Author Topic: Alderman Arthur Edwards  (Read 2381 times)

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Robert Rogers

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Alderman Arthur Edwards
« on: 30 November, 2008, 09:40:32 AM »
I note with sadness the passing of Alderman Arthur F C Edwards on the 27th November.

He was born in 1920 and became a councillor for West Ham in 1946.

He remined with the council untill 1986, becoming Mayor of Newham in 1967.

He also served the GLC for 22 years.

He was made a Honoray Alderman and given the Freedom of Newham in 2003.

He was the chairman of the West Ham Centenary Committe in 1986, and wrote the introduction for the book West Ham 100.

The photo shows him with the current Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, paying his respects at the memorial service to the firemen killed at Gaisnborough School in 1940.


Offline jplant1

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Re: Alderman Arthur Edwards
« Reply #1 on: 01 December, 2008, 07:24:22 AM »
Let me add a note for Arthur. (I think his second initial was "G." not "C." by the way).

When I was first a Councillor, Arthur was the Chief Whip of the Labour Group, and had the task of keeping a bunch of us rebellious left wingers in order. Previously the Chief Whip's job had been rather different, arriving at diplomatic balances between the power blocks - Freemasons, Catholics and the Ratepayers Association. The Liberal Focus Team tried very hard to split Arthur and a couple of others away. Their only success came with John Haggerty - Arthur held firm, to his credit. He was an honest right wing member of the Labour Party - he never wanted bold reforms, but always wanted public services well managed in the interests of the local people. We had many long hard battles and he never missed a trick. A worthy opponent.

I always remember one his debating barbs (not aimed at me on that occasion) - "I don't know if the Member is trying to be offensive, or if he is merely succeeding."

On his retirement he intended to write a history of West Ham Council, which he had been looking forward to for years. Regrettably, he didn't make much progress with it. He told me that after retirement he couldn't find a work discipline that kept him at it.

Behind the scenes he was a most effective organiser, drawing benefit for Newham from his network of overlapping responsibilities. One example - his support was essential to the House Mill Museum project at Bromnley by Bow, where he was key to the establishment of the Trust that drew in the Lea Valley Park Authority and raised most of the capital for the first phase of restoration.

Offline jplant1

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Re: Alderman Arthur Edwards
« Reply #2 on: 12 November, 2009, 08:40:09 AM »
Looking back at Arthur, its also worth recording how he fought for the restoration of West Ham Town Hall after it was severely damaged by fire. The Council might have been able to get away with demolishing it and realising a substantial capital profit on the site, or with a modern rebuild incorporating a few token bits of the original. It was substantially due to Arthur's determination that we still have the splendidly restored building that stands on the Broadway.

Although the original design had been by West Ham's borough architect, Lewis Angell, there were very few of the original drawings to work from. Fortunately there had been an extensive photo-record made a few years before the fire, that allowed a lot of the detail of plasterwork and woodwork to be recreated.