in Aldershot; and in 1934 in London. She was never elected.

Mary Richardson stood as a Labour Party candidate in Acton in 1922. She did not stand again in 1923 but stood as Independent Labour against the official Labour Party candidate in 1924. Accordinging F.W.S. Craig Election Results Book she 'was the nominee of the Acton Democratic Labour Party which was formed in May 1924 by a number of former Labour Party members who had resigned the previous yuear due to a split in the local Labour Party. The policy of the Democratic Labour Party was left-wing and she received Communist Party support.

Like a small handful of other misguided Labour politicians (including Uxbridge Labour candidate W J Brown) she briefly joined Oswald Mosley's Fascists but left in 1935, after which she took no further part in politics (as did W.J. Brown).

However, When Mary Richardson died in Hastings 7th November 1961 aged 81. The Daily Worker recorded on its front page that "Miss Richardson who was arrested nine times for activities between July 1913 and June1914 in more recent years campaigned for peace and friendship with the Soviet union"
daily worker 8th November 1961

Mary Richardson (prison photo above, right)

Barry Snell who organised a series of Fabian lecturers in Uxbridge in the early 1920's was elected at Woolwich

1923 General Election

Robert Small - Uxbridge
Samuel Viant - Willesden West ( Labour Win)
James Patrick Gardner- Hammersmith North (Labour Win)
H.A. Baldwin-Acton
S.Sherman West Ealing
A.H. Chilton Ealing
W. Haywood Brentford & Chiswick

C. S. Cocerill - Spelthorne

William Watson Henderson - Enfield (Labour Win)
Francis Broad - Edmonton (Labour Win)
George Young - South Buckinghamshire
Major A.G. Church DSO - Leyton East (Elected) (ex Spelthorne)

Robert Small
Labour Parliamentary Candiate 1923

Robert Small
was selected as Uxbridge Division (including Hayes) Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for the 1923 General election. (other nominations included Dr Sommerville-Hastings and John Beckett of the ILP).

Robert Small was a Scotsman and since the age of twenty had been involved in the Labour Movement.

From 1912 he devoted his energies as a full time worker, becoming the Glasgow and Clyde Workers Union Organiser and Scottish Organiser for the General Federation of Trades Unions. Secretary of Glasgow Labour Party and Scottish Independent Labour Party (ILP) Executive Committee member, member of the ILP's Agricultural Committee, (member 16 years of ILP by 1923). Member of Middlesex Agricultural Concilliation Committee and Middlesex, Hertfordshire & Essex Joint Industrial Council. He was a prominent member of the Agricultral Wages Board.

Later he became the local, London & Southern Counties Workers Union Organiser.It was because of his local negotiations that he had become known, though it was he who had helped lay the foundations for the Labour Party victories on the Clyde at the general Election.

It was stated that he was a personal friend of all the present Glasgow members of Parliament
Robert Small had the best wishes of Labour leader Ramasey MacDonald and George Dallas (Dollas) Divisonal Organiser of the Workers Union.

It must have been Robert Small's Workers Union (later TGWU) links at Hayes, as it was stated he "was well known in the consituency" that secured him the nomination as Labour Candiate. He was supported during the election campaign by Miss Saward, Workers Union Women's Organiser and local Workers Union, Hayes Branch Secretary, Labour Councillor Douglas Page.

James Patrick Gardner MP 1883-1937

James Patrick Gardner was born in Belfast, Ireland 5th March 1883, educated by Christian Brothers. where he was a supporter of Joseph Devlin MP Nationalist MP for Belfast Falls and later Fermanagh & South Tyrone)

Gardner was eight years Chairman of West London Independent Labour Party (ILP), seven years active in London & South Eastern Divisional Council of the ILP Chairman of Hammersmith North Labour Party (elected in 1920) and local Labour Councillor 1919-1922 and 1928-1937

National Executive member of the Amalgamated Furnishing Trade Association, he was also an accomplished architectural sculptor

J.P. Gardner was elected MP for Hammersmith North at his second attempt in 1923-1924 and 1926 - 1931

James Patrick Gardner MP 1883-1937 (Hammersmith North) 74c Stanlake Road, london W12

Died 1937

Samuel Philip Viant MP

Sam Viant was born in Plymouth in on 5th January 1882,

His mother was Phoebe Viant a shop grocer, his sister was Phoebe jnr,and brothers Daniel, Albert.

Educated at Devonport higher grade school, Plymouth

As a young man Sam Viant started an apprenticeship as a carpenter, but because of family financial difficulties had to withdraw.

n 1901 Samuel Viant was according to the Census, a carpenter living with his family at 22 Exeter Street, Plymouth. Later in that year he moved to London to work as a carpenter.

On his arrival in London Sam a committed " abstainer" became involved in Dr Clifford's Brotherhood movement meetings in Westbourne Park,

He becomes heavily involved in trade union issues and attended Paddington School for Social Science and undertook a Ruskin College, Oxford correspondence courses.

Sam is elected Vice Chairman of Paddington Trades Council Member and joins the Independent Labour Party (ILP), standing unsuccessfully in 1908 for paddington Council (with the support of his hero Kier Hardie).

Viant as also active in the Co-operative movement during this period.

He moves to Willesden and in 1918 unsuccessfully contests a seat on Willesden Council and
the newly created parliamentary seat of Willesden West, at the 1918 General Election.

In 1919, his hard work is rewarded and he is elected to Willesden Council and becomes the pioneering Chairman of the Works Committee, Justice of the Peace (1928-1949).

Finally, Sam Viant is elected as Member of Parliament for Willesden West on 6th December 1923. Accordingly, he became
a member of the first Labour Government and the first Labour MP in West Middlesex. (James Patrick Gardner elected at same election for Hammersmith North)

In 1929 Sam Viant as appointed Assistant Post Master General, until the Labour Government fell in 1931 due to the Ramsay MacDonald debacle and Viant lost his parliamentary seat at the subsequent election.

He won back the Seat in 1935 and held it until he retired at the 1959 General Election.

In later life, Sam Viant took to wearing a white and blue striped waistcoat, with buttons each bearing a tiny coloured portrait of Labour leader Kier Hardie.

Sam Viant was a National Executive member (General councilman) of the Carpenters & Joiners Union Executive Committee.

He was Member of Parliament for Willesden until 1959
when Laurence "Larry" Pavitt became Labour MP for Willesden.

In 1960 Sam Viant was elected Mayor of Willesden.

94 Doyle gardens, NW10

Sam Viant died on the 19th May 1964, aged 81

Len Snow former Mayor of Brent recalls " He was a pleasant, quiet man, with a bristly moustache, who persuaded us rather than bludgeoned us with his political views"
. Francis A Broad MP - Edmonton Born 1874. He left school aged just thirteen, but had beeen working in a grcery shop from the age of ten, after leaving school he worked in a drappers shop, then aged sixteen started work as a scientific instrument maker. Aged 19 he joined the Independent Labour Party and aged 21 was President of his local union branch of the Scientific Instrument Makers Society union, later a National Executive Committee member and President. The union was absorbeded into the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU). Member of the London Co-operative Society for twenty years and an executive member of the National Housing Association. He was also a member of the Union of Democratic Control. Leader of the allotment movement in Edmonton

Archibald George Church MP - Leyton East

Born 1886, his father was a compositor and Executive member of The London Society of Compositors Union, his mother was a school teacher. He attended University of London. He taught for five years in East London schools. Lecturer at St George's college, Kingsway. 1914 elelcted President of the National Union of Teachers (NUT). Joined the Royal Flying Corps, recievied the DSO on the Western front in WW1 and won the goodwill of every man of the 238th siege Battery "You were always championing the bottom dog" said a sergent who served under him. First General secretary of the National Union of Scientific Workers Union.

William Watson Henderson MP - Enfield

Born 8th August 1891, second son of Arthur Henderson and elder brother of Arthur Henderson. From 1912-1914 he was editorial secretary of the Daily Citizen, joined the army. Edited the Labour Magazine and the Labour Press Service and was assistant editor of the " Brotherhood Outlook". Press officer for the Labour Party then based at 33 Eccleston Square, London. Member of the National Union of Journaluistst. The death of his brother, Captain David Henderson, killed in the Battle of the Somme, left him the eldest surviving son of the Rt Hon Arthur Henderson MP for Barnard Castle/Clay Cross who was born In Glasgow in 1863 .

Member of Parliamnet for Enfield 1923 to 1924 and from 1929 to 1931

NOTE 1923

Frederick Charles Watkins (24th February 1883 - 31th January 1954
) Labour candidate for Mid Buckinghamshire (Aylesbury) first Labour candidate for Mid Buckinghamshire, worked at Railway Clearing House, London. Chair of the Railway Clerks Union (now TSSA) branch and National Executive Committee Member. (Later MP for Hackney Central 1929)

NOTE 1923
Harry Gosling ex Uxbridge
Labour candidate elected at Whitechapel and Ben Smith ex Uxbridge Labour Middlesex County Councillor elected MP for Rotherhithe


The first Acton Labour Member of Parliamnet
James Frederick Shillaker (1870-1943)
Member of Parliament for Acton 1929-1931
Acton Labour Councillor 1919-1923
Editor of TP's Weekly for 14 years
NUJ member
born 28th January 1870 in the City of London
died 20th July 1943
Shillaker, James Frederick The son of a policeman, Shillaker claimed that at the age of 16 he had written a leaflet which secured a wage increase for the City of London police. One of the founders of the Fawcett Association., a union of post office sorters established in 1890. In 1892, joined the Islington Labour party and afterwards served on Acton Council. Assistant editor, T.P.’s Weekly, 1903–17. Deputy Regional Director, Northern Region, Ministry of Pensions, 1919–23. Labour MP for Acton, 1929–1931.

211 Powder Mill Lane, Twickenham

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hillingdon Hospital Cleaners - A Proud History


One Day strike organised by COHSE and NUPE Domestics at Hillingdon Hospital 23rd May 1985. (100%) (pic below)

The strike was in protest at the hospital's privatisation programme and support with Barking hospital strikers.

Management asked them either to lose their bonus or be privatised. The staff voted overwhelmingly against cutting their bonus.

equally solid amongst white staff from Colham and Asian staff from Southall

In September 1985 at the civic centre, (pic below)the District Health Authority voted to privatise the service was privatised, with the loss of 213 jobs.

Private contractor started February 1st 1986 ICC Hospital services Ltd

Hillingdon was one of the first private contracts after St Helier, Hammersmith to be forced through by the Tories.

Of course this was only a dress rehearsal for the great Hillingdon Hospital cleaners strike ten years later.

A new company took over the contract, Pall Mall cleaning, who decided that it would be better--at least for its directors--if the pay of the domestic staff was reduced from about £3.50 to £2.50 an hour.

Fifty-five mainly Asian women members of UNISON (NUPE & COHSE having merged) decided that, on principle, it was not acceptable to have their pay reduced by about 30 % and went on strike on 1st October 1995 (pic first day of strike).

After an employment tribunal had finally ruled that they should receive maximum compensation and must be reinstated.

The now famous Hillingdon Hospital strike lasted five years and Malkiat Bilku (who lived in Hayes) the NUPE/UNISON Steward walked back into work on October 30th 2000 with Alan Keen MP, to the first day back at work.

Hillingdon Hospital Cleaners strike 1st October 1995 to 29th October 2000

Hospital cleaners were forced to strike against OCS contractors at Addenbrookes hospital (Cambridge), six months at Scarsdale Hospital, Chesterfield and three months at Hammersmith against Mediclean.

Arthur Skeffington - Hayes & Harlington 1970

Arthur Skeffington
Election Address 1970
Hayes & Harlington

Dear Friends and Electors,

Having had the privilege of being your M.P. for 17 years, I have got to know many of you personally, either at my fortnightly advice service or at innumerable other meetings or as a result of the many thousands of fetters I have written for you. Many of you will, therefore, know me and where I stand on the great issues which face our Britain.

I have devoted my life to public service and tried to make myself fit for it. I have never disguised my belief that the solutions to our problems cannot be found alone in material factors. Policy must be based on sound moral principles; on the ideals of justice, fair play, the worth of the individual and, indeed, the whole Christian ethic.

Thus I have never asked for support on easy promises of unlimited material benefits. In 1966 I said in my message, "The way ahead for Britain in this troubled world will be tough and challenging." And it has been! But we have — people and Government — triumphed. Britain is, for the first time since 1945, paying her way; is able to pay for the food and raw materials she has to import.

So the way ahead is better than ever before if we don't desert, on June 18th, the principles which have brought us world success. This is the basic issue in this election.

And remember, in cash terms, we have secured our strong position in the world with a £550 million surplus from the massive deficit of £800 million inherited in 1964 from the Conservative Government. No wonder it has been called the "economic miracle". Yet as I show on the page opposite, we have been steadily building Britain at home; more schools, homes, hospitals and roads; social benefits, and pensions; more opportunities than ever before and the cheapest food in Europe. If we have a fault, it may be we have tried to do too much.

Now having made Britain strong we can go forward on the basis of that strength to continue our social policies of making Britain a better and finer place for all our people.

I hope you will help on June 18th by voting for this policy.

Sincerely yours,

Arthur Skeffington

Election Agent R.J. Came

Arthur Skeffington

Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington since 1953 (By-election death of Walter Ayles).

M.P for West Lewisham 1945-50.

Joint Parliamentary Secretary,

Ministry of Land and National Resources since 1964.

Contested Streatham 1935.

West Lewisham by-election 1938, reduced Tory vote by 7,000. L.C.C. (Peckham).

Born 1909.

Educated Streatham Grammar .'School and London University,

B.Sc. Economics (Hons.).

Teacher, economist and barrister.

Joined Labour Party 1923.

P.P.S. to John Hynd, M.P., and to George Buchanan, M.P.,

when Minister of Pensions 1945-47.

Passed into Law Enforcement of Contracts Act.

Member of Executive Committee of Fabian Society,

Chairman 1956.

Socialist Societies representative since 1953 on the National Executive of the Labour Party:

Chairman of its Local Government Sub-Committee.

Joint President, British Section of the Council of European Municipalities. Member of Political Purposes Committee, R.A.C.S (Co-op).

Member of National union of Teachers and National Union of Municipal & General Workers Union General & Manciple Workers Union

Board of Trade 1941.

Worked on "concentration of industry" policy under Professor G. C. Alien.

Assistant Director of Medical Supplies, Ministry of Supply, 1943-45.'

Member of Parliamentary delegations to East Africa 1948 and 1957 and U.S.A.

1949 and 1958.

Won League of Nations Scholarship to Prague; visited U.S.S.R.

and many other European countries.

Sometime member of the Civil Service

Arbitration Tribunal, Chairman of the Expert Working Surveys on Land and


Specially interested in education, land, law, local government.

Married, two sons. Hobbies: cricket, bee-keeping, gardening.

Hayes Cottage Hospital Occupation 1983

The successful Hayes Cottage Hospital Occupation (Work-In) 1983. Supported by Hillingdon Health Emergency (Funded by the GLC), COHSE & NUPE unions but most importantly the community.

See earlier post for list of supporters who turned up at the hospital to defend it.

Clinical Grading Dispute 1988

National Nurses 1988 Clinical Grading dispute at Hillingdon Hospital, day of action. Nurses outside the A&E entrance. COHSE nursing members.

One of the best and most successful campaigns run by NHS unions.

Securing massive improvements in Clinical Grading and London Weighting

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

British Socialist Party 1911-1920


The British Socialist Party (BSP) was a direct descendant of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) founded in 1883 (or more strictly as the Democratic Federation in 1881). 

The Social Democratic Federation joined with the Independent Labour Party and Fabian Society in 1900 to establish the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) but disaffiliated in August 1901. In 1908 The Social Democratic Federation renamed itself the Social Democratic Party.


In August 1911 Victor Grayson, the left wing socialist and former Member of Parliament for Colne Valley in Lancashire and others launched a call for a united party with clearly defined socialist aims (Clarion 4/8/1911).

The subsequent Conference held in Salford in October 1911 brought together 218 delegates with that objective, this included delegates from the Socialist Party (86), Independent Labour Party (41) Clarion organisations (32) and 48 Socialist society delegates.

It was agreed that the new Party formed by the conference would be officially launched on 1st January1912. the British Socialist Parties journal taking the name of the SDF's newspaper "Justice".

The headquarter of the British Socialist Party wa
s at 21a Maiden Lane, The Strand, London.

The Object of the British Socialist Party

"The object of the British Socialist Party is the establishment of the co-operative commonwealth - That is to say the transformation of capitalist competitive society into a socialist or communist society

The first conference of the BSP was held at Lesser Free Trade Hall Manchester Saturday May 25th, Sunday May 26th, and Monday May 27th 1912 In 1914 the British Socialist party voted to affiliate to the Labour Party but did not affiliate until 1916 A split occurred in the British Socialist Party between a pro War faction and an anti war faction (grouped around their newspaper "The Call").

This disagreement led to a split and the expulsion of one of the BSP (and Social Democratic Federation) founders and pro war Henry Mayers Hyndman (1842 - 1921), at the 1916 Conference, Hyndman and his defeated supporters then duly left the BSP.

From 1916 onwards"The Call" edited by Fred Willis of Willesden (and later Inkpin) became the paper official journal of the British Socialist Party, replacing "Justice". The Call, was produced between 24 February1916 until the 29 July 1920, when it became the Communist the organ of the Communist party of Great Britain.

The British Socialist Party played a leadi
ng role in the "Hands off Russia" movement founded 18th January 1919, a campaign launched to stop British Government intervention (British troops landed in Murmansk, Archangel, Baku and Vladivostock in the summer of 1918) and aid to the "White" and "Czarist" Russians during the Civil War. The Campaign was famous for the "blacking" of the ship the "Jolly George" bound with armaments for the White Russians.

One prominent convert to the British Socialist Party in the campaign was the Liberal Member of Parliament for Leyton East, Cecil Malone.
later, in 1920 Malone argued in a speech that during the course of a workers Revolution, it was reasonable to execute some prominent members of the bourgeoisie, asking what "are a few Churchills or a few Curzons on lampposts compared to the massacre of
thousands of human beings?" This statement led to his imprisonment for six months.

Later in 1919 the British Socialist Party voted to unanimously to affiliate to the Third (Communist) International.

As a member of the Third International the British Socialist Party played a key role in the founding of the Communist Party of Great Britain (now Communist Party of Britain) along with the smaller Socialist Labour Party, various local Socialist Societies, Communist Guilds, and even the Socialist Prohibition Fellowship.


Communist Unity Convention Delegates
British Socialist Party 1920 
H.W. Inkpin - Ashton Under Lyne
H.L. Bryceson - Barking   H. Smith - Barking
A.H. Gillison - Bethnal Green  J. Valentine - Bethnal Green
Miss Balfour - Bradford
A. Angel - Central London     T.A. Avis - Central London
F. L. Kerran - Central London
Cecil .L. Malone MP - Central London
E.H Whatton - Central London
A.H. Wall - Clapham
? Griffths - Desborough 

Mrs H Inkpin - Dumfries
Mrs Nixon - Earlestown
J. Grainger - East Ham

H.Hearse - Edinburgh 
A. Carter - EdmintonG. Crouch - Edmonton
Mrs Kennedy - Erith 
W.A. Hill - Glasgow central
Mrs D.B. Monefiore - Glasgow College 

A. White - Glasgow Gorbals
F. Freestone - Grays
H. Hinshelwood -Greenock
J.F. Hodgson - Grimsby

 E. Marsh - Hackney Central
A. Nixton - Hackney Central
A. Vandome - Hackney South 

A. Edwards - Hampstead   H. Milsom - Hampstead
F. D. Fitzgerald - Harlesden
W. Moffatt - Hastings

Mrs A. Inkpin - Hornsey 
Arthur Gardiner - Huddersfield
J.T. Ives - Islington South
A. Raxworthy -Islington South
W. H. Brown - Islington West
F. Tanner - Islington West
O. Bangett - Kentish town C. Batchelor - Kentish town W.H. Ryde - Kentish Town
A.G. Tomkins - Kentish Town

 Miss I Wilkinson - Kentish town
 F. Day - Kettering 
W.P Coates - Leeds 
H. H. Godley - Leeds
Mrs Bamber - Liverpool East
J. Goldstein - Liverpool East 

Mrs Walker - Liverpool East
A.E. Adshead - Manchester Ope
Jim Crossley - Manchester Openshaw
J.Grierson - Manchester Openshaw
O. Williams - Merthy Vale 

Robert Williams - National
C. T Hendin - Padington 

Ernie Cant - Paisley
F.W. Llewyellyn - Plymouth A. Vickery - Plymouth Mrs G Vickery - Plymouth
George Deer - Rawtenstall

G Hicks - Reading J. Luck - Reading  E. Martin - Reading
A.A. Watts - Sheffield
D. (or L) Manoin - Sheffield
L. Royle - Sheffield G. Newton - Sheffield
W.G. Anderson - Southend  S.G. Warr Jnr - Southend
H. Addy - Salford South J. Forshaw - Salford South A.A. Purcell - Salford South
T. Barber - Southwark A De Bois - Southwark H.J. Morley - Southwark 

G. Roberts - Stalybridge 
B. Tobin - Stepney 
A. T. Leat - Todmorden
Arthur R. Sifflett - Tooting  P. Whitaker - Tooting

 H. Ward - Walsall
G.S. Hinds - Walthamstow 

J. Dunbar - Warrington
J. Houghton - Warrington
G. Elliston - West Ham South 

Miss F. Baldwin - Wigan
J. Ansell - Willesden? Cochrane -Willesden W. Glendinning - WillesdenC. A. Littlefield - Willesden G. Sinnico - Willesden Mrs Sinnco - Willesden A. H. Vickers - Willesden
Fred Willis - Willesden
Other CUC delegetes of interest

Acton Communist Group: E. A. Hooper

Barking ILP A.W.Cox and R. F. Martin

Battersea Herald League: Mrs Du
rston, H. Waterman, G. Wheeler
Battersea Socialist Society: J. Calncy and W. Okines

Ferndale Socialist Society C. L. Gibbons

South Norwood Communist Group: E. T. Eames

Southwark Hearlad League:
C. Abbott and H. Trickey
Walthamstow Communist Party: J. Chiswell and G.Goulding

On merger into the Communist Party, the British Socialist Party claimed 6,000 members, but most of these were just "paper" members.

At the Communist Unity
Convention held at the Cannon Street Hotel, London on 31st July 1920, the Chairman Arthur MacManus "There would at least exist (after today) in Great Britain a reliable, rigid straight and determined Communist Party" .

The Communist
Party of Great Britain was established 1st August 1920

Call 29th July 1920 The British Socialist Party will cease its With the holding of the Communist Unity Convention in London next Saturday, the British
separate exsistance and its branches and members will be merged in the new Communist Party"

Arthur MacManus
Chairman at the Communist Unity Convention conference stated on 31st July 1920
"There would at least exist (after today) in Great Britain a reliable, rigid straight and determined Communist Party"

Albert Inkpin
Born London 1884 joined SDF 1906, in 1907 appointed Joint Assistant Secretary until 1913. Became a member of BSP.
Inkpin succeeded H.W. Lee as the General Secretary of the BSP 1913-1920. Editor of the BSP "The Call" 1916-1919. Represented the BSP at the Zimmerald Conference in 1921 honoury President of the Communist International along with Lenin and Trotsky.

Ernest "Ernie" Walter Cant
Born 1890 Stoke Newington, London. In 1912 became national organiser for the Young Socialist League. WW1
Conscientious objector sent to Ipswich prison for two years. released in 1919 after a hunger strike. London organiser of BSP 1914-16. Scottish BSP organiser 1919-1920 . Chairman of the BSP at it’s 1915 . CP London organiser (from formation)1920-August 1925. Ernie Cant was drafted into Nottingham prior to help the miners campaign against Spencer unionism.
Alfred Augustus Watts
Alf Watts was born in 1862, a compositor by trade and a member of the Social Democratic Federation, later he became the treasurer of the British Socialist Party.
Poplar Guardian 1904-1928 and as such was a key supporter of the Poplar Councillors in 1921 and and he himself was elected a Poplar Labour/Communist Councillor 1925-28. He was also a London County Council Councillor for North Battersea 1919-1925. Watts died in 1928

The resolution on parliamentary action at the 1st Congress of the CPGB (the Communist Unity Convention

Mr Arthur Sifflett (BSP Tooting) In favouring parliamentary action because we simply could not afford to omit its use, he did not imply that he attached undue importance to it. He was of the opinion that there was no time for us to convert the electorate to any extent and get our men on the floor of the House of Commons in any number. He believed the revolution was too near for that.

Answering comrade Stewart’s reference to guns, we did not want guns if we could avoid them; but force would not be withheld so far as the master class were concerned. The workers must consider the question of armed force if necessary, to meet what would be brought against them. It was not enough to say, ‘Wait until the time’, because we should find the other man armed and ourselves with nothing but ideals. We must avail ourselves of the parliamentary weapon, but not overrate it. Its only utility was for the education of the masses to bring about the social revolution.

Other prominent in the BSP members include
William MacLaine, Jospeh Fineberg, Tom Quelch, Harry Quelch,Harry Pollit BSP Branch Secretary of Manchester Openshaw branch, Willie Glallacher (later Communist MP amd Clyde leader John MacLean.

BSP member wrote to the Glasgow Herald printed 12 January 1914 stating

"No matter in what constituencies we (BSP) put up candidates, the Labour Party hacks will denounce us as interlopers, even although our party has done work for three times  the period during which the Labour Party has been in existence" 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

YCL and Challenge

Challenge Established 1935

Challenge is the Journal of Young Communist League (YCL), The Youth Section of the Communist Party of Britain, and is probably one of the most famous and renowned British political youth journals.

The British Communist Parties youth journal was originally entitled "The Young Worker" and was edited by William Rust, who would later become the editor of the Daily Worker.

The Young Worker was replaced by "The Young Communi
st" which was selling 6,500 copies by the mid 1920's.

The first edition of the YCL's "Challenge" was produced in March 1935.

A letter in Challenge Saturday 17th February 1945 vol 11 issue 7 recorded the first edition of Challenge.

"our paper will be 10 years old in March (1945), I remember the very first issue - the months of excitement beforehand, preparing to launch this glorious venture - a real live fighting youth paper"
"In these ten years, we haven't done so badly, in fact we've done darn well. first every time with youth news, we've packed a punch in every issue".
The letter was signed by Irene.
Challenge was sold outside factories, schools and on Saturdays along with Daily Worker's at the Saturday "pitch" (selling point) usually in the centre of town.

By 1971 Challenge was selling 9,000 per issue. 17,000 copies of a special summer 1971 edition of Challenge were produced.

The Young Communist League was formed in 1921 as the youth wing of the Communist Party by the merger of the Young Workers' League and the International Communist Schools Movement.

The Young Communist League headquarters in 1926 were in Great Ormand Street, London.

Web site of the Young Communist League (YCL)
and Challenge.

Click on pictures to enlarge

Young Worker Advert in the Daily Worker January 1930

Monday, February 02, 2009

Daily Worker January 1st 1930

The Daily Worker, (now the Morning Star) was the organ of the Communist Party, The first edition was produced on 1 January 1930 from the offices of the newspaper at 41 Tabernacle Street, London. In January 1934 The Daily Worker's offices move to Cayton Street off the City Road. On 1 October 1935, the first eight page Daily Worker was produced.

The Daily Worker offices at Cayton Street were totally destroyed by fire during German bombing on Wednesday 16 April 1941. The Daily Worker moved temporarily in 1942 to the former Caledonian Press offices in Swinton Street (from where the old Communist Party Sunday Worker had been printed until 1929). In 1945 new offices were acquired at a former brush makers warehouse at 75 Farringdon Road, London EC1 for the sum of £48,000 (picture left). A Scottish edition of the Daily Worker was produced from its plant in Glasgow starting on 11 November 1940.

31st October 1948 was acclaimed by the Communist Party's General Secretary, Harry Pollitt, as the 'greatest and proudest day' in the Daily Worker's history; for a revamped Daily Worker came off the new Goss press in the new building in Farringdon Road. A torchlight procession of 20,000 demonstrators stopped all traffic as crowds surged round Bill Rust and carried him shoulder-high to Clerkenwell Green, where he auctioned the first two copies for the staggering sum of £45 each (perhaps £1,500 to £2,000 today!). Next day, he received a telegram from George Loveless, a descendant of the 1834 Tolpuddle Martyrs: 'Today is a proud day for us all. This is what our ancestors fought for. Long live the people's paper.'

Since September 1945 the paper has been owned and published by a readers' Co-operative, the People's Press printing Society, which operates on a one-vote-per-shareholder basis. The last edition of the Daily Worker came out on Saturday 23 April 1966, being re-launched as the Morning Star, the first edition of which appeared the following Monday, 25 April 1966.

The Daily Worker's last editorial stated

"On Monday this newspaper takes its greatest step forward for many years. It will be larger, it will be better and it will have a new name.......During its 36 years of life our paper has stood for all that is best in British working-class and Socialist journalism. It has established a reputation for honesty, courage and integrity. It has defended trade unionists, tenants, pensioners. It has consistently stood for peace. It has always shown the need for Socialism. Let all Britain see the Morning Star, the inheritor of a great tradition and the herald of a greater future".

Daily Worker Editors

Ben Benfield 2009-
John Haylett 1995-2009
Tony Chater 1974-1995
George Mathews 1959-1974
J.R. Campbell 1949-1959
William Rust 1930-194

(William Rust picture right)

William "Bill" Rust
born 24th April 1903
Camberwell, South London

Editor Daily Worker 1930-1949
died 3 February 1949
William Rust was the son of Frederick George Rust and Elizabeth Rust

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Mary Macarthur National Federation of Women Workers

Mary Macarthur 1880-1921
Inspirational trade union leader

Mary Macarthur was born in Glasgow to a Scottish highlander father John Duncan Macarthur, He held a staunchly Conservative political outlook. Mary Macarthur was the eldest of six children and was born on 13th August 1880. (some sources state she was born in Ayr)

While at school Mary showed her flare for writing by publishing a school magazine.

in 1895 the family left Glasgow for Ayr where her farther established a drapery business. He became involved in the Conservative Party and Mary in the youth section of the Conservative Party (The Primrose League).

Mary to make herself useful undertook a book keeping course in order to assit her parents business. Her father then asked Mary to spy on the local Shop Workers union meetings, but after a speech by shop workers official John Turner in 1901 she decided that rather than inform her father of the pitiful plight of the shop workers, she would join their struggle for shorter hours and better conditions.

It was here that she meet her future husband Will Anderson (later Member of Parliament for Keithley 1911 and Sheffield 1914).

Mary MacArthur became Chair of Ayr Shop Assistant Workers Union and involved with the local socialist groups in Ayr this inevitably lead to arguments and eventual falling out with her father.

In 1903 Mary was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Shop Assistant Workers Union, the first women member of that union's executive. She then opted to move to London.

Mary then secured the position of Women's Trade Union Secretary and in 1905 she worked with the Daily News on sweated Labour exhibition and helped establish the Anti Sweating League in 1906.

She became involved in many famous disputes such as that amongst the women Jute workers of Dundee, The Kilburnie net makers and the famous Cradley Heath chainmakers strike of 1910, a dispute which is credited with the Establishment of the minimum wage movement.

In 1906 Mary established the National Federation of Women Workers from a collection of smaller unions, and the union produced a monthly journal from 1907 entitled "Women Worker".

In 1911 she finally married Will Anderson.

During World War One and despite opposing the War, Mary Macarthur was appointed Secretary of the Ministry Of Labour Central Committee on Women's Employment and was able to ensure that women had a voice, even if that was not often listened too.

During the war the National Federation of Women Workers flourished especially amongst the munitions, transport and manufacturing industries.

A dispute in 1916 amongst 8,000 munitions workers in Newcastle, lead her into conflict with Winston Churchill then Minister for Munitions. The dispute resolved around the failure of local company's to abide by an award made by a tribunal to increase the women munition workers pay. The women finally resolved to stage a "sit-in" and sat in front of their machines knitting socks for solders at the front, within 24 hours the dispute was won and the money paid as was the back pay.

During the war the NFWW had a pact with the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) to guarantee equal pay but this was broken after the war, when the men returned.

Mary Macarthur was involved in the great transport women's equal pay strike on the buses, trams and underground which swept the country in August 1918 which she refered to as a "red letter week".

After the war her husband Will Anderson failed to be reelected an MP, primarily due to his opposition to the War and likewise Mary failed to be elected to Parliament for the constituency of Stourbridge. (some claim her nomination to be the first official women candidate nominated to Parliament in the UK.)

Will Anderson tragically died of influenza during the great influenza outbreak of 1919 and Mary never recovered fully from his death.

Mary Macarthur lived at 42 Woodstock Road, Golders Green.

Mary MacArthur was diagnosed with cancer and died on New Years Day, January 1st 1921.

Local Note

The local Hayes branch of the National Federation of Women Workers (probably initally covered Hayes and Southall) and the the Secretary was Mrs Hollings of 21 Leonard Road, Southall and a Miss Nutcher was the local organiser during the war.

Later a Miss F. G.Lingard, 9 Nield Road, Hayes, Middlesex became Secretary of Hayes National Federation of Women Workers.

The union had a good membership in the Hayes munition factories amongst the "canaries" (The TNT used turning the women's skin yellow) and a also amongst women workers at the Gramaphone factory.

It was claimed that by 1915 the union had 350 of the 600 women workers employed in the Hayes factories, (including amongst Belgium women refugees working in the factories) with representatives in nearly every factory.

"To fight, to Struggle and to right the wrong".

In 1915 the Hayes branch of the National Federation of Women Workers organised a delegation to demand an increase of six pence per hour as presently they only received three and half pence while men received seven pence per hour.

In June 1915 over 200 women workers attended a meting organised by the union and addressed by NFWW organiser Nutcher and Miss Pethick Lawerence spoke stating that "Hayes was full of vigour".

It was reported that the ASE were helping in trying to secure equal pay for women in Hayes, however James Andrew Seddon (MP for Newton-Makerfield) had stated that he was astonished learn of the low wages of some of the girls in the Hayes factories, but he was glad to learn that thanks to the trade union action a number of special improvements had been secured.

Miss Pethick Lawerence stated at the same meeting that "When they saw how all the Labour party in Hayes were there to help them (NFWW) ...and that...."No district had a stronger labour party than that in Hayes".

The local National Federation of Women Workers were also involved in the August 1918 tram and bus strikes for "equal pay for equal Labour" which hit West London.

(see previous posting on this site)

See also Mrs Chard's (Women's Railway Guild) work for women Munition workers accommodation in Hayes (previous posting).

(Above left Irish Women Workers Trade Union badge)