Saturday 24 March 2007

Bill Holmes - Norfolk

William "Bill" Holmes

Born into a family stepped in radical tradition

Bill Holmes grandfather was the only man in his village to read, and he read Cobbetts Political Register in the village Inn.

Norwich was a Chartist stronghold and his Grandfather was jailed for his Chartist beliefs

His farther was active in organising workers into unions and was a member of the "Cordwainers Union" (shoemakers & cobblers union)

Started work aged 10 at Colemans Mustard factory in Norwich

Many of the workers at Colemans Mustard factory where former members of Joseph Archs "National Union" and according to Holmes "it was them who got me to join a union"

He joined the Norfolk & Norwich Amalgamated Union established in 1890, which was then 1,000 strong

On the collapse of the "Amalgamated" He later in 1904 became branch Secretary of a local branch of Gas & General Labourers Union, but despite his best efforts they refused to organise agricultural labourers

Active in Norwich Social Democratic Federation

Independent Labour Party (later Labour Party) organiser for Norwich at 25s a week

Elected councillor for Coslany ward on Norwich Council in 1905

Was Labour candidate for East Norfolk in 1929 and 1931 (The later when nearly sixty)

From 1911 Executive member of the National Agricultural & Rural workers Union and President from 1923-1928

General Secretary 1928 until he retired in 1944