Friday, February 21, 2014

Labour Party Housing Leaflet 1923

Labour Party Housing leaflet 1923


will provide


There is a shortage of 800,000 houses

The Tories will not and cannot give you the houses you need because they rely on "private enterprise"
which means that if you want a house now you must pay extortionate rents.

Labour aims at providing everybody with good houses at a reasonable rents.

Labour stands for the Abolition of all slums; for town planning; for labour saving houses for the housewife; for healthy, open air surroundings; for reasonable rents

Labour stands four square against Tory policy pf "Hutches for heroes", against unhealthy streets and towns; against profiteering in rents

Why does the Tory Government shirk that duty ?

Because it is in the power of the landlords and their friends - people who want to line their own pockets at the expense of the workers

Bradford "Locarno" Dance Hall - Colour Bar 1961 -1962

Daily Worker Report

Bradford's colour bar ballroom, the mecca owned Locarno, will be the scene of a mass protest picket on Saturday night ( 11th November 1961) by young trade unionists and students.

Protests by local clergymen and councillors have failed to get the management to withdraw its ban on coloured men not accompanied by a partner from entering the dance hall.

Mr Alan Boyce, the ballroom manager has confirmed that the ruling applied only to coloured people and power to drop it was at his discretion.

Boyce also stated that he was only concerned with "protecting our womenfolk"

Leeds University students representating Labour, communist, liberal, baptist Methodist and African societies are supporting the picket, which starts at 7:30pm. Leeds participants are urged to catch the 6.36 pm Bradford train from Central station

12th November 500 strong picket by students, trade unionists, Labour party, socialists and Young Communists of the Locarno with posters stating "Beat racialism now" and "Outlaw the colour bar"

According to the Daily Worker the local Pakistani community joined the picket to express support. Mr M. Hussain a clerk in a textile mill said "unless the colour bar is stopped here it will spread"

Daily worker 8 November 1961

The Musicians Union stated 17th November 1961 that the policy of Mecca owned Locarno was "one of which Dr Verwoerd (South Africa apartheid President) and the late Adolf Hitler would be proud"

Bradford Trades Council Secretary Councillor Jim Backhouse stated " We are calling upon the ballroom management to treat all its clients alike"

In reply to the local Students Union Mr C. L. Heimann of Mecca stated "nature has made us different"

Students voted 230 - 4 to reaffirm their opposition to racial discrimination and condemning the Mecca colour bar

Bradford and Leeds Students (Leeds University Anti Racialist Committee) were at the forefront of the campaign against the Colour bar.

A planned student march in Bradford against the Colour bar was banned by the Police Chief Constable as was demonstrations close to the Locarno. The Police also issued an order restricting city centre processions to 20 people. Students were threatened by the police with £50 fines or three months in prison if their was a breach in the order by Police Supt P E Keep.

Keith Jones Press Secretary of Students Anti Racialist Committee " This is a complete infringement of our democratic right to demonstrate against the evils of the colour bar"

The first meeting of West Riding Co-ordinating Committee against racial discrimination was held on 22nd November 1961 at 40 St Paul's Road, Bradford


Notes UPDATED 2014

A demonstration of over 150 took place on Saturday 25th November 1961 in Bradford City Centre (instead of only 20 demonstrators demanded by Police Chief Constable Harry Ambler.)

15,000 "NO DISCRIMINATION" leaflets were handed out. 

Leeds Student Union played a key role Keith Jones leader of the student group (Students Anti Racialist Committee) stated Our slogan "One race - The human race". 

Mr M. Hussein of the Pakistan Peoples association was also a speaker at the rally "If we are not allowed to mix with you, how will we ever get to understand one another" and Bill Moore of the Communist Party stated the restrictions demanded by the Chief Constable were not only a menace to those fighting racialism but were aimed at all people seeking to express progressive opinions


On the 13th January 1962 The Musicians Union introduced a boycott and "Blacked" the Locarno. This was key to the final victory

By the 30th January 1962 the Colour Bar at Bradford's Locarno had been reversed.

The "Mecca" Locarno at Bradford had been built in 1960 on Manningham Lane, Bradford
. Built at a cost £500,000 to build opened September 1961 and held 2,500 dancers.


 Manchester Colour Bar 1949

Colour bar workless.

Prejudice keeps them idle

3,000 coloured people in Manchester on being kept idle by a colour bar imposed by certain employers

Hurt and bewildered by it all yesterday was Mr O.A.Thomas a West African

As I was speaking to him, he pours took out his passport and read out cynically

In the name of his Majesty or those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford him every assistance and protection

He snapped a shot told me that the statement was "false and incorrect"

Really suffering

Four months ago, has applied for a job as assistant stoker at the Barton Power House where the resident engineer promised to check with the police or the general conduct.

A fortnight ago, without hearing from the engineer, he took up for references which included two from his MP and the Chief Constable of Manchester.

After numerous diversions he was informed that management would not appreciate his presence on the job but a labouring job might be found with an outside gang

Mr Thomas who came to England in 1936 and served in the merchant Navy during the war told me " Manchester's coloured people are really suffering as a result of this stupid colour bar

Daily worker Saturday 9th of April 1949

National "Coalition" Government 1932 demands workers take pay cuts

National Government "Economy Drive" 1932

Boss on the workers back and Ramsay MacDonald as a stable boy carrying out the orders of the bosses

Ramsay MacDonald had split from Labour in 1931 and established a National Government with Conservative Party support until 1935

Daily Worker cartoon by Bejay 1932

People's March for Jobs 1981 - Jack Charlton (Sheffield Wednesday FC)


Jack Charlton showing his support (and Sheffield Wednesday FC) for the TUC 1981 People's March for Jobs.

During this period a number of football clubs (mainly in the North) introduced unemployed or unwaged concessionary admission. A number of non league clubs still continue to offer unwaged concessionary admission to games

Labour and Clarion Swimming Club History

National Clarion Swimming Club

Much has been written about the Clarion Movement's cycling clubs, rambling clubs and choir's, but very little on it's other clubs including the National Clarion Swimming Club which was established in 1905.

Above is a picture of 1908 Clarion swimming Champions (believe it is Blackburn ?) and  Bradford Clarion Swimming Club women lifesavers (now lifeguards) dated 1907, (note the Clarion logo on the swimsuit) .

Swimming would have been a very rare experience for working class people at the turn of the last century, especially women and as a consequences local newspapers frequently record the tragic stories of young working class children drowning in rivers and canals.

The other picture is of a silver national Clarion Swimming Club medal awarded in 1908 (which is now in the People's History Museum).

Bradford was the founding City of the Independent Labour Party and many early municipal enterprises such as free school meals were pioneered in Bradford

Wapping Road School, built in 1877, was a ‘Board School’ under Bradford's very own W.E. Forster's Education Act of 1870. 

More than a century ago, the school created national and international headlines with the help of education Clarion and ILP supporters campaigners Margaret and Rachel McMillan and their push to improve the health and education of working class. 

Their influence helped bring the country’s first school swimming pool to Wapping Road school and nearby Green Lane School in 1899. 

Above is a picture of Manningham swimming pool

see also Bradford Cinderella Club.


Newcastle - upon- Tyne and London had Clarion Swimming Clubs as early as 1896 and Oldham, Liverpool and Bradford led the way in the North of England. Aberdeen and Glasgow Clarion Swimming Clubs were the first to be formed in Scotland.

By the early years of the last century there were enough Clarion Swimming Clubs to form a National Swimming Club in 1905, with its own silk woven badge to sew on swimming costumes. 

A national Clarion Swimming Team went on to compete abroad in the 1920's as part of the International Sports movement.

At the Clarion Easter meet in York 1932 Clarion swimming events were held at St George's Baths where Levenshulme Clarion swimming Club beat Oldham Clarion Swimmimg Club for the team championship. 

The Ladies breast stroke was won by Miss Elwood of York Clarion swimming Club with Miss Priestley, Leeds Clarion swimming Club second.

Ladies freestyle was won by Miss Priestley, with Miss Crowther of Halifax Clarion swimming Club second. 

The Men's breast stroke was by Mr E. Johnson of Oldham Levenshume Clarion swimming Club, with Mr F. Johnson Oldham Clarion second. Gents free style was won by E Johnson with H. Hughill , Bradford Clarion swimmig Club second

A Mitcham Clarion Swimming Club (South London)  is still in operation but it is unclear if it has a historical link.

Also Pendlebury Clarion Swimming Club circa February 1905

Michael Walker
Bermondsey Labour Party Swimming Club 1932 (top pictured) represented at the Vienna Workers Sport Olympiad

London Clarion Swimming Club

A New Venture

18th June 1937 from the Tribune

A new venture which should interest your readers in London, is the Clarion Swimming Club. This group now have well over a 100 members, who meet every .Wednesday at the Haggerston Swimming Baths.

They have the use of a clubroom which is attached to the bath, and here, from 8 to 10.15 p.m. comrades can dance, play ping-pong or darts, and amuse themselves in many other ways.

From 8.30 to 9.30 they, swim, and even have instructors to teach the unenlightened.

The whole evening costs only 6d., which compares very favourably with ordinary swimming, I understand that all comrades living reasonably near are invited to go along on a Wednesday evening to try it—if they cannot swim, the clubroom is at their disposal.

Stoke Newington. Sam Roth.

Clarion Cup Team winners 1898 - S. Weeks

Monday, February 17, 2014

Celtic Green Brigade Circa 1935 - Politics & Sport

Frank Pitcairn reporting on the 1935 Scottish Hunger March reported that prior to the quarter final Cup game between Aberdeen and Glasgow Celtic held on 9th March 1935 in front of a crowd of over 40,000 at Pittodrie.

The bourgeois of Aberdeen said that their would not be much interest in the start of the Hunger March because of the Cup Tie in the City  " football would take workers minds off politics"

"The thing that jolted them worse than anything else was the sight of the Celtic boys up for the cup standing along the pavements shouting "Red Front" as they marched past"

Daily Worker 16th March 1935
Ease Fife United Mineworkers of Scotland  was a very successful amateur team organised by the "Red" Miners union the United Mineworkers of Scotland (picture of the East Fife UMS team 1935)


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Belgium Refugees WW1 - Hayes

Belgium Refugees 

Hayes Belgium Relief Fund
The first immigrants

Hayes Belgium Relief Fund was established at a public meeting 23rd October 1914, after the Emergency Committee had received a letter from Local Government Board asking Hayes to offer hospitality to Belgium refugees.

At the outset of World War One and the German invasion , Belgium refugees had flocked to Britain (an estimated 500,000 in total).

Many Belgium refugees seem to have been progressed initially through the Earls Court Camp in London.
The Hayes Committee looked after 100 families, many of the women and children, but also wounded Belgium soldiers. 
Some refugees we know were from the Louvain region of Belgium, an area and City destroyed by the German Army in retaliation for resistance to occupation.

Initially, the committee tried to secure accommodation for the refugees at White Hall, Hayes End, but Hearne House and Lodge were secured, later The Gables at Wood End and Mr Drenon (Labour Councillor) took refugees into his home at Barra Hall.

Some of the younger Belgium men secured work in the Hayes factories, but work at the Army Motor Works was said to be "irregular".
Despite a national shortage of Labour, pay and conditions for the Belgium workers seem to have been bad, local employers taking the opportunity to cut pay rates. Belgium workers who protested at poor conditions were threatened with being conscripted into the Belgium Army.

A number of local Belgium workers in the factories joined the Workers Union, who had appointed a national Belgium full time officer, Jan Chapelle (a well know Belgium trade union leader) to look after their interests. 

The committee raised money by local collections and Belgium flag days

Hayes Belgium Relief Fund Committee:

Dr W. D. Hopkins, Cllr Juan Drenon JP, Mrs Gunton, Mrs Hudson, Mrs Ellis, Mrs Ritchings, Rev Mr E.R Hudson, Mr I. Ellis, Mr J. Hibbert, Mr H.W. Hunt, Mr E. Tucker, Mr E. J. Nyblom, Mr E. Window
Hayes Belgium Relief

Committee Secretaries:
Mr Montague Rose, The Bryan, Keith Road, Mr W. Herbert Rhodes 17, Cranmer Road

Rhodes was a Labour Councillor as was Juan Drenon
Local branch Secretary of the Workers Union was Douglas Page

Picture Top
Belgium monument on the embankment in tribute of the Belgium refugees, unveiled 12 October 1920

Hayes and World War One - WW1

It is clear despite a significant minority of the Labour Party opposing World War One, The vast majority of the British Labour Party ended up supporting the War, and it seems this division was reflected locally in Hayes, West Middlesex.

While there may have been concerns about the War by Hayes Labour Association founder Percy Langton, accusing the “gutter press ” of having “done more to bring about this war than the Kaiser.”

The German invasion of neutral Belgium and abuses of Belgium civilians had swung support to the pro War lobby.

Former Hayes Urban District Labour Councillor, Henry Palmer, who had by 1915 emigrated to Canada stated

“We are fighting a just and right war and one that was forced on us to keep our honor we were bound to help the weak and those of us who have to give up our sons to go, know that if they never come back they died doing their duty for their country. Both of my sons have gone and if they never come back I say God’s will be done

Henry Palmer; Stratford Canada December 1915

Henry Palmer, like so many paid a heavy price for his beliefs, both his sons were killed by the end of the War. William Alfred Palmer Eastern Ontario Reg (Killed 26th April 1916 Woods Cemetery, Belgium). Lieutenant Henry Arthur Palmer Central Ontario Reg (killed 30th September 1918 Cantimpre Canadian Cemetery, Nord France)

Leanold W Spencer Uxbridge ILP Secretary (Belmont Road,Uxbridge) was also killed, 1st September 1915. shot in head aged just 26. He had been a founder member of Uxbridge Labour Party and was the first man to motor cycle up Snowdon, Wales

L.W Spencers, Regiment took major loses and he underwent terrible ordeal suffer from hunger, thirst, sleepless nights and 7 months on constant bombardment, he slept with his motorcycle by his side doing his Christian socialist duty
13th Kensington Battalion Cyclist Orderly he is buried at Longuenesse St Omer

At Uxbridge, Labour Councillor Robert Hudson got caught up with the jingoism of the day in stating that “We are all British before Party”

A more main stream Labour Party view of the War was stated by Labour Perspective Parliamentary Candidate for Uxbridge Parliamentary Division (which included Hayes) Harry Gosling (Later TGWU President) at a meeting in Harefield in late1918

“I hate war and militarism but I would object to anyone taking a liberty with me (?) I believe country was absolutely right in the action it took, but it need not mean that they should go on fighting for ever and ever, the war must be settled”

In Hayes the immediate impact of the War was improved wages offered by the factory owners, (and huge numbers of women rushed to new jobs - some soilders wrote to complain about their pay compared to these young women's) as the factories switched from consumer goods to War goods. This no doubt also muffled opposition to the War in Hayes

As the impact of the War hit home, food prices rocketed and rents often doubled, there was growing local support for those that protested, such as the local National Union of Railwaymen’s branches protest at price of food “ which they viewed with alarm and extreme dissatisfaction the present high prices of food “

On Rent’s, Labour Councillor Juan Drenon was at the forefront of the campaign to expose “profiteering” by Private Landlords. It was stated that “Rents in 1915 were 3s above that charged pre-War”

Councillor Drenon in a blistering attack in July 1915 stated,

"The patriotism of many so called patriots, starts and ends with their pockets. It was the same with the coal owners who grew fat out of the country’s needs and risk the country’s safety rather than give the colliers a living wage”

By November 1915, Councillor Drenon was so concerned about the situation with regard to rents that he called for the establishment of a Tenants Defense League similar to that established elsewhere.

Councillor Drenon had also taken into his home a number of Belgium refugees (500,000 nationally), the Belgium's being the first wave if immigrants to arrive in Hayes looking for work in the Munition factories.

Hayes Belgium Relief Fund was established by Hayes Labour Councillor Mr Herbert Rhodes on October 23rd 1914 and its primary purpose was care for the Belgium refugees, especially mothers and children. by 1916 it was looking after one hundred families in Hayes alone.
 (a number of the refugees was from Louvain, Belgium). Hayes also saw a regular Belgium Flag Day to raise money

Elsewhere, in West Middlesex the harsh treatment and eviction of those with husbands and sons in the Armed Forces was typified by the heartless eviction of Mr and Mrs Fort aged 73 and 69 respectively, residing at Copthall Farm, Ickenham, who had five out of six sons in the army and one son in a restricted occupation. This eviction was not uncommon and showed the scant regard business showed to the poor during the War.

Little wonder, that the Hayes Labour Party was supportive of the principle of £1 a week for soldiers and their dependents .

In the early part of 1918 the Thames & Medway region of the National Amalgamated Union of Labour organised a delegation to visit the troops in the front line, This delegation included locally Hayes Labour Councillor Woodward. Woodward stated in Febuary 1918 that

“The impression the trip made upon him, an impression that was shared by every member of the NAUL party was the fighting must continue until a clean and lasting peace is assured”

“The only complaint I heard from Tommy was about the smallness of there pay… compared to that earned in the munitions factories”.

When conscription was introduced, a local Uxbridge branch of the No Conscription was established, primarily consisting of ILP members and included Norman Cox (Hillingdon)and Adam Priestley (Northwood). Most conscientious objectors received short shrift and were handed over to the military authorities and ultimately prison.

At Harrow School, the school boys organised a strike in order to remove a Teacher, Mr Sutherland from employment because he was a conscientious objector

In total 16,000 men refused to fight of whom most were pacifists, 7,000 acted as stretcher bearers and suffered high casualty rates.

A unique letter home from Reginald Hamaton of Hillingdon who was in the Army of Occupation in (Cologne) Germany in January 1919, shines a small light on the situation in Germany.

“We are very lucky here as we are in Jerry’s peace time barracks, and have nice single cots, pillows, and soft beds, plenty of coal for the fire, “bags” of electric light, etc. We are not allowed to walk or talk with the civilian population…..I suppose this is the place where they make the Eau de Cologne, but I have not seen any about. Of course, I cannot speak any German, and it is hard to understand the people, but they are very nice and treat us very good – far better than I thought would be the case. It is funny to see Jerry’s bicycles with the patent spilings for tyres. As you know, he has no rubber, and his motor lorries have iron tyres, and it makes the people look when they see all ours using rubber. Another thing they are very short of soap”.

At the end of the War, what is of note is the refusal of the Labour councillors and therefore the Hayes UDC to mark or participate in the victory and peace celebrations carried out by nearly every other council in the country.


Belgium refugees monument, South Bank, London unvailed 12 October 1920

Belgium's can therefore claim to be the fist immigrants to Hayes (excluding people from Wales and North of England)

German atrocities in Belgium and France as well as raids on Scarborough and Hartlepool, Zeppelin raids all helped populate anti German feeling

Hayes Urban District Council is very unusual in refusing to  officially celebrate victory in WW1 on the grounds of cost and glorifying war