Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Richard Bell MP - Life & Death in the Shadow of Kier Hardie

Richard Bell was with Kier Hardie the first elected Labour Members of Parliament at the General election of 1900, however while Hardie has become a household name little is know of Richard Bell.

RICHARD "Dick" Bell ( 1859 - 1930 ), M.P. and trade union leader ;

Born 27th November 1859 at Penderyn , Brecknock, Brecon , son of Charles stone quarrier) and Ann Thomas .

His paternal grandparents were Scots who moved from L
incoln to farm at the Pantmawr, Ystradfellte . Shortly after 1860 his father, a quarryman, joined the Glamorgan police force and went to Merthyr Tydfil, where Richard had his rudimentary early education at a British School, but became a fluent welsh speaker.

Aged just thirteen Bell began work as an office boy in the Cyfarthfa iron-works at Merthyr Tydfil , then at Dowlais Iro
nworks before returning to his old employers as a shunter with locomotives. Bell's great ambition was to be be an engine driver. In 1876 Bell entered the employment of the Great Western Railway (GWR) company and was stationed at Pontypool Road, working his way up through the portering grades , where he joined the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants - railway union . In 1886 he was transferred to Swansea and became an under guard, and there, finding no union activities, he established a branch of the A.S.R.S. in 1887. An unofficial strike on the North Eastern Railway early in 1897 provided the occasion of Bell's promotion general secretary on a pro tem basis.

In 1899 a resolution was carried at the ASRS national conference calling for the establishment of a Labour Representation Conference in February 1900, this resolution being moved by James Holmes, the West of England organising for the ASRS.

Two episodes of outstanding importance occurred during Richard Bell's tenure of office at the ASRS. The first was the Taff Vale dispute in 1900 , when, because of an unofficial strike among railway workers, the company sued the union and obtained £23,000 damages; this led to a change in trade union law.

The second was the famous Osborne case, when a branch secretary of the union queried the validity of its rules regarding the political levy. The case was finally taken to the House of Lords and decided against the union. The consequence was the 1913 Act , which permitted unions to levy a political toll on their members.

Bell will no doubt chiefly be remembered for his resistance to the efforts of those who wished to establish an autonomous Labour Party. In 1900 he was elected Lib-Lab M.P. for Derby boroughs, the first railway worker to enter Parliament .

He was one of the four trade union members of the joint committee which drew up the draft constitution of the Labour Representation Committee (L.R.C. ).

When that committee was established in 1901 he became its first treasurer , and its chairman in 1902-3 . Nevertheless, at the Newcastle conference in 1903 he opposed the adoption of a redrafted constitution which sought to create a new self-governing Labour Party .

Bell was also a supporter and for a time vice chairman of the National Democratic League, a curious hybrid political grouping which for some years was something of a rival to the independent Labour Party, working closely with W.C. Steadman in opposition to the ILP

In 1904 Richard Bell became president of the Trade U

nion Congress .

At the 1906 General election Bell was again backed by the ASRS and Derby Trades Council but not the LRC, he was re-elected as a ‘

Lib.-Lab along with Liberal Sir Thomas roe in Derby double member constituency.

Meanwhile, back at the ASRS Union, the all-grades agitation of 1907 led Bell to speak out against growing militancy of the union members, while his position was supported by the right wing press it w

as increasingly at odds with the ASRS Executive, ASRS MP's Walter Hudson (Newcastle), George Wardle (Stockport) and Derby Trades Council.

As a result of the recriminations about his stance on the strike and his alleged lack of commitment to the Derby consistency, Bell resigned his seat and his trade union office in 1910 .

Bells successor as Labour MP for Derby was fellow Welshman and ASRS official Jimmy Thomas, later General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen (who would later end his career in disgrace as a member of the National Coalition government)

He then undertook an administrative post at the

Board of Trade in connection with the establishment of labour exchanges under the unemployment section of the National Insurance Act . This was later transferred to the Ministry of Labour . In 1907 he had been made a J.P. for the county of Middlesex . Bell was elected as a member of Southgate Urban District Council in 1922 and was Chairman 18

25-1926, retiring in 1929.

Richard Bell died at his home 19 Derwent Ro

ad, Palmers Green on May Day (1st May) 1930.

The funeral took place 5th May 1930 at Southgate Cemetery where John Burns and G. N. Barnes gave the graveside tributes.


ASRS railway workers union sponsored MP's

G. J. Wardle MP (Stockport) and W. Hudson MP (Newcastle)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

George Lohmann - Surrey, England and The Clarion

The Clarion founded in 1891, was edited by Robert Blatchford, socialist and keen cricketer, Blatchford employed George Lohman
n, the Surrey and England fast bowler, to contribute to its pages.

George Alfred Lohmann was born 2 June 1865, London
and is regarded as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Statistically, he holds the lowest lifetime Test bowling average among bowlers with more than fifteen wickets and he has the second highest peak rating for a bowler in the ICC ratings.

A pay dispute, in 1896 before the Ashes decider at the Oval caused Lohmann, along with Billy Gunn to withdraw from the last Test match, the other players being bullied into playing.

Lohmann continued to play for Surrey that Au
gust, but at the end of the season his health again degenerated and he had to return to South Africa and a continuation of the 1896 pay dispute caused Lohmann to be blacklisted and he never played for his country again.

George Lohmann died Western Cape, South Africa, 1 December 1901

Buried at Matjiesfontein,
South Africa

Monday, December 26, 2011

January 13th - 119 Anniversary of the Independent Labour Party

January 13th-14th marks the 119th Anniversary of the founding of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) at a conference held n Bradford in 1893.

Over one hundred delegates were present including

Ben Tillett, F.W. Jowett (Bradford), Robert Blatchford (Manchester) , Tom Maguire (Leeds), Allen Gee (Huddersfield), Pete Curran (London), Katherine St John Conway (London), and George Bernard Shaw, Kier Hardie (Scotland) Robert Smillie (Scotland), James Sexton, Ben Turner.

Delegates were overwhelmingly from the North Yorkshire and Lancashire

91 delegates represented provincial ILP branches formed in the anticipation of the national party

48 delegates from Yorkshire

32 delegates from Lancashire & Cheshire

11 from Scotland, mostly from the Scottish Labour Party

6 from the Midlands

Of the 115 ILP delegates only 3 delegates from the South

Plymouth, Chatham, Medway Trades Council

No delegates from Wales

Kier Hardie elected Chairman

Sunday, December 25, 2011

H. M. Hyndman Pioneering Socialist and First Class Cricketer

Henry Myers Hyndman (1842-1921)

H. M. Hyndman was born 7 March 1842 in number 7 Hyde Park Square, London. Hyndman was the son of a wealthy barrister who had devoted £150,000 to building and endowing churches in the East End of London, he was also the Grandson of a wealthy Guyanana slave plantation owner. The family originally from South West Scotland.

Hyndman after being educated at home, entered Trinity College, Cambridge. Hyndman later recalled:

"I had the ordinary education of a well-to-do boy and young man. I read mathematics hard until I went to Cambridge, where I ought, of course, to have read them harder, and then I gave them up altogether and devoted myself to amusement and general literature.... Trinity or, for that matter, any other college, is practically a hot-bed of reaction from the social point of view. The young men regard all who are not technically 'gentlemen' as 'cads,' just as the Athenians counted all who were not Greeks as barbarians"

"I was a thorough-going Radical and Repu
blican in those days — theoretically... with a great admiration for John Stuart Mill, and later, I remember, I regarded John Mosley as the coming man."

After achieving his degree in 1861 he studied Law before deciding to opt for a career in journalist at The Pall Mall Gazette.

As a first-class cricketer, he represented Cambridge University, and aged 21 played for Sussex in thirteen matches as a right-handed batsman between 1864 and 1865. It is also reported he played for the MCC.

Hyndman while on holiday in America in 1880 decided to read Karl Marx's "Capital" and although he had doubts about some of Marx's ideas, he was greatly impressed by his analysis of capitalism and became an avowed Marxist.

Hyndman now decided to establish Britain's first socialist political party. the Democratic Federation on 7th June 1881 (some less formal meetings were held at the Rose street Club in March 1881) and from 4th August 1884 known as the Social Democratic Federation (SDF). He threw himself with immense activity into agitation of the succeeding years, being arrested for his involvement in demonstrations in support of the Unemployed.

The journal of the Social Democratic Federation was "Justice" founded by Hyndman and Edward Carpenter in January 1884

Hyndman opposed the Boer War, but lost much influence in the Labour movement due to his supported the first war with Germany in the World War One

He stood in a number of parliamentary contests in 1895, 1906 and twice in 1910 for Burnley (a seat later won by his colleague Dan Irving)

Hyndman opposed the Boer War, but lost much influence in the Labour movement due to his supported the first war with Germany in the World War One.

He stood in a number of parliamentary contests in 1895, 1906 and twice in 1910 for Burnley (a seat later won by his colleague Dan Irving)

The Labour Movement historian John Gorman stated of Hyndman in Images of Labour

"Hyndman and the SDF carried the message of socialism, unflinching in the face of considerable hostility to every part of the land. It gave leadership where none had existed and became a platform for a generation of socialists whose names are immortalised as pioneers of the labour Movement, attracting working men as well as middle class intellectuals in a momentous struggle against social injustice"

Bruce Glasier said of Hyndman

"Hyndman, striking in appearance, with his long flowing beard, his keen, restless, searching eyes, and full intellectual brow, dressed in the city-best, frock-coat suit of the day, wit full display of white li

nen - his whole manner alert, pushful, and shall I say, domineering - looked the very embodiment of middle-class respectability and capitalist ideology; a man of the world, a Pall mall politician from top to toe"

As for his lecturing, "brilliant and convincing it undoubtedly was-dealing almost wholly with the economic and political male-factions of the capitalist system-racy, argumentative, declamatory, and bristling with topical allusions and seething raillery, it was a hustings masterpiece. But it was almost wholly critical and destructive. The affirmative and regenerative aims of Socialism hardly emerged in it.... There was in fact, very little Socialism in the lecture at all: it was an anti-Capitalist ejaculation".

Tom Mann the great trade unionist and socialist said of Hyndman

"Hyndman's essential bourgeois appearance attracted much attention. The tall hat, the frock coat, and the long beard often drew the curious-minded who would not have spent time listening to one in workman's attire. At almost every meeting he addressed, Hyndman would cynically thank the audience for so "generously supporting my class". Hyndman, like many strong

personalities, had very pronounced likes and dislikes. To myself, he was ever kind and courteous. I am quite sure he did much valuable work at the particular time when that special work was needed."

In October 1921 he visited Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland and spoke in support of the newly elected MP a SDF member Tom Kennedy who had been elected that year.

On 9th November 1921 a "raw and foggy night" Hyndman attended and spoke at a meeting in a school hall in Enfield, North London. Hyndman speaking on Britain's industrial decline compared to the recovery in Germany after the War.

On 22nd November 1921, newspapers reported, the announcement that morning of the death of... . "Mr H. M. Hyndman aged 79 founder of the Social Democratic Federation had been ill for about ten days with pneumonia, and was getting better, when heart trouble supervened".

Hyndman died of pneumonia on 22nd November 1921 (some reports say 20th November) at his home at 13 Well Walk, Hampsted, London NW3 (blue plaque)

The funeral was held at Golders Green Crematorium, a band of the Musicians Union headed the procession to the cemetery. At the funeral the Marseillaise, England Arise and the Red Flag.

In 1922 the Hyndman memorial committee decided to commemorate the death of Hyndman by the commission (by Edward Hill Lacey) of a bust for presentation to the National Portrait Gallery and the endowment of an annual memorial lecture.

Furnishings from Hyndman's house after his death went to the Hyndman Club and institute at 54 Colebroke Row, Islington, North London.

Christmas Truce 1914

Friday, December 23, 2011

Building Workers Organise in Harrow 1893

A public meeting of men employed in the building trade took place in the lecture Theatre at the Harrow Liberal Club 15th April 1893. The meeting called by the Management Committee of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters & Joiners of London District was well attended. The speakers called upon the "Harrow men to organise, and try to secure the same benefits as their fellow workers enjoyed in London".

It was stated that Harrow being within the 12 mile radius , the rules of London would apply to them. Members of the Amalgamated Society of House Decorators and Painters also spoke and urged the men to combine and form a branch of the Society at Harrow,

One of the speakers referred with great satisfactio
n to the fact that Mr Short, one of their members of the School Board, had given notice to propose "That in all contracts a clause should be inserted binding the contractors in paying trade union rates of wages" and he hoped all workers would support the member.

Mr Short replied that that he could not at present propose that resolution, as only one of the trades in the building trade was yet organised at Harrow.

Buckinghamshire Advertiser Harrow Journal 22 April 1893

The Manchester Alliance of Operative House Painters was formed in 1856 following a conference of small local societies in the Manchester area. It remained merely an alliance, that is the local societies retained their independence of rules, names and finances. In 1870 the alliance's name was changed to the General Union of Operative House Painters, in 1872 to the General Alliance of Operative House Painters and in 1880 to the General Alliance of Operative House and Ship Painters. In 1886 the alliance was dissolved and an amalgamated union was formed, the National Amalgamated Society of Operative House Painters and Decorators. In 1904 it merged with the Amalgamated Society of House Decorators and Painters and several smaller societies to form the National Amalgamated Society of Operative House and Ship Painters and Decorators.

In 1904 the National Amalgamated Society of Operative House Painters and Decorators merged with the Amalgamated Society of House Decorators and Painters and several smaller societies to form the National Amalgamated Society of Operative House and Ship Painters and Decorators. The society absorbed a number of local unions throughout its existence. In 1935 the society adopted the short title of the National Society of Painters. In 1961 it became the Amalgamated Society of Painters and Decorators after amalgamation with the Scottish Painters' Society and the Southport and Birkdale Operative House Painters' Association. In 1970 the society amalgamated with the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers to form the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers and Decorators.

see also Robert Tressell

The London leadership of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters & Joiners (picture above) won reduced working hours after a bitter 26 week dispute in 1891. The Average working week being cut from 52 and a half hours a week to 50 hours and an increase in
overtime rates.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yiewsley & West Drayton Co-operative Society

Yiewsley & West Drayton Co-Operative Society opened a Co-operative store at 31 and 32 Windsor Street, Uxbridge on Thursday 10th March 1910.

This was the Societies second store, having built up "Splendid business" at Yiewsley.

The Yiewsley & West Drayton Co-Operative Society reported it had over 500 member in 1910, most of whom were women

Mrs Gasson (Mrs M.A. Gasson of Acton ?) from the Wholesale Co-operative Union speaking at a Societies Hall in Yiewsley meeting in 1910 stated "many men were afraid to join the Society, for by doing so they would be endangering their position, and yet they called their land free England"

1909 Officers

President: H.J. Chilton
Secretary: E.Cox

Mr Edward Johnson
Mr Mullett
Mr Thomas Johnson
Mr James Kew

Messrs Hillier and Cook scrutineers

Henry J Chilton 1901 census - Postman aged 27

Mr C. Heron was heavily involved with
the establishment of Yiewsley and West Drayton Co-operative in September 1893

Was this Charles Heron a school master (St Matthews) born at Sowerby, West Yorkshire aged 37 at the time of the 1901 census.

In 1930
Yiewsley and West Drayton Co-operative merged with West London Co-Operative Society


Caroline Ganley 1879-1966 (later MP for Battersea) was also one of the most active women in the co-operative movement and was elected director of the West London Society in 1918.

The West London Society merged with the London Co-operative Society in 1921 and in 1942 she became the first woman president of the London Co-operative Society, at the time the largest retail society in the country with 792,000 members in that year and therefore a staggering achievement for a women.

She was an experienced and respected guildswoman, knowledgeable on such diverse subjects as tariffs and the consumer, married women's nationality rights, and the supply of milk to schoolchildren all themes close to the Guild’s campaigning heart since Margaret Llewelyn Davies. Ganley’s knowledge earned her the place as the only woman to represent England on the Cost of Living Inquiry Committee of 1936. In June 1943 she was honoured by the guild as one of the speakers at its diamond jubilee demonstration at the Royal Albert Hall.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

London Anarchists and the Royal Wedding of 1893

Thomas Cantwell & Ernest Young
London Anarchists

"Anarchists" and the Royal Wedding

Buckinghamshire Advertiser July 1893

On Friday 30th June 1893 at the Clerkenwell Police Court, Thomas Cantwell 27 of Sidmouth Street, Grays Inn Road and Ernest Young 30 refusing his address, were charged before Mr Horace Smith with posting and dispensing bills, the same not having the printers and publishers name and address thereon - Detective Powell, E Division said the previous evening he saw the two prisoners walking along Gray's Inn Road.

Cantwell was carrying a pot of paste and Young had a roll of bills in his possession. they stopped before a hoarding and posted thereon a bill upon which were printed the following words
"Royal wedding - the London Anarchists will hold an indignation meeting on Sunday 2nd July at Hyde park at 3:30 as a protest against the waste of wealth upon these Royal vermin, while the workers are dying of hunger and overwork.

Fellow workers prepare for the revolution, and remember that he who would be free must strike a blow. Down with Flunkeyism"
Being that the bill had not the printers name and address upon it Detective Kerr took the prisoners into custody Cantwell, in answer to the charge said "The time will come when we shall use more effective means than the poster. We will use bombs, Knowledge of the use of chemicals is advancing".

Asked by the magistrate whether he wished to question the officers Cantwell said " Why don't they prosecute other people for printing bills that haven't the printers name upon them ? It's only because we are Anarchists, and because these bills protest against this fawning for royal vermin that we are arrested
The magistrate remanded the pair until Tuesday

According to a excellent biography of Thomas Cantwell at

On Thursday 29th June 1898 Cantwell and Ernest Young were arrested for flyposting a poster about the wedding of the Duke of York. The poster advertised an indignation meeting to be held in Hyde Park on 2nd July to protest against the “waste of wealth” expended on “these Royal Vermin”. Apparently Cantwell was behind the idea of the poster and of meetings around the theme.

The case was finally dismissed, both Cantwell and Young remaining in prison until the trial, though the owner of the hoarding fined them both.

Thomas Edward Cantwell 1864-1906

Thomas Cantwell was buried at
Edmonton Cemetery
3rd January 1907

Liberty Hall - Dublin

This is a 24 minute documentary on the Dublin building Liberty Hall.
The home of the Irish Transport & Workers Union (ITGWU
) now SIPTU.
It was broadcast on RTE1 on the 11th of May 2009.
made by Paddy Cahill.

"Oh! then tell me Sean O'Farrell
where the gathering is to be?"
"At the oul spot by the river that's
well known to you and me ...."

This beautiful verse from "Rising of the moon" by John Keegan Casey, to commemorate the rebellion of 1798, may have inspired Sean O'Casey to lovingly refer to Liberty Hall the headquarters of the Irish Transport & General Workers Union, as "the oul spot on the river".

Irish Labour & Working Class History Web Site

The old Northumberland Hotel (Duke of Northumberland was former Lord Lieutenant of Ireland) in Beresford Place, Dublin was acquired by the ITGWU in 1911 and in 1914 purchased for the sum of £3,500, renaming it Liberty Hall.
In 1916, the Irish Proclamation of Independence was printed (by Christopher Brady) in the basement and James Connolly led the Irish Citizen Army and volunteers from the Hall to commence the Easter Rising of 1916.
The British gunship Helga moored in the Liffey reduced the Hall to ruins.
By the 1950's Liberty Hall had become so neglected that it was agreed to established a fund to build a new Liberty Hall.

The New Liberty Hall opened on May Day 1965.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kier Hardie - Uxbridge UDC Elections 1912

West London Independent Labour Party (ILP)
Rally Uxbridge Town Hall 22 March 1912

Speaker Kier Hardie MP leader of the Labour Party.
Chairman Councillor L.W. Spencer (Uxbridge Labo
ur Party)

supported by Labour council candidates for Uxbridge
Mr Ernest Alford Cave (Head Master - St Andrews Boys High School) , James Cochrane (Electrician - 20 Belmont Road), William Arthur Herbert (Carpenter & Joiner - 11 Tachbrook Road), Robert Weller Hudson (Commercial Clerk - Rockingham Road) , Frederick Charles Rolfe (Tanner - 5 & 6 Cross Street), Thomas Rowley (Friendly Society Manager - 21 Tachbrook Road) , Frederick James Youens (Painter - 12 Lawn Road)

Labour standing on a platform of council housing, allotments, employment rights, bathing, sanitation, and free library

"Labour's practical programme for improvements and reform"

Despite threats of violence from Labour's opponents ( Local Tories had been smashing up suffragette meetings locally) the meeting went ahead However, Kier Hardie was unable to attend due to urgent Parliamentary business.

Uxbridge ILP meeting at Rockingham Hall

L. W Spencer elected to Uxbridge UDC in 1910 with 345 votes

"They (Labour) were nothing like so well organised as their opponents on the polling day

The Labour men were only assisted by two side cars attached to motor cycles

Rival Forces at Uxbridge Pump March 1912

Saturday XX March 1912 must be recorded as a day of days in the history of local politics writes "One who as there" Never has such scenes been witnessed at the pump, never has pandemonium reigned as strongly, never has feeling run so high, and never have the inhabitants of Windsor Street heard such uproar. The cause of it all was simple. For the first time in the town's history Labour was making a determined effort to be strongly represented on Uxbridge Urban district council and the members of Uxbridge Constitutional (Conservative) Club making a determined effort to keep them out

Both sides had been working hard all the previous week, and both had decided to hold a final rally at the Pump on Saturday. The great day came, and the labour party got possession first, in fact they had been "holding the fort" from thee o'clock. from an early hour in the evening, their candidates addressed an immense crowd, and every thing went along smoothly until shortly after eight O'clock. then the trouble began. a large van came round the corner at a run, to serve as a platform for an Anti-Socialist speaker and pulled up a few yards from where the Labour men had their pitch. Then there was an uproar.. The Labour supporters in a body attacked the van but quickly Councillor L.W. Spencer mounted his rostrum and with the light of indignation in his eyes fast the vast crowd "Friends and comrades, "Shouted he "Will you hear me!"
"Yes" roared back the crowd.
"Then" rejoined Mr Spencer amidst absolute silence "I wish to say just this; These people have come here to try to upset our meeting (cheers and counter cheers) I did all I possibly could to come to an amicable arrangement with them, and have here the correspondence with Mr Lovibond, but they would not have any of it. Our meeting was arranged weeks ago and we claim the right to have this meeting, and here we are going to stop (Loud Cheers), these brief remarks aroused the indignation of the Labour supporters. "Out with the van" shouted one, and a party of stalwarts made an ugly rush towards the vehicle and quickly started pushing it up the street. Mr D. H. Grimsdale clambered on to it. and was met with a storm of hissing and booing such as never greeted him before, His appearance seemed to rouse the crowd to further action, so that another rush was made and the vehicle went up on two wheels. Mr Grimsdale somewhat ungracefully but safely scrambled out in the nick of time and by climbing on to the church rails was soon safe,
Then the police thought it time to step in and it was well that they did so, or the results might have been serious. They advised that the offending van should be removed and the Conservatives amidst the ironical cheers of their opponents slowly dragged the vehicle away and the Labour men cheered and cheered again.
They had won the first round and for a time held undisputed possession ion of the field, But not for long, The Conservatives returned with a "rostrum" which they pitched some little distance away and then the row recommenced.
Mr Grimesdale essayed to speak but his voice was drowned by the hissing and booing of the crowd, which had swelled considerably. He gave up the attempt and called upon Mr Temple of the Anti-Socialist Union. Shortly before ten Mr Grimesdale called for the National Anthem and the anti-Socialist meeting closed. The Labour Party continued and their candidates having spoken the meeting closed after six hours

It was a never to forgotten night

Buckinghamshire Advertiser March 1912

Ernest Alfrod Cave Election statement

My message is - "To Dread Nought, but to make War, not indeed on the Germans, but on social germs - the germs of disease, destitution, and despair, and therefore, directly or indirectly, to provide our workers with more and better cottages, let at lower rates; with a higher wage and more leisure; with open spaces and playing fields, baths, gardens, reading rooms and a free library; to rouse our religious bodies to take closer share in the religious work; to show That a "little Englander" is a "Great Imperialist" and that under rated sites left to "ripen" means means under rated "souls" left to rot; and finally to ask the people of Uxbridge to retain this programme as evidence of the sincerity of Uxbridge Labour Party - Ernest Cave - Uxbridge Labour Party March 1912

Councillor L.W. Spencer
Labour Councillor L.W, "Leonard" Spencer
(Uxbridge ILP Secretary)would lose his life in the Great War, shot through the head by a German snipper on the 1st September 1915, he is buried at Longuenesse St Omer, France.

Hayes Urban District Council Labour Candidates 1912

John William Gordon "Trevose" Cromwell Road (Insurance Agent)
Percy Vere Osbourne Langton 18 Angel Lane, Hayes End (Clerk) (Elected)
Frederick Victor Mason 6 Silverdale Road (Machinist)

Alfred James Kirkby 15 South View, Blyth Road, Hayes - (Fitter & Turner) nominated by Henry Palmer and Frederick James Stiff (so must have been Labour) withdrew.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Annie Besant (Match Girls' Strike) at Windsor 1890

On Tuesday evening, 11th March 1890 at Templars Hall, Windsor, Annie Besant a prominent Fabian socialist speaker lectured to a "packed and enthusiastic" audience on "Why we teach Socialism".

To quote the local Buckinghamshire Advertiser

"The meeting was raised to a pitch of great excitement by Mrs Besant utteranc
es; and a crowd followed her to the station afterwards, and loudly cheered her as her train left the Great Western station platform".

Buckinghamshire Advertiser 15th March 1890

It was Annie Besant who led 1,400 women match makers at Bryant & May into a heroic strike and victory in July 1888 and nodoubt accounted for her great popularity amongst the working class and progressives.

Annie Besant Report The Link (23 June, 1888)

"White Slavery"

Born in slums, driven to work while still children, undersized because under-fed, oppressed because helpless, flung aside as soon as worked out, who cares if they die or go on to the streets provided only that Bryant & May shareholders get their 23 per cent and Mr. Theodore Bryant can erect statutes and buy parks?

Girls are used to carry boxes on their heads until the hair is rubbed off and the young heads are bald at fifteen years of age? Country clergymen with shares in Bryant & May's draw down on your knee your fifteen year old daughter; pass your hand tenderly over the silky clustering curls, rejoice in the dainty beauty of the thick, shiny tresses.


The first Edition of the link was produced in February 1888,

"The Link, a journal which has been founded ....simply and solely as the helper of the helpless, the friend of the oppressed, and the advocate and champion of the cause of Disinherited of our race" stated Annie Besant and W.T. Stead in its first issue.

Annie Besant also went on to campaign for Free School Meals as a member of the London School Board in Tower Hamlets and Fair (trade union) wages

Annie Besant had become a Fabian Socialist in 1855

Annie Besant Elected to the London School Board (Tower Hamlets) in 1889

Besant drove about with a red ribbon in her hair, speaking at meetings. "No more hungry children," her manifesto proclaimed. She combined her socialist principles with feminism: "I ask the electors to vote for me, and the non-electors to work for me because women are wanted on the Board and there are too few women candidates." Besant came out on top of the poll in Tower Hamlets, with over 15,000 votes. She wrote in the National Reformer: "Ten years ago, under a cruel law, Christian bigotry robbed me of my little child. Now the care of the 763,680 children of London is placed partly in my hands."


John Bedford Leno joint editor of the Uxbridge Spirit of Freedom, and Working Man's Vindicator establsihed a branch of the Chartists at Windsor

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Occupy St Paul's Cathedral Circa 1887 - #OccupyLSX 2011

Occupation's and demonstrations in support of the unemployed have been waged on streets outside and even inside St Paul's Cathedral on numerous occasions.

In 1886 and 1887 the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) conducted a broad campaign of agitation among London's unemployed. The church parades were a form of this agitation, practised in early 1887. It was an attempt to address the unemployed from the pulpit. One parade, on 27 February 1887, took place in front of St Paul's Cathedral. During the sermon, parade participants proclaimed socialist slogans.

After the service the Social Democratic Federation held three meetings in the streets, the speakers including John Burns, George Bateman and Fielding.

Some refer to the events of 2th February 1887 as an "occupation" lead by John Burns later MP for Battersea (1892-1918)


Christian Socialism lecture by Rev Stuart Headlam in West Middlesex (probably Uxbridge)

"some years ago when the socialists marched in a body to St Paul's cathedral the old archdeacon of London was the preacher the men paraded the streets with banners and he stood on the steps of St Paul's and watched the procession arriving and was struck with the words on nearly all the banners being the sayings of Jesus Christ or his apostles and the chairman of the meeting (Rev Thomas Hancock) preached and published a sermon which he hoped all had read or would read, entitled "The banner of Christ in the hands of the Socialists" (published 1887) But the old Archdeacon told the congregation that we should never get rid altogether of poverty for Christ had said "the poor ye shall have with you" But Jesus did not say that, He simply said noting the persistence of poverty, "The poor, ye have with you" a very different thing to his saying "Ye shall always have them "

Christian Socialism lecture by Rev Stuart Headlam in West Middlesex (probably Uxbridge)

Buckinghamshire December 2nd 1890

The Banner of Christ in the Hands of the Socialists

from a sermon by Thomas Hancock

[The years 1886 and 1887 saw widespread unemployment and suffering among the working people of London, as well as in the North, and many of them adopted the tactic of marching into fashionable churches to dramatize their plight, armed with banners proclaiming appropriate Scriptural texts. Stewart Headlam responded to the predictable squeals of the pious by saying "It is no worse for a disinherited brother to come to church to 'show his rags' than for a middle class dame to attend for the purpose of displaying the sweetest new thing in Parisian bonnets; but where can the hungry worker make his mute appeal more appropriately than before the altar of Him who bade the hungry thousands sit down upon the green grass and made them eat until all were filled?" The following are excerpts from a sermon Thomas Hancock on the same subject. - - Ted M.]
* * * * * * *

The non-church-going masses have taken to churchgoing. We have seen what journalists of Mammon and Caste call an invasion of the 'Churches by poor Socialists.' We have seen nothing else like it in our generation. 'This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvelous in our eyes' . . .

If some old Athenian philosopher had risen from the dead . . . had come into the streets of London on Sunday and watched the great multitude surging into St. Paul's Cathedral, they would naturally have asked, 'whose disciples are all these men? What leader so they follow? From whom do they derive the axioms and rules which are moving them?'

Have you, my brethren, looked at the banners of this 'mob'? Have you observed 'whose image and superscription' they bear? It is not Caesar's, not Victoria's, not Gladstone's, not Schnadhorst's. not Hyndman's.

You see that they carry banners with mottoes upon them. Who is the author of these texts which express the social faith of this huge multitude? From what teachers have they borrowed the dogmas which they call upon all the city to read and to respect, and to obey? On whose authority are these innumerable crowds of the poor and rough doing this unwonted thing? They, or a great many of them, call themselves 'Socialists.' Let us read what is on their banners; let us discover who is the ultimate dogmatist of this multitudinous sect.

Christians, as you watch the mighty multitude pass by, you will soon be shaken out of your hasty a priori conjectures. Do you expect to read upon their banners wild words of their own invention? Do you expect extracts from Babeuf or from Proudhon, or even from Ferdinand Lasalle or Karl Marx? Are not the 'Socialists' their disciples? Ought not the mottoes by which they declare before the world their convictions, their demands, their faith, to be extracted from Das Capital or from the Arbeiterprogramm? Oh, come, all ye faithful! Look again and again at these inscriptions. Recognize, while you have time, what they are: see, clergy and laity, out of whose mouth the cries of the 'mob' have come. They are the words of your Master. They are the laws of the Eternal Father. They are the lessons which He taught us by His Son. They are the new commandments which you and I were pledged at our Baptism to keep. 'Feed My lambs!' 'My house is a house of prayer, but ye (capitalists and landlords) have made it a den of thieves!' 'I was an hungered and ye gave Me no meat; naked and ye clothed Me not." It is a small matter to what sect or party this great 'multitude' fancies it belongs, or by what denomination it pleases to call itself. You can see to whom they have felt obliged to go in order to find the fullest expression of their faith. 'In the name of our God,' said the crowds of the London poor, as well as the Hebrew psalmist, 'we will set up our banners.' We have not seen in our generation any other such warning, any other such an acknowledgment, that Jesus Christ the Crucified is He whom the Father has exalted to be the Head of Humanity, to lift up an ensign for the peoples, to be the one and only all-sufficient mediator, representative, spokesman, and avenger of 'all that are desolate and oppressed.'

- -quoted in Gilbert Clive Binyon, The Christian Socialist Movement in England, 1931


House of Commons Debate 28 February 1887 vol 311 c725
MR. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the accounts of the proceedings in St. Paul's Cathedral yesterday have been brought under his notice; and, if so, whether he will give such orders to the police, as will, in future, prevent the recurrence of such disgraceful scenes?


I have seen the newspaper accounts of what took place in St. Paul's yesterday. Those accounts appear to me to be considerably exaggerated. From an interview I have had to-day with one of the officers of the City Police, who are not under my jurisdiction, I have no doubt that in future they will act vigorously in order to prevent any recurrence of the disturbance.