Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What a Socialist Council would do ? - Walter Ayles ILP 1923



By Walter Ayles (Independant Labour Party 1923)

It is the 9th of November. For twelve months there has been a Socialist majority in the Town Council. The Mayor is on his feet, speaking of the year’s work. Let us listen.
“One thing I have noticed both in this Council and out-ride. There is a new attitude towards the Council’s work. There used to be a spirit, of distrust. All expenditure was grudged; there was continual grumbling about the rates. Now this has quite changed. Our citizens are developing a real sense of civic unity. They understand our policy and are ready to pay their rates because they realise that the money is used for the benefit of the community. We have taken the citizens into our confidence, and they have responded.
“Ladies and gentlemen, ours is a grave responsibility. We are here to serve the common good. In the name of the poor and needy, of the children and the aged, of the men and women who Labour for the city’s good, I ask you to be faithful to the trust they have ‘placed in our bands”
A Socialist Town Council which could change the public attitude towards municipal politics in this way would have done its most necessary and difficult task. It would be the first duty of a Socialist Council so to order its activities as to bring about such a result.
The Socialist looks upon the Town Council as the natural body to express and improve the life of the town. He knows that by collective effort we can give to every citizen greater freedom, more material comfort, and a fuller life than is possible now. The Town Council is the great instrument which can be used to gain these advantages.
There are a number of things in modern society which we must do together in order to live. The Socialist wants many of these things done through the Town Council, representing, as it does, the common interest of the citizens. The anti-Socialist is only prepared for Town Councils to do these things when. No profit can be made out of them.
Thus the anti-Socialist is willing for the Town Council to make drains and sewers, keep the streets clean, build hospitals, and so on. But he is not willing for the Town Council to do other things which are just as necessary to the welfare of the people. Houses are wanted, gas and electricity are needed, food, meat, milk and coal are required. These, says the anti-Socialist, must not be provided co-operatively by the whole body of citizens. They must be pro-vided by private companies.
Why does the anti-Socialist want to keep these things in private hands ? Because a private profit can be made out of them.
The Socialist says that the interest of all the people should come before private interests, and that social services should be publicly organised as a partnership between die community and the workers engaged in the service
No one who has knowledge of municipal enterprise can deny that on the whole it has been cheaper and more efficient than private enterprise, and that the profits have benefited the whole town. Where municipal enterprise has not proved more efficient the: cause, has often been the failure to give opportunity for the active co-operation of the municipal employees. Where municipal enterprise has not proved cheaper the heavy capital costs have usually been to blame. An increased charge has had to be made to pay back the money borrowed and the interest upon it. This has occurred particularly in the case of houses.
To meet this difficulty the Socialist advocates the establishment of Municipal Banks.
The initial capital for municipal schemes is now borrowed from a private bank. But where does the bank get its money from ? From the tradesmen and citizens of the town. Thus the citizens of the town lend to the bank at a low rate of interest, and the bank lends their money back to them as represented in the Town Council, demands a higher interest upon it, and makes private profit in this transaction. A Socialist Town Council would establish a Municipal Bank and thus obtain capital for its schemes of public benefit without heavy interest charges to the Money Ring.
With reasonable facilities for obtaining capital, the Socialist Town Council would provide not only houses, water, gas, electricity and tramways, but other common necessities. Three things may be specially mentioned: bread, milk and meat. At present, owing to our wasteful competitive system, the cost of these necessities has increased enormously, and especially to the poorer consumer. The reports of Government committees have recently shown how all classes are fleeced by our present arrangements. The Socialist Town Council would either itself undertake the supply of these things in the interest of the whole body of citizens, or would encourage their provision through the Co-operative movement. Two benefits would follow :
(i) the cost to the consumer would be lessened, and
(2) the workers would be better paid and would have better conditions of labour.
Side by side with these basic changes, the Socialist Town Council would carry out a broad programme for human welfare. It would begin with the children.
1. No child would be ill-born. Every kind of available information would be at the disposal of poor mothers before the birth of their children. During birth they would be accommodated in a maternity home. Help and advice would be given when they returned to their homes. All the voluntary help available would be linked up with the official organisation operating under the Health Acts to keep the personal touch human and sensitive and to supply the deficiencies of the law.
2. No child would be unfed. The Health Acts would be used for this purpose before school age and the Education Acts afterwards. There would be a plentiful and pure supply of milk for nursing mother? and their babies, and- school children in need would be properly fed whether the schools were in session or not.
3. No child would be unattended in illness. No children need have bad ears, noses or mouths. Doctors and nurses would see to them. The Health and Education Acts give power to provide doctors and nurses, and information. Mothers would be encouraged to attend classes and gain information regarding their all-important work; municipal crèches would be established for the children of mothers whom. Capitalism drove out to. work, and child clinics established for all who required them.
4. No child need be dirty. The Baths and Wash-houses and Education Acts jointly can be used to see that children are not only kept clean but are taught the rule’s of personal hygiene.
5. No child need be ignorant. The Consolidating Education Act of 1921 gives very large powers, and though the Board of Education may be niggardly and reactionary, there are vast powers that can be used without their approval being required.
6. No child need be homeless. The Housing Acts would be rigidly enforced and stretched so that every child should be housed and homed healthily. Slums would be cleared, flushing tanks would be made compulsory, and as rapidly as possible new accommodation provided in which children would be welcomed.
If you realise what the accomplishment of this six-point Children’s Charter would mean to our cities you get a glimpse of the revolution a Socialist Town
Council would make in civic life. The Socialist would frankly give parents their choice—the rates or the child. The significant thing is that if they choose the rates they will lose the child. If they choose the child they will actually save the rates too, not only because healthy children are cheaper than those that are sick and tuberculosis, but because expenditure will be able to be reduced on incapable and diseased adults.
A community—and a Party—is to be judged by how it cares for the old, the sick and the young.
1, Applicants for Old Age Pensions would be helped technically to qualify for a pension. There are hundreds who need pensions and who rightly could claim them, but who for technical difficulties as to age, savings, allowances from children, and so on, do not get them. A Socialist Town Council Old Age Pensions Committee would help them to remove the technical difficulties so that justice and mercy could do their work.
2. Old Age Pensioners would be supplied with homes. This could .be done under the Housing Acts. All Town Planning Schemes should include provision for those who need one or two rooms for quite small rents. This would enable them to retain their own furniture and self-respect by keeping outside the Poor Law. It is done in Denmark.
3. Medical help would be given through the use of the Health Acts. Nurses would visit and advise.
4. Recreation and games would be provided in open spaces, and shelters provided of a beautiful and convenient type at small cost.
There would be adequate provision for all infectious cases, including tuberculosis, and for the period of convalescence. All accidents and surgical cases would be provided for. The Health Insurance medical service would meet the needs of the employed workers and adequate dispensary accommodation would be provided for others. Information on all kinds of diseases and simple rules of precaution and remedies could and would be disseminated as. has recently been done with regard to influenza. A completely new outlook could also be developed in the case of lunatics and the mentally deficient. Reports of the work accomplished would be given fully to the public in order to instruct them in the use of a Socialist Town Council and an efficient public service.
The Socialist Town Council -would think constantly of the unemployed worker in its midst and would plan to provide useful, honourable work at Trade Union wages. The programme here outlined would necessitate a great increase in employment under the municipality—the construction of houses and schools and baths, the extension of parks, the improvement of the streets, etc. The Socialist Town Council would specially press ahead with its public schemes during times of extended unemployment so as to provide worthy work for as many as possible. Work for the ablebodied and honourable assistance for the sick and aged would be its motto. It would also increasingly press upon the Government the need for transforming the system that led to such dire results.
Let us now give a few short notes on other activities a Socialist Town Council would undertake.
Baths and Wash-houses. This is a health service that would be given for a nominal charge so as to make it accessible to all who need. A community that has allowed bathless houses to be built and still allows overcrowding must be prepared to pay to prevent fever and plague. Cottage baths should be established in smaller suburbs as being more economical.
Blind Persons. All blind persons would be given a pension so that none need go on the street to beg. This can now be done under the Blind Persons Act. A Socialist Town Council would also see that the blind were given free passes on the trams to enable them to avoid the dangers of traffic-laden roads and also have a little healthful recreation.
Public Halls and Municipal Concerts. A Socialist Town Council would see that the poorest, no less than the -well-to-do, had a chance of hearing the best artistes.
Parks and Open Spaces. These are to a city what holidays are to an individual—an apparent expense which is a good investment. They would be put where needed most—a reversal of present policy.
Education. This wants a pamphlet to itself. A Socialist Town Council would not solely build permanent structures which are necessarily costly, but would build schools on the open-air principle with proper provision for bad weather. This would enable a larger number of schools to be provided out of the money available for the purpose. The numbers of scholars in classes would be gradually reduced until they were down to thirty. Teachers would be adequately trained and paid and given the status and freedom their important work warrants. Teachers’ and Parents’ Councils would be organised. There would be visiting days for parents at least once a quarter. Every child would be taught personal hygiene and how to swim, in addition to the usual sports and games. The child’s respect for literature and for a lesson that becomes more and more irksome
would be increased by treating the Bible as a treasured literary possession as well as a means of religious instruction. Holiday camps would be
organised both for boys and girls. (The money could be largely raised by voluntary efforts by the children themselves.) Social histories and geographies would take the place of the usual “drum and trumpet” and “date and fact” textbooks, and the heroic in life emphasised rather than that of the battlefield. English history would be taught in its relation to the life of other people. The fullest facilities would be given for continued education after the age of fourteen years. There would be a larger number of scholar-ships and maintenance grants for boys and girls able to use them adequately.
Fire Insurance. The property owned by all Corporations is very great, and large sums are spent’ on fire insurance. A scheme would be formulated for progressively taking over the fire insurances. This would be a very profitable bit of business.
Housing. Almost anything can be done in the-way of providing working-class dwellings. Direct or Guild labour has proved cheapest and best. Excellence of workmanship always means decreased maintenance charges.
A Town Planning department would be set up to do its job. It would be speedily established as a guide for all future development of new (and improvements of old) parts of the city.
Small temporary libraries would be established in all suburbs to meet the demand for books and papers, and as and when convenient larger establishments would be erected.
Museums and Art Galleries would be more largely used for popular lectures on their contents by the most highly qualified and popular lecturers. Lantern slides would be used for illustration. The Lectures would be at the times most convenient for working men and women.
Streets. Sanitary refuse bins would be made compulsory, and all houses collected from in the most convenient and expeditious manner. The refuse would be burnt and not tipped. Stone pitching for streets would gradually be abolished and asphalt carpeting supplied instead. It is most important that infants, men on night shift, and sick people should be allowed to sleep during the day and not disturbed by carts clattering over cobblestones. It is also cleaner and more sanitary. The smoke nuisance would be more drastically dealt with, especially in the northern towns. Where possible, trees would be planted-to brighten what are now soul-destroying avenues of drab monotony.
Small Holdings and allotments. The Socialist Town Council would buy—and not lease—land for small holdings and allotments, up to and a little beyond the ascertained demand. They would hand the land over to the association of holders to administer, thus establishing in the one way legally possible democratic control by the workers. The rent charges would cover (a) interest on money borrowed; (b) cost of city administration in connection with the Acts. But the sinking fund would be paid by the city itself as the land would ultimately belong not to the holders but to the citizens.
Administrative. Finally, there are certain administrative reforms of far-reaching importance to which a Socialist Town Council would attend. Let us take them in order.
1. All civic departments use a number of things in common. In many towns they all get different tenders for comparatively small quantities of goods, occupying different staffs of clerks to do the work. These include such things as cleaning materials, coal, paper, printing, and so on. The buying of these would be centralised and a Controller for central purchasing appointed. This has already been found very profitable in the few places where it has been tried.
There would be a co-ordination of Works Departments under one head. There are generally two and sometimes half a dozen under each Corporation. This department would be allowed to tender for all jobs required to be done by the Corporation in competition with outside contractors. It would be advantageous in the transition stage to allow competition with private contractors both for buildings and the supply of such things as gas and electric fittings and requisites.
Finance. A Socialist Town Council -would do away with the overlapping finance departments attached to the Borough and District Funds, and have one department and a consolidated rate. This would mean a saving of time, temper and money to the city.
An excellent combination! The City Treasurer would have control of all the accountancy departments of the Corporation undertakings. The finance
of the Corporation as a whole would come up for discussion at least once a year in addition to “Budget” days. Extra discussion on “ways and means” as a whole would do much good.
A Socialist Town Council would lead a vigorous agitation by local authorities’ for adequate grants from the Government for housing, unemployment,education, and other essential purposes.
It is probable that this programme will lead to an increase in rates. That must be faced. Rates used wisely level up the standard of life. They are levied not only on the occupiers of houses but upon the factories and other business places, and the effect is to collect a certain sum from both rich and poor and to distribute it in the form of public services to the people as a whole.
The extent to which this is done depends upon the policy of the Council. A Council of Capitalists will pay considerable attention to the roads in, order to facilitate transport of their goods. This will not benefit the worker so much/especially if the educational and public health services are starved. A Socialist Council would increase the facilities of free education, free meals for children, cheap transport maternity and child welfare, and the many other things described above.
If a workman will sit down and think for five minutes and will ask himself how much these sendees would cost him if he had to provide them individually, he will see how municipal activity on the right lines’ actually increases his real wages. It may be that it will cost him a few pence a week extra in rates, but if he balances against this what he gets he will see that he has made a good bargain. Anti-Socialists are always out to keep the rates low on things that benefit the worker. They claim that they want to save the worker money. They really want to keep down to the lowest the public services which increase his real wages.
Corporation labour has hardly ever been rightly handled. It is not wise to divorce municipal employees from labour in private employ. The difference of 2S. a week, slightly lower hours, better holiday allowances, security of employment, would enable the community to get the best labour and not the throw-outs of private enterprise. Advisory courts would be established in all departments and a joint advisory court for the whole employees to advise the Corporation as to the conduct of the working conditions. This would be a step towards workers’ control and would train them in the job of organising industry.
No step would be taken without consultation with the workers’ representatives. All labour questions would be settled in that way, whether of output, discipline, wage-hours, holidays, the introduction of machinery, the restriction or expansion of departmental activity. .
The programme -which has been outlined above indicates the new attitude in which Socialists approach the problem of civic life. To Socialists the Town Council is not a mere governing body. It is a committee of all the citizens. -If the citizens are animated with a keen desire for the true welfare of their city they will place upon it men and women with vision—men and women with a spirit of social service—men and women who are determined to make citizenship a reality to all.
See to it that your Town Council becomes a Socialist body !
Write to the Head Office of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) Headland House, 508 Gray’s Inn Road, London, W.C. 1 for particulars of the work of the Party, and how you may join it. The Secretary will also be glad to send you, post free, a list of interesting ‘Pamphlets and Books on Socialism and Labour questions.

Walter Ayles

Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington
Bristol City Labour Councillor

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hayes Cottage Hospital Occupation 1983

PHOTO: Sylvia Tebbenham (left) Marge Bayne (right)

Hayes Cottage Occupation 1983

Hayes Cottage Hospital will be open this Christmas, and every other Christmas

Hillingdon Health Emergency Leaflet
Hayes Cottage Hospital will be open this Christmas, and every other Christmas
On the evening of Tuesday 25th October 1983 the staff at Hayes Cottage Hospital occupied in a bid to keep the hospital open. This action uas taken after a lot
of thought but it was clearly the only way to stop the closure after other avenues had been exhausted.

The reaction of the people of Hayes has been really magnificent. We have had visitors coming round with food, supplies and money. Messages of support have
been flooding in from all over London while a delegation from Charing Cross Hospital came over to see us. Ken Livingstone sent a message of congratulations saying 'This will be an example to other parts of the London Health Service faced with cuts in vital jobs and services. Best wishes for the struggle ahead.'

The best bit of news recently has been that the G.P's connected with the hospital are to start admitting patients again so we will be running just as before. Certainly, the patients in the Cottage Hospital are solidly behind the "work-in. Fifteen of them have signed a petition demanding the retention of the hospital and one patient has insisted that if any attempt is made to move her she intends to die in the ambulance......

Our aim in this struggle is to force the District Health Authority to take their proposals for cuts out to full public consultation. We believe that the people of Hillingdon have a right to a say in the sort of Health Service that is provided instead of a totally undemocratic and unaccountable group of individuals dictating from on high.

We believe that we are going to win the battle for Hayes Cottage Hospital but to do so we need the help of the ordinary people of Hayes. 


We also need letters going to the DHA demanding that no violence will be used and that patients will not be forcibly removed against their will. This is a real possibility and it must not be allowed.

Hayes Cottage Hospital is an integral part of the community in this area. It provides a type and a quality of care that is not available at a big unit like Hillingdon. Closing our hospital will mean that many old people and parents will have long journeys if they need medical treatment. These cuts are going
to hit most those people that need the IMHS while the people With the money Will have their own private care. THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOLWED. The NHS Was set up through the struggle and toil of our older folk and we pay for it through our taxes. In any civilised society decent health care should be a right not left to charity.


The Hillingdon Health Emergency Campaign had a spontaneous beginning. Members of the public had attended a meeting of the Regional Health Authority on 27th September 1983. At that meeting, the proposed cuts in Health spending ware announced - including the proposed closure of the two Cottage Hospitals
Hayes and Northwood and Pinner.

There were immediate protests from the public gallery and four people were ejected from the meeting. Later an impromptu meeting of the protesters took place in the Civic Centre electing a committee which immediately went into action to arouse public opinion and protest against the cuts.
Leaflets were produced; public meetings held; petition forms distributed, resulting in thousands of signatures. Letters were written to the press, M.P.'s, Councillors and other public figures inviting their support.

Trade union branches were heavily involved and asked to support, both financially and physically. To date, nearly £1000 has been raised. The support received from the public has given a great boost to the campaign, which stepped up its supporting activity following the decision by the Staff to occupy the two threatened hospitals.

It is the policy of the Committee that the campaign against Health service cuts will continue, whatever the outcome at Hayes and Northwood. They therefore continue to ask for public support and feel sure that it will be forthcoming.
Hilllngdon needs its Health Service. Support the Campaign.

Hillingdon Health Emergency (GLC Funded) 2a Botwell Lane, Hayes, Middx
Steve Clare, Secretary Hillingdon Health Emergency:
Michael Walker COHSE
Marjorie (Marge) Bayne NUPE Hayes Cottage Hospital Steward (Blonde in picture)
Sylvia Tebbenham NUPE Hayes Cottage Hospital Steward
Supported by unions at EMI (TGWU), KODAK (TGWU), Express Dairy (TGWU), NALGO,NUPE, COHSE, AUEW and Tenants & Pensioners Groups

Northwood & Pinner Cottage hospital occupied the next day lead by the Matron and COHSE Steward Jean Carey (daugter in law ? of Milly Johnson famous Irish nationalist and Harrow Labour Councillor in the 60s/70s)

Both Cottage Hospitals were saved for the next seven years and provided a vital NHS service to there communities, However in the early 1990's the Hayes Cottage Hospital was turned into a nursing home.

These Occupations had close links with Thornton View hospital Occupation, Bradford 5 August 1983 -August 1985, :ocal TVH Union Reps - Betty Elie (COHSE) & Hazel Ward (NUPE)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hayes Labour Councillors 1964

Hayes Labour Councillors 1964

First Hayes Labour Councillors elected to the new London Borough of Hillingdon held on Thursday 7th May 1964

Ivor Anthony 42 Barra Hall Road (Engineer EMI)Elsie Broughton 37 Warley Road (Housewife)Simon Geldberg 78 Bath Road, hayes (Financial Clerk)Ernest Kirby Harding 62 Central Aveenue (Newspaper Editor)

Veronica Chalk 68 Gainsborough Road (Housewife)Kenneth Gigg 97 Adelphi Crescent (Scientific Glass Worker)
Brian Shaw 19 Raeburn Road (Die Sinker)Edward Joseph Vance 11 Raeburn Road (Supervisor)

Alfred John Charles Beck 199 Station Road (Contracts Manager)Robert John Came 40 Hunters Grove (Engine Driver)Gwilym Arthur Jones 12 Eighth Avenue (Fitter)

Ossie Garvin 44 Church Road (Progress Chaser EMI)

David Flory 10 Zealand Avenue, Harmondsworth (Fitter)Kathleen Johnson 18 Colbrook Avenue (Housewife)
Hubert (Charles) John Key 24 Briar Way, West Drayton (Electrician)
Mervyn Wheeler 12 Stormount Drive (Contracts Manager)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Harry Gosling - Hayes 1918

General Election 1918



Having been selected by a representative Labour and Trade Union Conference as the Labour candidate for the Uxbridge Division, I now appeal to you for your vote and interest at the. forthcoming General Election.

I endorse the programme of the Labour Party. My outlook- upon the issues of the election is that the Government should accept its inundate from the House of

Commons, representing the entire people of the country, rather than that the Government should impose its mandate upon the freely elected representatives of the people.

In order to obtain the free and unfettered decision of the people of the country, I am entirely in favour of the complete restoration of freedom of speech, publication, travel, residence, and choice of occupation.
I am in favour of complete political democracy; a free House of Commons requires no House of Lords.

I am totally opposed to any form of conscription, military or industrial.
My policy regarding Ireland is one of the fullest possible measure, of Home Rule for the Irish people.

Together with my colleagues in the Labour Movement, I am resolved that just and generous treatment must be accorded to our soldiers and sailors who have borne the brunt of the war, and to their womenfolk and children. I am, moreover, convinced that full provision must be made for the civil war workers discharged from the various munitions factories and war industries during the period of resettlement.
Soldiers, sailors, and all disemployed workmen must be guaranteed work at the current Trade Union rates of their occupations, or full and free maintenance by the State.'

The complete fulfilment of the nation's pledge to the Trade Unionists that their pre-war practices and customs must be unconditionally reintroduced shall have my fullest support.

All monopolies tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The Labour Party policy is not to rob the rich, but to see that the rich do not rob the poor.
Our experience during the war proves that it is essential that the State should 'maintain its control, and should assume ownership of all the national means of transport— road, rail, air, and water. It becomes more and more essential that the State must also assume the ownership and control of the coal and iron mines, together with all other monopolies.

The land belongs of right to the people. Therefore the State must assume ownership and control of that which is the legacy of us all.
I am in favour of a free national system of education, from the elementary school to the university, providing opportunities for the fullest use of the natural abilities of every child. The higher branches of education must no longer be kept a close preserve for the rich.

On the question of the tremendous war indebtedness, I am at one with the Labour 
Party in demanding that the country must pay its way by adjusting taxation strictly according to ability to bear it. I am in favour of the removal of all taxes on food and the institution of a graduated income tax.
The war was a war to end wars, and therefore the peace and security of Europe and the entire world must rest firmly established upon a League of Nations.

Regarding the question of old age pensions, I shall support the reduction of the age and a substantial increase in the amount.
Two important problems which are closely' allied are the questions of housing and health. This country cannot continue to hold a leading place amongst the nations unless we have a radical improvement in the standard of life of the
common people.

The Medical Boards have shown that afar too great proportion of our men were physically unfit for the onerous task of bearing arms. Yet the standard of life
has only been raised to its present position—which is still far too low—by the unceasing efforts of Trade Union and Labour organisations of the country. I am convinced that we must provide hundreds of thousands of well-planned,
well-built, and commodious homes for our people. These questions are of the most vital importance, and must not be delayed.

My energies and efforts have been at the disposal of various forms of public service for 25 years. During the war I have assisted the Government whenever called upon, and have served as a member of the Departmental Committee on the Reception and Employment of Belgian Refugees, the Statutory Committee on War Pensions, the Committee on Commercial and Industrial Policy. I am a member of the Port and Transit Executive Committee, the Special Grants
Committee, Ministry of Pensions, the Imperial War Grave Commission, and the Advisory Council to the Board of Trade,

I am quite prepared to continue to place my services at the disposal of the Government, but only as a free and unfettered representative of the people. I appeal to the men and women voters of the Uxbridge Division of Middlesex
to support me, asking during the election only for a fair field and no favour.
Yours sincerely,

Harry Gosling
Published by:
Uxbridge Divisional Labour Party Secretary: Percy Langton, 18 Angel Lane, Hayes, Middlesex
Agent: W. Knowles, 2 Brandville Road, West Drayton, Middlesex

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Councillor Peter Fagan - Hayes

Peter Fagan

Peter F Fagan

Born Dublin
Educated by the Brothers at Catholic school
Shopkeeper, Lansbury Drive, Hayes TGWU member elected to Hillingdon Council in 1973
Superb and very popular Labour Group Leader
Labour candidate for Hayes and Harlington
Retired to South West England to run a Garden Centre circa 1988
Tragically died soon after

John McDonnell MP

John McDonnell

The son of a docker and shopworker, John was born in Liverpool in 1951 before his family moved south because of work. He received his first degree from Brunel University and a Masters from Birkbeck College, London University.

He first worked as a production worker on the shop floor, before being employed as a trade union official for the National Union of Mineworkers and subsequently the TUC.

In 1981, he was elected as the GLC councillor for Hayes and Harlington and became Chair of Finance responsible for GLC's £3 billion budget. He was also deputy leader to Ken Livingstone.
Following the abolition of the GLC, John became the Chief Executive of the Association of London Authorities, eventually the Association of London Government, representing all the London Boroughs in relations with central government and Europe.

In 1992, he fought his home town seat of Hayes and Harlington but lost by 54 votes. He immediately launched a campaign to win the constituency and in 1997 won the seat with a 13,000 majority with one of largest swings to Labour in the country. Since then, Labour has held the seat with over 60% of the vote.
Locally John describes himself as a community MP, living and working in his constituency. He has been acknowledged by political friend and foe alike as an immensely hard working local MP on behalf of local constituents and for championing local community issues such as the threat of expansion at Heathrow airport and its impact on local communities.

In Parliament John is the Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs. Within the Labour Party he is the Chair of the Labour Representation Committee, a rank-and-file organisation for Labour Party supporters and trade unionists.
He is also a leading member of a number of All Party groups within Parliament including groups representing individual trade unions, such as PCS, RMT, FBU, Justice Unions and the NUJ as well as topic groups on a wide range of issues such as the Irish community, the Punjabi community, endometriosis, and Kenya.
He is Chair of 'Public Services Not Private Profit', a campaign which brings together 16 trade unions and several campaigning organisations to defend public services against privatisation. He is a prominent member of the Stop The War Coalition, and has been a consistent campaigner in Parliament against the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

John is married with a ten year old son and with two adult daughters from a previous marriage, and has two grand children.

In his time he enjoys theatre, cinema, reading, football and cricket, but more actively he enjoys sailing on the Norfolk Broads, cycling, and playing endless games of tennis and football with his inexhaustible son.

Walter Ayles MP

AYLES, Walter Henry

Born at 26 Thorne Street, Wandsworth Road, Lambeth, London on 24th March 1879, Walter H Ayles was one of the five children of a railway porter Percy Walter Ayles and his wife Elizabeth (nee Little), whose wages were 18’s week. At the age of 13, having passed the seventh standard, he went o work at a cardboard-box factory, but was afterwards apprenticed at the engineering works of the London & South-Western Railway. When the men were locked out, young Ayles, then 18, being unwilling to blackleg, put in his notice.

After six months' unemployment, he got a job in a newsagent's shop, and in March1899 went to Birmingham and resumed his trade as an Engineer. He was for three years Birmingham district secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (AEU), and afterwards, when living at Bristol, was treasurer until 1921 of four local branches of that union. His AEU officership lasted 17 years

In 1904 he joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and as a Labour candidate was elected to the Birmingham Board of Guardians (Aston) 1904-1907,
In 1910 Ayles moved to Bristol to become Bristol ILP branch full time General Secretary
During the first 18 months from his appointment the branch quadrupled its activities and greatly increased its membership.
In 1912 he was elected for Easton ward of Bristol City Council, a seat he retained until 1922. In his first year on the council he wrote a pamphlet "Bristols Next Step" and in 1923 (relected 1923-, Ayles wrote an ILP booklet on “What a Socialist Town Council Would Do”
Ayles elected to the National Council of the I.L.P 1912-1927. He has also been for the last nine years chairman of the Bristol Labour Party.

Walter Ayles persistently and energetically opposed the World War One as he had the Boer War. Arrested as a conscientious objector, he remained in the hands of the military and prison authorities for two-and-a-half years, and was confined in seven different jails. He held office in the No-Conscription Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. In 1920 he helped found the No More War Movement (NMWM)

He was a local preacher for 20 years among the Methodists and Congregationalists, but after the war he joined the Society of Friends (Quakers). He has been for many years an active Rechabite.

Ayles stood for the parliamentary seat of Bristol East in 1918 but did not stand as he was in Prison and the ILP was short of funds. He stood for Bristol North in 1922 and was elected as Member of Parliament for Bristol North in 1923. Mr. Ayles was reputed the most effective speaker in the West of England. Election meetings at Bristol North have been described as occasions of an almost religious fervour. On the morning of polling day an ex-soldier slipped into the candidate's pocket a horseshoe which he had carried in his knapsack all through the war—and he had never received a scratch. When the numbers went up the soldier swore the horseshoe had done it. " No," said the new M.P., " it was the huge crowd of ex-Service men who worked for me."

He was Labour Member of Parliament for Bristol North 1923-1924 and 1929 1931
He fought Bristol North for a sventh time in 1935 and after defeat accepted that it was time to move on

He moved to Orpington near London and was soon elected as a Urban District Councillor in 1937

Elected 1945 for the parliamentary seat of Southall (which included Hayes) during a campaign which included attacks on Winston Churchill pre War record and calling for wide scale nationalisation.

Member of Parliament for Hayes & Harlington 1950- 1953

He retired to his house in Southall but planned to move to Scotland

His son was killed on active service during World War 2 (1943)

his first wife was Bertha Winifred Batt (m 1904) a Bristol ILP and Womens Freedom League member
His second wife was Jean Ogilvie Middleton (m1944)

Died 6 July 1953 at his home Kingussie, Invernesshire,Scotland

Walter Ayles was selected as the Uxbridge Divisional Labour candidate in April 1937 beating Humbert Beaumont (nominated by Hayes Labour Party), Ernest Hamblin (ASLEF) and James Eldridge (an Engineer). Beaumont went on to be MP for Sunderland. Ayles was nominated by Uxbridge Labour Party

Arthur Skeffington MP

SKEFFINGTON, Arthur Massey

Member of Parliament for Hayes and Harlington 1953 -1971
(By-election death of Walter Ayles). former 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.

Born 4th September 1908. the son of Arthur James Williams a pottery manfacturer's clerk and his wife Edith Massey. (In 1933 changed his name by depoll to Skeffington from Williams) Educated Streatham Grammar School In his youth he played for Surrey second eleven (life long member)and London University, B.Sc. Economics (Hons.). Teacher, economist and barrister (middle temple 1951).

Joined Labour Party 1923 and the Fabians in 1933
In 1937 Skeffington re-established the Battersea Parliament originally established by John Burns

In 1938 he visited the Soviet Union

Was not callled up because of "poor eyesight" and entered the Civil Service, initially at the Board of Trade, later Ministry of Supply, where he became assistant director in charge of the production of medical supplies.
Labour member of the London County Council 1951-1958 (Peckham)
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 (GMB). and a Justice of the Peace
Board of Trade 1941. Worked on "concentration of industry" policy under Professor G. C. Allen. 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 Building.
He fought hard against the Tories aboloition of the London County Council in 1963 but was always at odds with the Left wing within the Hayes Labour Party as well as the Communist Party
He was a short, stocky friendly man who generally wore a home grown flower in his button hole

Special mission to India for Labour Party 1961
Seven years Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel
Specially interested in education, land, law, local government.
For many years his home was Meopham, Kent
Married twice Sadie Isabel Belvin and later in 1952 to Sheila McKenzie, two sons. Hobbies: cricket (Surrey), bee-keeping, gardening (President of the Arboriculture Association), walking (Ramblers Association)
died 18th February 1971

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ramsay MacDonald at Harrow ILP

Harrow ILP

Ramsay MacDonald, Labour leader and Labour Prime Minister was a founder member of the Harrow branch of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in the late 1890's

The meeting was held over tea Hillcrest, Harrow View at the invitation of Mr Harry Phillips who was the endeavouring to establish a branch of the Independent labour Party in Harrow.

Mr Phillips nor Mr C.J. Peer then of Harrow Weald and now of Ickenham (who were also present) are likely to forget the circumstances, as they are still resident in the district. While Mr MacDonald and Mr Peer have pursued their ideals by different road, Mr Harry Phillips has renounced party politics entirely
September 1931 Uxbridge Advertiser

The Councillor Ossie Garvin "Roundabout"

Councillor Ossie Garvin Councillor

Ossie Garvin started life in the small town of Ashton, Makerfield, Lancashire he became a miner at aged 14, he hated the
minesand moved to Hayes to seek work at EMI in 1929, living the rest of his life in Church Road (with his wife Clara). 

Ossie Garvin joined the Labour Party in 1937 and became the leader of Hayes and Harlington Urban District Council in 1954. he was awarded an MBE in 1967. he was mayor of Hillingdon 1971-1972. he represented the Townfield ward when elected to Hillingdon council. 

Ossie was also a Justice of the Peace. he was also a strong and committed Catholic while Ossie continued to believe that the formation of Hillingdon was to the determent of the working people of Hayes his pet project was to increase council housing and a by pass for Hayes which was finally completed in 1992 he died aged 77 in June 1990

Councillor Ossie Garvin Councillor

Ossie Garvin started life in the small town of Ashton, Makerfield, Lancashire he became a miner at aged 14, he hated the
minesand moved to Hayes to seek work at EMI in 1929, living the rest of his life in Church Road (with his wife Clara). he joined the Labour Party in 1937 and became the leader of Hayes & Harlington Urban District Council in 1954. he was awarded an MBE in 1967. he was mayor of Hillingdon 1971-1972. he represented the Townfield ward when elected to Hillingdon council. he was also a Justice of the Peace. he was also a strong and committed Catholic while Ossie continued to believe that the formation of Hillingdon was to the determent of the working people of Hayes his pet project was to increase council housing and a by pass for Hayes which was finally completed in 1992 he died aged 77 in June 1990

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Frank Stanley - Hayes Communist Party

Frank Stanley
Stanley Frank.JPG
Frank Stanley was born in 1920 in Acton. His father was an active trade unionist and steward. At the end of life in his junior school, Frank won a scholarship to the local Grammar School. But, because his father was unemployed at the time and unable to afford the loss of wage to the family, or the cost of a uniform, he was unable to take his place and eventually left school at the age of 14.

In 1937 he joined the Young Communist League and in 1940 became a full member of the Communist Party, in the same year he married his wife Joan who he met through the YCL and with whom he would have two daughters.
From 1942-1946 he served in the R.E.M.E. (14th Army) for three and a half years in Burma and became a Warrant Officer. An instrument maker by trade, he started work at EMI Hayes in 1950 and became an Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) steward the following year. From 1959 he was AEU convenor and Secretary of the Joint Stewards Committee, negotiating on behalf of 6,000 workers at EMI.

In February 1962 a one day strike took place at EMI at which a number of scuffles with police broke out. The local MP was to state that, in Blythe Road, Hayes, the police "appeared to encourage them to drive at the pickets".
That March 700 AEU members marched from Hayes to Southall protesting at the Government imposed a"Pay Pause". They were addressed by Mr Sheeny
convenor at Alladin's factory. The local paper refers to a Wally Hannington, a retired Jarrow engineer being present on the march. This must be Wal Hannington (1896-1966), former AEU and National Unemployed Workers Movement organiser (See entry for Hannington).

Stanley was Chairman of West Middlesex District Committee of the Communist
Party and national chair of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and was a pallbearer at Willie Gallacher’s funeral in 1965.
Frank Stanley, lived in Hayes and was the Communist Party candidate for
Hayes and Harlington constituency on a number of occasions, in his first attempt in the General Election of October 1964, standing on a platform of:
1) Put yourself before the Monopolies and land speculators
2) Vote to abolish nuclear weapons
3) Break the American grip on our country
He also featured a campaign for a branch line linking Hayes with the Central or Piccadilly Underground line). Frank and the local Communists canvassed over 16,000 houses in Hayes during this election and John Gollan, Communist Party general secretary, spoke at his adoption meeting on Monday 14th September at the Civic Restaurant, Coldharbour Lane.

He was one of 36 Communist parlimentary candidates at the 1964 election and took part in the Communist Party Election rally at Hyde Park and march to the BBC to demand air time on Sunday, September 13th. He also appeared in the Communist Party’s election broadcast in the following General election.
Centre 42

Frank Stanley was also active in the promotion of the Trades Union Congress inspired Centre 42 arts programme in 1962 (named after the arts resolution number on the agenda at TUC Congress), Centre 42 "aimed to provide an outlet for cultural ambitions and entertainment of the ordinary person" The public face of which was Arnold Wesker and toured Britain visiting Hayes and Southall November 19th - 24th, 1962, this stop included the first presentation of "Enter Solly Gold" by Bernard Cops, a Youth Theatre production of "Hamlet", Music Theatre presented "The Soldiers Tale” and the "Nottingham Captain", a Jazz band, poetry reading, photograph exhibition, drawings, folk singing including Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger.
Frank moved on retirement to Banbury, Oxfordshire.
Michael Walker

Frank Foster - Hayes Communist Party

Frank Foster

Frank Foster was born in Bermondsey, South London July 1914, into an active socialist family, and joined the Labour Party in his youth.
He joined the Communist Party in 1939 and lived at South Road, Southall. He spent the war years at Fairey Aviation working as an engineer in the tool room, along with John Mansfield. 

He was involved with the "Propeller” (the Communist Party’s journal for aviation manufacturing workers) and was elected Fairey convenor of stewards for the engineering union.

Chairman of Hayes No: 3 AEU and member of Southall District Committee

He won much acclaim when he tried to improve production during the war and, according to John Mansfield, “turned over management” to such an extent that Stafford Cripps MP came down to investigate. His leadership led to the CP having a membership of 20 out of the 75 staff employed in the toolroom at Fairey. Later he moved to Feltham where he was also elected convenor. 

“He hardly ate a thing but smoked heavily”, said Peter Pink about him
Foster, along with Bob Good (EMI union convenor), was considered the driving force of the local Hayes Communist Party. Foster became Secretary of Hayes Communist Party in April 1943. He was very popular choice as full time West Middlesex Communist Party District Secretary in the 1950s. He regularly stood for election at local and national elections for the CP and was Hayes & Harlington parliamentary candidate in 1950, 1955 and 1959.

Foster was married with two children and ended up living on a barge on the Thames but died relatively young.

Along with John Mansfield probably the most popular and influential Hayes Communist

Michael Walker

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Councillor Percy Langton - Hayes Pioneer

Percy Langton
Hayes Labour Assocation pioneer
Gazette 17th March 1960

born 1889 at Hayes

Mr Percy Langton a Labour party pioneer in Hayes early in the centaury, was buried at East Finchley on Monday following an inquest into his death.

Mr Langton was 71 and had left the district many years ago, prior, even to his retirement to Brighton.

Mr Langton who was chairman of Hayes Urban District Council between 1914 and 1916 was amongst the advocates of the first council houses here and founded a Socialist Sunday School in the area during the 1920's.

He worked as political agent for Mr W.J. Brown when the now famous radio and television personality stood as a Labour candidate in the old Uxbridge constituency which then included Hayes.

Mr Langton was a correspondent for the Middlesex Advertiser more than 40 years ago and lived at one time in Angel Lane, Hayes.

An inquest was held because he fell and broke his leg before his death from bronchial pneumonia.

He was buried in the St Pancras Borough Cemetery at East Finchley

plot no 302 section 10j Grants 14705 (employed by St Pancras UDC?)
Percy Vere Osbourne Langton Married to Deborah