Arthur Henderson

Arthur Henderson

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Arthur Henderson, the son of a cotton spinner, was born in Glasgow on 13th September, 1863. His father, suffered long periods of unemployment, and so Arthur was forced to leave school at nine years old to find work as an errand boy in a photographer's shop. Arthur's wages became even more important to the family income after the death of his father in 1874.

When Arthur's mother married Robert Heath, the family moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. At the age of twelve Arthur found work at the Robert Stephenson locomotive works. Despite a ten hour day, Arthur attended evening classes in an effort to improve his education.

Henderson had been brought up as a staunch Congregationalist, but in 1879 he was converted by the preacher, Rodney Smith, to Methodism. He became a lay preacher and an active member of the Temperance Society. After finishing his apprenticeship at seventeen, Arthur Henderson moved to Southampton for a year and then returned to work as a iron moulder in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Henderson became an active trade unionist and formed a reading a debating society at the Stephenson locomotive works. In 1884 Henderson lost his job and was out of work for fourteen months. Henderson used this time to continue his education and to work as a lay preacher.

In 1892 Henderson was elected as a paid organiser of the Iron Founders Union. Henderson was one of the worker representatives on the North East Conciliation Board. A strong believer in arbitration and industrial co-operation, Henderson opposed the formation of the General Federation of Trade Unions as he believed it would increase the frequency of industrial disputes.

On 27th February 1900, representatives of all the socialist groups in Britain (the Independent Labour Party, the Social Democratic Federation and the Fabian Society, met with trade union leaders at the Congregational Memorial Hall in Farringdon Street. Arthur Henderson was one of the 129 delegates who decided to pass Hardie's motion to establish "a distinct Labour group in Parliament, who shall have their own whips, and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to cooperate with any party which for the time being may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour." To make this possible the Conference established a Labour Representation Committee (LRC).

In 1903 Henderson was elected treasurer of the LRC. He was opposed by members of the Independent Labour Party who objected to the fact that Henderson was a liberal rather than a socialist. In a by-election later that year, Henderson was elected as MP for Barnard Castle. Three years later Henderson chaired the conference at which the LRC was transformed into the Labour Party. The party's first Chairman was James Keir Hardie, but he was not very good with dealing with internal rivalries within the party, and in 1908 resigned from the post and Henderson became chairman.

Henderson did not have the full-support of the Labour Party and in 1910 he resigned as chairman.

Ramsay MacDonald was expected to become the new leader but recently his youngest son had died of diphtheria. Eight days later his mother also died. It was therefore decided that George Barnes should become chairman.A few months later Barnes wrote to MacDonald saying he did not want the chairmanship and was "only holding the fort". He continued, "I should say it is yours anytime".

Henderson also suggested that MacDonald should become chairman. As David Marquand, the author of Ramsay MacDonald (1977) pointed out: "It is unlikely that he did so out of a sudden access of personal affection, or even out of admiration for MacDonald's character and abilities. He wanted MacDonald as chairman, partly because he wanted to be party secretary himself and believed correctly that he would be a good one, partly because he believed - again correctly - that MacDonald was the only potential candidate capable of reconciling the ILP to the moderate line favoured by the unions.... MacDonald and Henderson differed in taste, temperament and political background, and it is doubtful if either ever liked the other. Henderson was frequently exasperated by MacDonald's moodiness, unpredictability and unwillingness to communicate; he may also have suspected, not altogether unreasonably, that MacDonald undervalued his talents and took him too much for granted. MacDonald, for his part, found Henderson unimaginative and domineering, and, in later years at any rate, was never quite sure of his support."

The 1910 General Election saw 40 Labour MPs elected to the House of Commons. Two months later, on 6th February, 1911, George Barnes sent a letter to the Labour Party announcing that he intended to resign as chairman. At the next meeting of MPs, Ramsay MacDonald was elected unopposed to replace Barnes. Henderson now became secretary. According to Philip Snowden, a bargain had been struck at the party conference the previous month, whereby MacDonald was to resign the secretaryship in Henderson's favour, in return for becoming chairman."

MacDonald was totally against Britain's involvement in the First World War. His views were shared by other Labour Party leaders such as James Keir Hardie, Philip Snowden, George Lansbury and Fred Jowett. Others in the party such as Arthur Henderson, George Barnes, Will Thorne and Ben Tillett believed that the movement should give total support to the war effort.

On 5th August, 1914, the parliamentary party voted to support the government's request for war credits of £100,000,000. Ramsay MacDonald immediately resigned the chairmanship of the Labour Party. He wrote in his diary: "I saw it was no use remaining as the Party was divided and nothing but futility could result. The Chairmanship was impossible. The men were not working, were not pulling together, there was enough jealously to spoil good feeling. The Party was no party in reality. It was sad, but glad to get out of harness." Arthur Henderson, once again, became the leader of the party.

In May 1915, Henderson became the first member of the Labour Party to hold a Cabinet post when Herbert Asquith invited him to join his coalition government. Bruce Glasier commented in his diary: "This is the first instance of a member of the Labour Party joining the government. Henderson is a clever, adroit, rather limited-minded man - domineering and a bit quarrelsome - vain and ambitious. He will prove a fairly capable official front-bench man, but will hardly command the support of organised Labour." Henderson was also President of the Board of Education (May, 1915 - October, 1916) and Paymaster General (October, 1916 - August, 1917), during the First World War.

After the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II in Russia, socialists in Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, United States and Italy called for a conference in a neutral country to see if the First World War could be brought to an end. Eventually, it was announced that the Stockholm Conference would take place in July 1917. Arthur Henderson was sent by David Lloyd-George to speak to Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the Provisional Government in Russia.

At a conference of the Labour Party held in London on 10th August, 1917, Henderson made a statement recommending that the Russian invitation to the Stockholm Conference should be accepted. Delegates voted 1,846,000 to 550,000 in favour of the proposal and it was decided to send Henderson and Ramsay MacDonald to the peace conference. However, under pressure from President Woodrow Wilson, the British government had changed his mind about the wisdom of the conference and refused to allow delegates to travel to Stockholm. As a result of this decision, Henderson resigned from the government.

Arthur Henderson disagreed with those politicians who believed Germany should be harshly treated after the First World War, and as a result of the nationalist fervour of the 1918 General Election, he lost his seat. He returned to the House of Commons the following year as MP for Widnes. Henderson became chief whip of the party but was defeated at the 1922 General Election.

Elected for East Newcastle at a by-election at two months later, he was defeated once again in the 1923 General Election. He returned at a by-election at Burnley in February 1924 and joined the government headed by Ramsay MacDonald as Home Secretary.

In October 1924 the MI5 intercepted a letter written by Grigory Zinoviev, chairman of the Comintern in the Soviet Union. The Zinoviev Letter urged British communists to promote revolution through acts of sedition. Vernon Kell, head of MI5 and Sir Basil Thomson head of Special Branch, told MacDonald that they were convinced that the letter was genuine.

It was agreed that the letter should be kept secret but someone leaked news of the letter to the Times and the Daily Mail. The letter was published in these newspapers four days before the 1924 General Election and contributed to the defeat of MacDonald. The Conservatives won 412 seats and formed the next government.

Following Labour's defeat in the 1924 General Election, Philip Snowden and other leading figures in the movement tried to persuade Henderson to stand against MacDonald as leader of the party. Henderson refused and once again became chief whip of the party where he tried to unite the party behind MacDonald's leadership. Henderson was also the main person responsible for Labour and the Nation, a pamphlet that attempted to clarify the political aims of the Labour Party.

After the 1929 General Election victory, Ramsay MacDonald appointed Henderson as his Foreign Secretary. In this post Henderson attempted to reduce political tensions in Europe. Diplomatic relations were re-established with the Soviet Union and Henderson gave his full support to the League of Nations by arguing for international arbitration, de-militarization and collective security.

In 1931 Philip Snowden, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, suggested that the Labour government should introduce new measures to balance the budget. This included a reduction in unemployment pay. Several ministers, including Henderson, George Lansbury and Joseph Clynes, refused to accept the cuts in benefits and resigned from office.

Ramsay MacDonald was angry that his Cabinet had voted against him and decided to resign. When he saw George V that night, he was persuaded to head a new coalition government that would include Conservative and Liberal leaders as well as Labour ministers. Most of the Labour Cabinet totally rejected the idea and only three, Jimmy Thomas, Philip Snowden and John Sankey agreed to join the new government.

In October, MacDonald called an election. The 1931 General Election was a disaster for the Labour Party with only 46 members winning their seats. Henderson lost his seat at Burnley but returned to the House of Commons at a by-election at Clay Cross in September 1933.

Over the next few years Henderson worked tirelessly for world peace. Between 1932 and 1935 he chaired the Geneva Disarmament Conference and in 1934 his work was recognised when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Arthur Henderson died in London on 20th October, 1935.

In my opinion our policy towards the new Government will be exactly the same as it was towards the old Government. We shall give them support when it is possible, but we shall oppose them when it is necessary. Doubtless their own loyal followers will give them support ; but we have a much greater responsibility devolving upon us than this. Upon our party rests the responsibility of keeping this Government up to the scratch of its own professions, and a further responsibility of shaping their policy in harmony with public necessity. Our marvellous successes at the polls have demonstrated that the Labour forces are the greatest factor in the present political situation. The wage-earners have at last declared themselves in favour of definite, united, independent political action, and we this morning can rejoice in an electoral triumph which, having regard to all the circumstances, can be safely pronounced phenomenal. We can congratulate ourselves today that a real live independent Labour Party, having its own chairman, its own deputy-chairman, and its own whips, is now an accomplished fact in British politics.

Henderson urged MacDonald to stand for the chairmanship. It is unlikely that he did so out of a sudden access of personal affection, or even out of admiration for MacDonald's character and abilities. MacDonald, for his part, found Henderson unimaginative and domineering, and, in later years at any rate, was never quite sure of his support.

It was inevitable that this great calamity (the First World War) should produce profound differences of opinion within the Labour Movement. These differences came to a head within the Parliamentary Labour Party at the very beginning of hostilities. It lies chiefly to the credit of two men, Mr. Henderson and Mr. MacDonald, that the issue which divided the Movement did not at the same time tears it asunder and wreck the political organisation which had been built up: their patience, common sense, and far-sightedness served to keep the party united, tolerant of the differences within its ranks, and resolute to prevent anything being said or done that would make it impossible for the leaders holding opposite opinions upon the War to be reconciled and to work together again for common causes when the delirium of war had passed.

This is the first instance of a member of the Labour Party joining the government. He will prove a fairly capable official front-bench man, but will hardly command the support of organised Labour.

For many months before Mr. Henderson's visit to Russia the British Labour Movement had been taking a great deal of interest in democratic diplomacy. The Russian Revolution had quickened its instinct for a, democratic settlement of the War, and discussions were taking place upon the proposal to hold an inter-allied conference of the Labour and Socialist Parties with the ultimate aim of re-establishing the unity of the International which had been shattered when war broke out. Matters had reached the stage, early in 1917, at which it was decided to issue invitations for such a conference when the leaders of the Russian Revolution, not yet at the point of passing into its second or Communist phase, when Kerensky was superseded by Lenin, announced their intention of calling all the Labour and Socialist Parties into conference with the object of framing a general working-class peace policy. This was the beginning of the famous "Stockholm Conference" controversy which produced such remarkable results. Among the orthodox statesmen responsible for the conduct of the War there was great opposition to the project of calling this international Labour and Socialist Conference. They were beginning to fear the vigorous self-assertion of organised Labour in the field of international diplomacy and were apprehensive of the future course of the revolutionary movement in Russia. The War Cabinet had taken the step of sending Mr. Henderson on a Government mission to Russia, with instructions to investigate the situation and to remain there as Ambassador if he felt the state of affairs warranted his taking control. As one who was bent on the resolute prosecution of the War until German militarism had been decisively overthrown, Mr. Henderson went to Russia with an open mind about the proposal to hold an international Labour and Socialist Conference on the lines indicated by the Russian revolutionary leaders, which had taken the place of the more limited conference proposed by the Allied Socialists. He had not committed himself. Unlike the Prime Minister, Air. Lloyd George, he was not then satisfied that the proposed Conference would serve the purpose anticipated: but he went to Russia with the knowledge that Mr. Lloyd George believed at that time that if the Conference were held it would be dangerous to allow it to assemble without representatives of French Socialism and British Labour.

In Russia, after a close examination of the situation from both the political and the military point of view, Mr. Henderson formed definite conclusions which were communicated as a matter of course to the War Cabinet and also to the national executive of the Labour Party. One conclusion was that it was eminently desirable to hold the proposed conference for the purpose of consultation on the question of democratic war aims but without binding resolutions. He returned home at the same time as a deputation of four Russian revolutionary representatives arrived in this country; and in the ensuing discussions it became clear that the Russians wanted the Conference to take binding decisions, and meant to hold the conference, with or without the participation of the British working-class leaders. Mr. Henderson accompanied a deputation of the national executive of the Labour Party which went to Paris to discuss the Russian invitation with the leaders of French Socialism, and at that meeting arrangements were made for the calling of the Conference at Stockholm, in September of that year (1917). To give effect to the decision as far as British Labour was concerned it was decided by the national executive to summon a special party conference.

At this conference, held in London on 10th August, 1917, Mr. Henderson made a full statement of the conclusions he had reached and of the considerations that had influenced him in recommending that the Russian invitation should be accepted. He insisted that the conference was to be held purely for purposes of consultation and that no obligatory decisions were to be taken. It was well understood by this time that the Government was opposed to the holding of the Stockholm Conference. For reasons that are still obscure, Mr. Lloyd George had changed his mind-and apparently he expected that Mr. Henderson would change his, with equal facility. Among his colleagues in the Labour Party there was a group which also expected Mr. Henderson to change his mind. But once made up, Mr. Henderson's mind is not easily changed when an issue of principle is concerned, and he firmly adhered to the view he had taken, repeating at the special party conference the advice he had given to the national executive that British Labour should participate in the Stockholm Conference on the prescribed conditions. By the Government and the press it was apparently expected that the special party conference would reject Mr. Henderson's advice. A resolution was actually proposed at the conference to the effect that no case had been made out for the holding of the Stockholm Conference : this being put as an amendment to the executive resolution proposing that the Russian invitation should be accepted on condition that the Conference should be consultative and not mandatory. Until Mr. Henderson made his statement and expressed his view the issue was in doubt, but there was no room to doubt thereafter: by 1,651,000 votes to 301,000 the amendment was rejected and the executive resolution adopted as a substantive motion by the overwhelming vote of 1,846,000 to 550,000.

As a result of the attitude he had taken up on this question Mr. Henderson was bitterly attacked. He was charged with having misled the party conference by withholding from it information regarding the alleged change of view on the Stockholm proposal held by the Russian revolutionary Government. This charge will not bear a moment's examination. He told the delegates at the special party conference that since his return from Russia there had been a change in the situation there, for the first Provisional Government had been replaced by the Administration formed by Kerensky. He also stated that the Belgian Socialists and American Labour had decided not to participate in the Stockholm Conference; that an influential group of French Parliamentary Socialists were opposed to the project; and that the Russian Socialists demanded a binding conference and not merely a consultation. But he nevertheless made it plain that he considered the Stockholm Conference would serve a useful purpose in showing clearly to the world - and to the German people in particular-what the Allied democracies conceived themselves to be fighting for. The divergence of policy between him and the War Cabinet thus became clear, and he resigned from the Government.

Many members of the Government, of whom I was one, were seriously disturbed at the lack of constructive policy displayed by the leaders of the Government. We were also conscious of a growing estrangement between MacDonald and the rest of the Party. He was increasingly mixing only with people who did not share the Labour outlook. This opposition, however, did not crystallise, because the one man who could have taken MacDonald's place, Arthur Henderson, was too loyal to lend himself to any action against his leader.

Instead of deciding on a policy and standing or falling by it, MacDonald and Snowden persuaded the Cabinet to agree to the appointment of an Economy Committee, under the chairmanship of Sir George May of the Prudential Insurance Company, with a majority of opponents of Labour on it. The result might have been anticipated. The proposals were directed to cutting the social services and particularly unemployment benefit. Their remedy for an economic crisis, one of the chief features of which was excess of commodities over effective demand, was to cut down the purchasing power of the masses. The majority of the Government refused to accept the cuts and it was on this issue that the Government broke up. Instead of resigning, MacDonald accepted a commission from the King to form a so-called 'National' Government.

On the Prime Minister's instructions I went to see Mr. Henderson at the Foreign Office this morning. I told him that the P.M was contemplating a Resignation Honours List; and would Mr. Henderson press him to give effect to the suggestions which had been made before, that Mr. Henderson should be given a Peerage? Mr Henderson said that the situation had now changed. A hard fight lay before the Labour Party, the more so as some of their erstwhile leaders had parted from them for the time being. He himself had served with the Party for over 40 years: for over 20 years he had been their Secretary: it was due to the Party that he occupied in public life the position which he did. At such a vital time in the fortunes of the Party it would need all the assistance it could get: responsible guidance within it would also be more needed than ever and his going to the House of Lords might impair the help & guidance which he could give them by remaining as he was. Also, Mrs. Henderson was away, and he would want to ask her: how soon did the P.M. want a reply? (I said tomorrow would do.) ... In a general conversation in which I said that we stood at the parting of the ways, Mr Henderson said that we must not take this too seriously. At the time of the war when Mr MacDonald left the Party he (Henderson) had kept it together and it was ready to receive Mr MacDonald back again. He was parting with the P.M. now in no spirit of anger or resentment; and as regards myself as I said goodbye, he observed "I could never quarrel with anyone whose wife came from Newcastle".

Arthur Henderson as Labour Leader

Arthur Henderson was the only member of the industrial working classes to lead a British political party. He was the only trade unionist to lead the Labour Party, and, as well, one of only two active Christians to do so. In the history of the Labour Party's first thirty years he seems to have a centrality shared by no other man. But what constitutes his centrality is a genuine problem, and both his contemporaries and his colleagues were aware of it. J. R. Clynes once wrote: “I would not class Mr. Henderson as a type, but as one quite unlike any other of his colleagues.” In this article I would like to test this judgement, to examine both Henderson's “typicality” as a historical figure in the labour movement, and the significance of his career as a labour leader.

The Labour Party

In 1900, Henderson was one of the 129 trade union and socialist delegates, who passed Keir Hardie’s motion to create the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), and in 1903, Henderson was elected treasurer of the LRC, and was also elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Barnard Castle following a by-election.

In 1906, the LRC changed its name to the Labour Party and won 29 seats in the general election of that year (which was a landslide victory for the Liberal Party).

In 1908, when Hardie resigned as Leader of the Labour Party, Henderson was elected to replace him, and was leader for two fairly quiet (from Labour’s perspective) years, before resigning in 1910.

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I didn't know a time when there wasn't a war because I spent all my time from the age of two or three to eight in a coal cellar really.

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Genealogy Resources for the Surname HENDERSON

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-- Can't find your last name listed? Suggest a surname to be added to the Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

Arthur Henderson - History

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

Ramsay Macdonald was not happy.

Labour’s decision in January 1917 to remain in Lloyd George’s new coalition was unacceptable. For Macdonald, this was no government of national unity. Asquith’s retreat into opposition with the majority of the Liberals, meant Labour was now in alliance with a Tory government, with Lloyd George nothing more than a figleaf leader.

Macdonald would have never allowed something like that to happen to the Labour party on his watch. Oh no.

For their part, the Tories weren’t mad keen on Ramsay Macdonald and his various anti-war groups either. The fall of the Russian Tsar in March 1917 had stoked Tory fears of the lower orders getting uppity, while a major bout of industrial unrest in May convinced many that a revolution was coming.

In their view, Macdonald was the archetypal leader of the malcontented masses. Celtic, working class, and not even a member of a golf club, for goodness sake. Admittedly, this last point wasn’t entirely his fault, since his local club had expelled him on account of of his opposition to the war. Then again, to lose a golf ball might be considered unlucky, but to lose a whole club looks like carelessness.

Lossiemouth Golf Club – no socialists, no pacifists, no dogs

Further anti-Macdonald feeling was stirred by Lord Milner, a Tory member of Lloyd George’s inner cabinet who had valuable experience of war, having helped start one in South Africa while he was high commissioner.

He claimed to have information that the Independent Labour party and Union of Democratic Control (UDC) were fomenting strikes to provoke a revolution.

And who just happened to have a leading role in both organisations? Why it was that sinister Mr Macdonald.

Lord Milner: the face of compassionate Conservatism

It didn’t stop there. Lord Robert Cecil advised the cabinet that Macdonald’s United Socialist Council had organised a June conference in Leeds. Cecil confidently asserted that this was going to be the starting point for a British revolution. It wasn’t.

Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (known as Lord Robert Cecil) was an ardent opponent of the proposed tax on names

But if the Tories were to be believed, Ramsay Macdonald was clearly Britain’s own Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

And while all this was being discussed, there at the cabinet table, shifting uncomfortably in his seat was Arthur Henderson, Labour leader and colleague of that same Ramsay Macdonald.

Meanwhile, the fate of Russia was casting a growing shadow over British politics. Even the military were keenly interested in developments. Specifically, they were nervous that the new Russian government might give up on fighting the war for such trivial politically expedient reasons as it was what the Russian people wanted.

This would potentially release hundreds of thousands of German troops from the eastern front to join their comrades in the west, where they could experience many of the same horrors but without the need to wear a scarf. These additional troops would likely have catastrophic consequences for the allies.

Concerned, various groups decided to send delegations to Russia to see what was going on for themselves, rather than just relying on extremely slow tweets, or telegrams as they were known then.

On the left, Ramsay Macdonald planned to lead a trio from the United Socialist Council in mid-June. Normally the government wouldn’t have given them passports, but Ramsay Macdonald’s opposition to Russia negotiating a separate peace with Germany (he favoured some form of international socialist love-in where class solidarity somehow ended the war) persuaded even the Tories that his trip might be of some use.

Macdonald and his colleagues packed their long johns, furry hats and copies of Marxism for Dummies and prepared to head east. Unfortunately, while the Tories had been persuaded, Havelock Wilson, the leader of the Sailors and Firemen’s union leader (later to incorporate all the Village People professions) had not.

Wilson was very, very pro-war. He was keen on total victory over the Germans, possibly because they kept torpedoing his members.

Publishers found Havelock Wilson’s contribution to their ‘Sailors and firemen’ calendar a bit disappointing

His union simply refused to take Macdonald on board, leaving him stuck in Britain – trapped by the very union men he’d been so reliant on when leading the party.

Next, the government decided to send someone to report on the situation in Russia. And who better than their resident leftie, or at least the closest thing they had, Arthur Henderson.

Although Henderson had been formally invited by the Russians in his capacity as a senior Labour politician, the cabinet were still eager for on some warm words to be whispered in the Russian ear to stop them unilaterally pulling out of the war.

Unlike Macdonald, Henderson actually made it to mother Russia. But then something strange and unexpected happened.

Instead of just dutifully giving the British line and hurrying home, Arthur Henderson looked and listened and then changed his mind.

Spending July in Russia made it clear to Henderson that the Russians weren’t in any condition to keep fighting. Britain’s hope that they might continue the war seemed impossible to the Labour leader. Another way had to be found.

Fortunately, another way presented itself, in the form of the Socialist International, which was planning a conference in Stockholm. This was intended to agree a workers’ peace that could be taken home to the socialists’ various countries and foisted on to their governments. This would obviously result in a new era of peace, harmony and rainbows and everyone could go home to a socialist utopia.

All this was very much in line with Ramsay Macdonald’s vision of an international love-in, and now offered Henderson an alternate way to end the war.

Back home on the government benches, Henderson’s shifting views were not going down well. Lloyd George sniped that Henderson seemed to have caught “revolutionary malaria,” which, much like “rockin’ pneumonia” and “Saturday night fever” had no known cure.

But nothing was going to deflect him now. This quiet and officious man had sprung to political life. Barely had he returned to Britain, than he was off again. This time to Paris, with Labour party colleagues and a couple of new chums from the Petrograd Soviet to plan the running order of the Stockholm conference.

Suspicion in the cabinet turned to anger. They could smell victory in the war (it smelt a lot like more dead soldiers) and were furiously opposed to the Stockholm conference.

On August 1, 1917 on Henderson’s return from France, he decided to pop in for a chat with the other chaps in cabinet.

He was prevented from entering the cabinet room and kept waiting outside. Inside, the rest of the cabinet discussed how outraged they were that Henderson had gone to Paris, that he wanted to go to Stockholm and that he was hanging out with that dreadful peacenik Ramsay Macdonald.

The doormat incident, as it came to be known (because he had to wait on the doormat, if you want to be charitable), left Henderson waiting for over an hour and marked a turning point for Labour, not that it was obvious at the time.

Ten days later, on August 10 1917, another special Labour conference came together. They voted 1,846,000 to 550,000 to go to Sweden, if only to find out if what they said about Swedish girls was true.

Unaware of the doormat incident, they had no idea they were effectively voting on Henderson’s future in cabinet, and Labour’s in government.

Because it meant he would be directly opposing the wishes of cabinet, the vote meant Henderson resigned on 11 th August 1917 – if treating him like a travelling brush salesman at the door hadn’t made him want to already.

On the face of it, little changed as a result. George Barnes had been covering for Henderson in his absence and was now elevated to take his place on a permanent basis.

But in reality, everything was different.

Labour’s most high profile pro-war leader had switched camps. The political centre of the party had shifted and Ramsay Macdonald’s anti-war group were no longer an isolated faction headed out of the Labour party.

Although unacknowledged at the time, this was a turning point for Labour in the war. By alienating Henderson and effectively driving him out of the government over Stockholm, Lloyd George and the cabinet had accidentally re-united the Labour party.

In the end, the government refused the party delegates passports to attend the Stockholm conference anyway.

Arthur Henderson

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has received word of the death of retiree Arthur Henderson on May 15 at Royal Megansett Nursing Home in Falmouth. He was 94.

Arthur was born on March 27 in Boston. He attended Dartmouth College, class of 1942, before joining the United States Army in 1942. He served as an Army major during World War II, including three years in the Pacific Campaign, before returning home in 1945 from Okinawa.

Arthur lived in Newton and Needham before moving to Falmouth in 1960 when he began his career at WHOI as procurement manager. He retired in 1985.

In addition to serving as a Town Meeting member and a member of the town’s personnel committee, Arthur was one of the founders of Falmouth Youth Hockey, for which he also served as a coach, fundraiser, program director, equipment manager, and on its board of governors.

He was a commodore of the Sandwich Yacht Club and a member of the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club, the National Purchasing Managers Association, and Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Falmouth.

Arthur leaves two daughters, Carol Amaral and her husband, Ted Amaral, of North Falmouth, and Pam Pagliaro and her husband, Mike Pagliaro, of Haverhill his son, Arthur T. Henderson Jr. and his wife, Lynda Henderson, of Falmouth six grandchildren, Maraya Henderson of Haverhill, Tazeena Amaral of Los Angeles, California, Jessica Miller of Haverhill, Jenna and Katelyn Henderson of Falmouth, and Shannon Henderson of Providence, Rhode Island and three great-grandchildren, Taylor Henderson, and Gabriella and Logan Miller.

He was predeceased by his wife, Patricia (Taylor) Henderson, who died in 2010.

A private burial was held on Wednesday, May 21.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Henderson’s memory may be made to Falmouth Youth Hockey, c/o Falmouth Ice Area, 9 Technology Park Dr., East Falmouth, MA 02536.

Some of the information for this obituary was taken from the Falmouth Enterprise.

Arthur Henderson - History

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

After the initial shock of Ramsay Macdonald’s government leaving the gold standard wore off, a tide of anger started to rise across the Labour party.

Just a few weeks earlier, amid cataclysmic warnings from the economists, the Labour government had torn itself apart in its efforts to pass the severe cuts demanded by the markets. All this to prevent Britain coming off the gold standard.

Now the replacement national government had passed the cuts and then come off gold anyway. And the economic sky hadn’t fallen in.

The economists coughed and looked at their shoes. The only sound was Keynes’ gently banging his head against his desk, muttering, ‘I bloody told them’.

‘Was that it?’ wondered the people of Labour, ‘Was that what we sacrificed our government for?’

First on the list, oddly, was new Labour leader Arthur Henderson.

Arthur Henderson models the 1931 beachwear collection

His crime? He had spoken in a conciliatory way in parliament in the debate on whether to come off the gold standard. And he supported the government’s eminently sensible decision. The fool.

Labour history uncut: “They didn’t tell us we could do that”

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

“We are like marooned sailors on a dreary island”

Not a Morrissey lyric, but the upbeat analysis of Ramsay Macdonald, leader of the new national government, as he pondered the position of the small group of Labour ministers who had stood with him.

They had reason to feel lonely. Macdonald was still prime minister, but when Parliament returned, his government benches would be dominated by Tories and Liberals. Across the floor of the house, former Labour friends and colleagues would glare at him in angry opposition.

Meanwhile, over at Transport House, headquarters of the Labour party, the Transport Union (T&G) and the TUC, the mood was punchy. Ernest Bevin of the T&G declared, “this is like the general strike, I’m prepared to put everything in.” Although if it was like the general strike, he’d then take everything out again after a week and experience total defeat.

On the 27 th August, two days after the fall of the Labour government, the party issued a manifesto. Something that clarified Labour’s position on the big issues.

It said, “We oppose the cuts.”

It then said, “Yes, the same cuts we were actually proposing two weeks ago. What? What? Shut up.”

Montagu Norman, governor of the Bank Of England – never trust a man whose names are the wrong way round

On the 28 th , the parliamentary party was due to meet to ratify the manifesto and elect a new leader.

As a meeting of the PLP, invites went to all Labour MPs. In a moment of supreme administrative awkwardness, this included Macdonald and the rest of the splitters

Labour history uncut: the moment Labour replaced the Liberals

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

Labour’s new constitution had radically reformed the party. Re-founded it, even. The party entered spring 1918 busily setting up new constituency organisations and selecting candidates.

The war may have still been going, but Britain had been more than 7 years without an election and millions of new voters had just been empowered by the recent extension of the franchise. As a result, all the parties were like a householder waiting for the builder – they knew a poll was on the way.

By April Labour had selected 115 candidates with 131 selections pending. At the start of the month there was a slight hitch when it appeared candidates might soon require a good grasp of German – the allies were forced back 60 miles in German spring offensive. But by May the tide had been turned back and everyone could pack away their Rosetta Stone CDs.

For the first time since the start of the war, thoughts across the parties began to turn to what might happen after victory.

To that end, in June 1919, Sidney Webb released his policy document “Labour and the New Social Order”. Although it didn’t exactly trouble the bestseller lists and the planned sequel, “Labour and the Chamber Of Secrets” was put on hold, it did set out a policy platform which would become the core of Labour manifestos for most of the next century.

This included Labour staples such as comprehensive free education, the establishment of separate legislatures for Scotland and Wales, generous provision of health services, nationalisation of mines, railways and electrical power, a commitment to full employment and a living wage, a major housebuilding programme and regular conflicts between the leadership and the left.

Sidney Webb teaches his newly-enfranchised wife how to vote

This was an important document for the party, but as the end of the war approached, Labour faced a decision even more important than the platform. They had to decide whether to fight the election as part of the coalition or to stand in opposition?

Labour history uncut: Labour’s first clause four moment

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

September 1917 was a new beginning for the Labour party. A month earlier, Arthur Henderson had experienced an unceremonious ejection from the wartime cabinet.

Free from having to toe the government line and support the latest innovations in war strategy aka new and efficient ways to squander human life (the battle of Passchendale was days away), Henderson was able to devote his time to the Labour party.

It provided an opportunity to bridge the gulf at the heart of the party which had pitted Arthur Henderson, master of the party machine and supporter of the war, against Ramsay Macdonald’s anti-war alliance of radicals and socialists.

Henderson and Macdonald make their way to the 1917 Tin Tin convention

Henderson was determined to make changes. In September 1917, he set up two sub-committees of the NEC. One was tasked with developing Labour’s alternative approach to ending the war and the other was established to reorganise the Labour party so that it was fit to fight the next election.

Yes, even in 1917 the modernisers were at work, creating the new Labour. Or Old New Labour. Or New Old Labour. Or something.

Both sub-committees included seats for the perennial favourites including Arthur Henderson, Ramsay Macdonald and the Fabians’ Beatrice and Sidney Webb. So basically it was just the same people, but every now and then they’d change the sign on the door. (more&hellip)

Labour history uncut: How Uncle Arthur’s trip to Russia saved the Labour party

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

Ramsay Macdonald was not happy.

Labour’s decision in January 1917 to remain in Lloyd George’s new coalition was unacceptable. For Macdonald, this was no government of national unity. Asquith’s retreat into opposition with the majority of the Liberals, meant Labour was now in alliance with a Tory government, with Lloyd George nothing more than a figleaf leader.

Macdonald would have never allowed something like that to happen to the Labour party on his watch. Oh no.

For their part, the Tories weren’t mad keen on Ramsay Macdonald and his various anti-war groups either. The fall of the Russian Tsar in March 1917 had stoked Tory fears of the lower orders getting uppity, while a major bout of industrial unrest in May convinced many that a revolution was coming.

In their view, Macdonald was the archetypal leader of the malcontented masses. Celtic, working class, and not even a member of a golf club, for goodness sake. Admittedly, this last point wasn’t entirely his fault, since his local club had expelled him on account of of his opposition to the war. Then again, to lose a golf ball might be considered unlucky, but to lose a whole club looks like carelessness.

Lossiemouth Golf Club – no socialists, no pacifists, no dogs

Further anti-Macdonald feeling was stirred by Lord Milner, a Tory member of Lloyd George’s inner cabinet who had valuable experience of war, having helped start one in South Africa while he was high commissioner.

Labour history uncut: Labour gets conscripted

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

“Conscription? Why would we need that? Who wouldn’t volunteer for a free trip to Europe and the chance to shoot foreigners?”

This was the comforting assurance given to Labour leaders, by prime minister Asquith as they trooped into the coalition government in May 1915. Surely a Liberal leader wouldn’t make a pledge and then do the absolute, exact opposite?

To be fair to Asquith, whatever he personally believed was largely irrelevant. Losses were outstripping recruitment at a staggering rate thanks to the British army’s patented “run through that withering hail of bullets and bombs would you old chap?” technique for conducting modern warfare.

At the start of the war, Britain was the only major European power to not have conscription in place. Having to compel your army to maintain an empire seemed a trifle arriviste, un-British and, frankly, the sort of thing the French would do.

Then again, as the war dragged on, it was clear more men were needed, and losing a major European war was definitely un-British too, and most certainly the sort of thing the French would do.

In the press, calls for conscription were growing in volume, with the Times leading the charge condemning Britain’s “great army of shirkers,” identifying, even then, the mortal threat to national well-being from a fifth column of skivers undermining the strivers.

At the end of September 1915, worries across the Labour movement that conscription might become reality prompted the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to summon a special meeting. Labour Parliamentarians and union officials were addressed by prime minister Asquith along with Lord Kitchener, the chief of staff and, quite literally the poster boy for World War One.

Lord Kitchener models Edwardian smart casual

Labour history uncut: Labour gets its first taste of government

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

It was the start of 1915 and something wasn’t quite right. Contrary to the confident predictions of the press, the government and most of the Labour party, Fritz had not been sent packing and the government began to regret printing quite so many invitations to “1915’s big victory conga through no man’s land”.

In fact, to the uninformed bystander everything seemed to have ground to a halt in a bloody stalemate of trench-based slaughter.
Fortunately, the British public were very well informed by a national press that was still insisting victory was just around the corner.

For example, when the British attacked Neuve Chapelle at the start of March the Daily Express headline boomed “German’s routed…great victory at Neuve Chapelle”.

Which was sort of true, if your idea of victory was the loss of 13,000 men to gain two pocketfuls of French gravel. The offensive advanced 2km and then was abandoned due to the catastrophic losses.

Who could resist this upbeat plea to join the fun at Neuve-Chapelle?

With successes like these, it was no wonder the worry-o-meter in government was swinging towards the red. No-one had planned for war that devoured resources at such a rate. Not only were more troops needed, demand for munitions was outstripping production.

Labour history uncut: Labour stands divided, but at least it’s still standing

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

When war was declared on 4 August 1914, the Labour party found itself divided into three broad groups: subscribers to Guns & Ammo, reluctant but resigned pragmatic supporters of the war, and outright opponents of the war (or “big pansies” as they were known to members of the first group).

Do you really need us to add the joke here? Good.

Fortunately, even though the party was only 14 years old, Labour knew its onions when it came to handling divisions. Although there had been one rather prominent resignation in the shape of Ramsay Macdonald’s August departure, this did not prove to be the start of a mass walkout.

War dissenters in general were tolerated and allowed to remain in the party, even retaining positions in any committees and NEC membership held.

In fact, even though Arthur Henderson had picked up the reins of leadership, he only took over the chairmanship of the PLP on a supposedly temporary basis. In the following months he regularly asked Macdonald to change his mind and come back, making him a mixtape of the special songs from their time together.

Macdonald and Henderson became the Gold Blend couple of the Labour party. “Will they or won’t they” was the number one topic of PLP tea room conversation. Finally, on 18 th November 1914, Macdonald ended the suspense. He declared “It’s not you, it’s me. No, actually it is you,” and then asked for all his CDs back.

One tub of mint choc chip later, the Labour party decided it was time to move on and confirmed Henderson as Labour’s leader.

Labour history uncut: It’s war!

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

By 1914, Labour’s internal politics were in a well-worn rut. The routine was familiar: socialists complained about the party’s moderation, moderates complained that the socialists were making the party unelectable and strikers up and down the nation didn’t care what either of them had to say, they had a nationwide wave of industrial unrest to organise.

Then, in summer 1914, Germany’s Kaiser did his holiday planning. France looked nice, but he didn’t want to go abroad. So what better solution than to make France part of Germany? He was a problem solver, that Kaiser.

Kaiser’s top tip – recycle those leftover Christmas baubles into a stylish and practical outfit

So he gathered a few hundred thousand of his closest friends and began stockpiling sun cream, beach towels and heavy artillery.

On 29th July, alarmed by the accumulation of passports and spiky hats in Germany, Keir Hardie represented British labour at a meeting of the International Socialist Bureau (contrary to the title, not a dispensary for people looking to hire or purchase a continental socialist). They “resolved unanimously that it shall be the duty of the workers of all nations concerned not only to continue but to further intensify their demonstrations against the war, for peace, and for the settlement of the Austro-Serbian conflict by international arbitration…”

The problem was that, for many working class Brits, workers sticking up for workers was all very well, but these guys were foreigners, so surely they didn’t count. There was much enthusiasm for nipping over to Germany to stick it to the sausage munchers.

Labour history uncut: bye bye uncle Arthur

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

“Is the parliamentary Labour party a failure?”

This was the upbeat title of a 1908 pamphlet from Ben Tillett. Presumably feeling he’d run out of capitalists to agitate against, he had turned his talents to stirring things up in his own party.

As well as being possibly the first #QTWTAIN in Labour’s political history, it was a cunning title on Tillett’s part. He had only to change the date on the front and he could re-publish it and still find an audience every year from then until, approximately, today.

Tillett’s central moan was that Labour was not doing enough to combat unemployment on account of the fact that its leaders were just re-purposed Liberals.

This was an outrageous accusation. Just because the majority of Labour’s MPs were either former Liberals or ex-union officials with strong Lib Lab sympathies, and just because Arthur Henderson, the new leader of the Labour party was a former Liberal agent and just because the party had actually agreed not to contest elections where a Liberal was standing and… ok, he had a point.

The Arthur Henderson paint-by-numbers kit proved surprisingly popular

There was quite a lot of common ground with the Liberals, but Labour inaction on unemployment was not policy – the truth was that party just didn’t have the votes in parliament to enforce its will.

They had tried. Labour had introduced the “right to work” bill in 1907 establishing every man’s right to employment. If work was not available the bill proposed that it was the responsibility of society to maintain the unemployed.

8th October – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) proposed that a system of Proportional Representation (PR) should be used in elections in Northern Ireland. [PR was introduced on 30 May 1973 for local government elections.]

Thursday 7 October 1971

Brian Faulkner, then Northern Ireland Prime Minister, met with Edward Heath, then British Prime Minister, and the British Cabinet. The meeting was held in London. An additional 1,500 British Army troops were sent to Northern Ireland.

Monday 8 October 1973

A group of Ulster Unionists who were opposed to sharing power with the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) called for the resignation of Brian Faulkner, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

Saturday 8 October 1977

Margaret Hearst (24), a member of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), was shot dead, while she was off duty, by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) at her parent’s home near Tynan, County Armagh.

Sunday 8 October 1978

A number of groups in Derry, including Sinn Féin (SF), held a march to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 5 October 1968 civil rights march. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) staged a counter demonstration attended by Loyalists and led by Ian Paisley. Trouble developed and 67 Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officers were injured in clashes with Loyalists. Two RUC officers were also injured in confrontations with Republicans

Thursday 8 October 1981

Lawrence Kennedy, an Independent councillor on Belfast Council, was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries as he stood in the entrance to Shamrock Social Club, Ardoyne, Belfast.

Tuesday 8 October 1985

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal overturned a conviction for murder against Dominic McGlinchey, formerly leader of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). [McGlinchey was later extradited back to the Republic of Ireland.]

Sunday 8 October 1989

UDR Members Arrested Twenty-eight members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) were arrested by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) as part of the Stevens inquiry into the leaking of security force documents to Loyalist paramilitary groups.

Tuesday 8 October 1991

The Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), set fire to a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) hall in Kircubbin, County Down. Later in the day the UFF in a statement said that in future members of the GAA would be considered ‘legitimate targets’. [The threat was condemned by Protestant church leaders and Unionist politicians. The next day the UFF issued another statement which said that it would only attack those GAA members with strong Republican links.]

Friday 8 October 1993

John Major, then British Prime Minister, delivered a speech to the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, England. Major stated that the only message he wanted from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was one indicating that the organisation was finished with its campaign of violence for good. Robin Eames (Dr), then Church of Ireland Primate, condemned the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) threat to the Catholic community. [Ten Catholic civilians had been killed since 8 August 1993 by the UFF and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).]

Tuesday 8 October 1996

In a statement issued from Dublin the Irish Republican Army (IRA) admitted responsibility for the bombs in Lisburn, County Antrim, on 7 October 1996.

Wednesday 8 October 1997

David Trimble, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), met Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, at Chequers in England. The Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABD) suspended a Loyalist band, the Cloughfern Young Conquerors’ Band, from taking part in further ABD marches. The disciplinary action followed disturbances caused by the band at a parade in Derry on 9 August 1997. David Andrews, then a Fianna Fáil (FF) Teachta Dála (TD member of Irish Parliament), was appointed as the new Irish Foreign Minister. The United States of America (USA) State Department decided to drop the Irish Republican Army (IRA) from its list of ‘terrorist’ organisations. One affect of this decision was to allow funds to be raised on behalf of the IRA. Unionists were critical of the decision.

Friday 8 October 1999

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) published a document entitled ‘Implementing the Agreement’ which discussed the extent to which the Belfast Agreement had been implemented and the extent to which the different parties recognised their obligations and complied with the requirements of the Agreement. David Trimble, then leader of the UUP, issued a statement on ‘the best way forward’. Bill Clinton, the President of the USA, gave a speech in Ottawa, Canada, during which he said:

“I spent an enormous amount of time trying to help the people in the land of my forebears in Northern Ireland get over 600 years of religious fights, and every time they make an agreement to do it, they’re like a couple of drunks walking out of the bar for the last time. When they get to the swinging door, they turn around and go back in and say, ‘I just can’t quite get there.’”

Ian Paisley, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), criticised the remarks. Later Clinton apologised for the use of an inappropriate metaphor.

Monday 8 October 2001

The Northern Ireland Assembly debated an Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) motion, and later a similar Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) motion, to exclude Sinn Féin (SF) ministers from the Executive. The motions were supported by Unionist members of the Assembly but were not supported by SF or the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). Due to a lack of cross-community support the two motions failed.

[Following the debates the UUP announced that its three ministers were withdrawing from the Executive. The UUP also said that the three ministers would formally resign early next week (perhaps Monday 15 October 2001). John Reid, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, would have seven days in which to decide what action to take. He could decide to call for a review of the Good Friday Agreement which would involve an indefinite suspension of the power-sharing government. Alternatively, and less likely, he could opt for fresh Assembly elections.]

Johnny Adair announced that he would not be continuing with a judicial review (at the High Court in Belfast) of the decision to keep him in prison. Adair, then a leader of the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) a cover name (pseudonym) used by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), was originally released on licence in 1999 but was re-arrested and returned to prison by the order of Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, on 22 August 2000.

Remembering all innocent victims of the Troubles

Today is the anniversary of the death of the following people killed as a results of the conflict in Northern Ireland

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Thomas Campbell

To the innocent on the list – Your memory will live forever

There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, but nothing worth killing for.

11 People lost their lives on the 8th October between 1974 – 1989

8th October 1974

Arthur Henderson, (31)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb in abandoned car, West Street, Stewartstown, County Tyrone.

8th October 1975

Richard McCann, (32)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Died six weeks after being shot at Grove Filling Station, Shore Road, Skegoneill, Belfast.

8th October 1976

Arthur McKay, (43)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by booby trap bomb in abandoned van while on Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) patrol, Gortmacrane, near Kilrea, County Derry.

8th October 1976

Robert Hamilton, (25)

Status: Prison Officer (PO),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot outside his home, Governor Road, Derry.

8th October 1977

Margaret Hearst, (24)

Status: Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Shot in her mobile home, situated in the garden of her parents’ home, Doogary, Tynan, County Armagh.

8th October 1979
Mark McGrann, (24)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)
Shot while walking along East Bridge Street, at the junction with Laganbank Road, Belfast.

8th October 1979
Paul Wright, (21) nfNI
Status: British Army (BA),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Undercover British Army (BA) member. Shot while driving civilian type car along Falls Road, Belfast.

8th October 1981

Larry Kennedy, (35)

Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Independent Councillor. Shot while standing in entrance foyer at Shamrock Social Club, Ardoyne, Belfast.

08 October 1982

Eamon Quinn, (20)

Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: non-specific Loyalist group (LOY)
Found shot at his flat, Damascus Street, Belfast.

8th October 1984
Melvin Simpson, (40)

Status: ex-Ulster Defence Regiment (xUDR),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot at his workplace, building site, Ann Street, Dungannon, County Tyrone.

8th October 1989

Alwyn Harris, (51)

Status: Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC),

Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Off duty. Killed by booby trap bomb attached to his car outside his home, Dalboyne Gardens, Lisburn, County Antrim.

This is simply the story of a boy trying to grow up, survive, thrive, have fun & discover himself against a backdrop of events that might best be described as ‘explosive’, captivating & shocking the world for thirty long years.


The TBPL collection includes 3,500+ photographs, some dating back to the mid-1800s. Photographs are available for use at the Brodie Resource Library or online through the Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History. Copyright restrictions may apply.

The TBPL collection also includes newspapers on microfilm from 1875 to the present (Fort William and Port Arthur) along with Henderson City Directories (1884-2004), City Phonebooks, the Fort William Newspaper Index (1933-1970), and newspaper clippings and local pamphlet material from the late 1950s to 1989. Full text of these materials can be used at the Brodie Resource Library. Some newspaper indexes are also available online through the Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History.

The Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History is a virtual gallery of historic photographs, books, drawings and artifacts from the libraries and museums of Northwestern Ontario. The collection is managed by the Thunder Bay Public Library and hosted by OurDigitalWorld. It provides access (full text and/or index records) to the historical digital collections of libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, government agencies, and private collections from across Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Canada. Copyright restrictions may apply. Questions or comments about the database as part of the Thunder Bay Public Library's online collection will be addressed on an individual basis in accordance with TBPL Policies.

World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project

The effects of World War One could be felt every day in Fort William and Port Arthur communities between 1914 and 1918. The local newspapers printed Victory Loan advertisements, editorial reports, and stories on an almost daily basis. While the impact of World War One is felt differently today, it is no less significant than it was 100 years ago. Over the next four years, the World War One - Thunder Bay Centennial will commemorate this time in history through stories, displays, exhibits, and more.

Indexes & Directories

These indexes cover notices for births, marriages, and deaths as published by the Thunder Bay Sentinel, Fort William Daily Times Journal, Port Arthur News-Chronicle, or the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal.Full text articles can be viewed on microfilm at the Brodie Resource Library.

These indexes cover notices for birth, marriage, news, retirements, anniversaries, divorce, military records and more as published in the Port Arthur Daily News, Port Arthur News-Chronicle or the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal. Full text articles can be viewed on microfilm at the Brodie Resource Library.

  • Fort William Daily Times Journal:
  • Port Arthur Daily News / News-Chronicle: (Also included: war references from Aug-Dec 1914)
  • Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal:

Sponsorship of many of the above indexes and collections is generously provided by:

Map Collection

Ontario Genealogical Society Collection

The Thunder Bay branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society houses their library of resources at the Brodie Resource Library for the benefit of genealogy enthusiasts. The OGS Collection is detailed in this Holdings Report and includes:

  • Key to the Ancient Parish Registers of England and Wales (016.9293 BUR)
  • Checklist of Parish Registers 1986: Government of Canada (Brodie Resource Library - Reference Services)
  • Inventory of Cemeteries in Ontario (OGS collection)
  • Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 (Ancestry Library Edition)
  • Ontario Marriage Notices (929.3713 WIL)
  • County Marriage Registers of Ontario (OGS collection)
  • Marriage Notices of Ontario (OGS collection)
  • Marriage Bonds of Ontario: 1803-1834 (929.3717 WIL)
  • Death Notices of Ontario (929.3717 REI)
  • Northwestern Ontario Burial Index (OGS collection)
  • City of Thunder Bay Burial Index (OGS collection)
  • Birth, Marriage and Death Notices extracted from the Fort William Daily Times Journal: January 1, 1900 - December 31, 1912 (929.371312 BIR)
  • Stanley Hill Cemetery 1901-2001: an illustrated history (929.50971312 NIC)
  • Obituary Index (Brodie Resource Library - Reference Services)
  • OGS Census Files (OGS collection)
  • Census Records for the Counties of Canada West for the Years 1851-1861 (OGS collection)

Find what you're looking for

We acknowledge that the City of Thunder Bay has been built on the traditional territory of Fort William First Nation, signatory to the Robinson Superior Treaty of 1850. We also recognize the contributions made to our community by the Métis people.

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