Author Topic: A sidelight on Wanstead Flats history, and the role of Arnold Hills.  (Read 2352 times)

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Offline jplant1

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A sidelight on Wanstead Flats history, and the role of Arnold Hills. Found in an Australian newspaper archive
(Extract from) London Letter
(Special Correspondent)
23 September 1898
Fred Maddison, M.P , forms one of our body of Labour members in the House of Commons.  Like the other seven or eight men— Sam Woods, Ben Pickard, Burt, Broadhurst,  &c.— he sides with the Liberal capitalists in most of the debates and divisions. They all form a type of Labour members who have a lot to learn.
Returning to Maddison, he was not long since editor of the Railway Review, that fine organ of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. As is unavoidable, he imported his own political bias very largely into this journal and roused considerable resentment in the ranks of the society. It culminated in the only way possible— his resignation, which occurred towards the end of last .year. A young man, a booking clerk at Derby Midland station named Wardle , was appointed to the post, and an improvement — in fact, many improvements—have been witnessed since. The paper has been enlarged, its columns are more accessible to any of the rank and file of the society haying a grievance, and as Wardle is a Socialist and a member of the Independent Labour Party, it goes without saying that the editorial comments are marked now by a real grasp of the true interests of Labour.
Maddison has made his answering move. He appeared last week as the editor of the Trade Unionist, a fifty-four page monthly magazine, which aspires to voice the aspirations and reflect the doings of trade unionism here. There is none of that electric atmosphere about the journal that would prophesy a great success, although it is very creditably got up in the paper and printing way. The articles almost entirely are by old-timers,' such as the men I mentioned in my third paragraph and the whole tone of the periodical is oppressively serious and dignified. The Trade Unionist will live, however, as it is to be financed for several years by Hills .
Hills is a curious mixture. A man enormously wealthy and enormously faddy. He is a capitalist, a working man's friend in his own way, a vegetarian, a philanthropist, a moralist, and even holds strange ideas on the sexual question. He is the real owner of the huge. Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company Limited, the firm that works its hands the eight-hour day, and did so in face of the tremendous opposition and intimidation of the Engineering Employers' Federation during the late lockout. He is the man who, to relieve the perennial distress occasioned by unemployment in the East End, set some hundreds of men to work growing potatoes on Wanstead Flats at his own expense. Two papers are now supported by him— The Vegetarian and the Trade Unionist.

The Worker (Brisbane, Queensland 1890 - 1955) Saturday 5 November 1898

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     Good post John. He was " a curious mixture " indeed ; FA Cup finalist, mentor to Gandhi , English mile champion etc . I'd always thought he was anti trade union although caring for his workforce. A fascinating character .