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Book Title:

The Good Old Days: Then and Now


The Good Old Days: Then and Now by S. Box

Published by: S. Box, The Firs, Marden, Hereford

Printed by: Reliance Printing Works, Halesowen, Worcs.

Chapter 12.



To give some idea of the efforts necessary to thoroughly organise a district for trade union purposes at the period covered by this record—from 1912 to 1928—required courage, persistence, a firm faith in the cause and untiring vigilance to keep the workers united, until they realised the value and understood the vital principles for which men and women had been persecuted, imprisoned and exiled in the past. The Dorsetshire farm workers had been sent to Botany Bay by the Magistrates, their Chairman being a Clergyman.


In order to give readers a picture of where branches were established, in the main by myself—The District branches opened were Ledbury, Fromes Hill, Newtown, Bosbury, Withington, Much Marcle, Upton, Bishops Linton, Fawley, Sellack, Peterstowe, Weston-u-Penyard, Aston Ingham, Lea, Walford, Welsh Newton, Llangarron, Garway, St. Weonards, Orcop, Broad Oak, Harewood End, Much Birch, Holme Lacy, Little Dewchurch, Much Dewchurch, Kilpeck, Fownhope, Mordiford, Tarrington, Lugwardine, Colwall, Cradley, Burley Gate, Felton, Tram Inn, Kingstone, Madley, Longtown, Peterchurch, Vowchurch, Dorstone, Preston-on-Wye, Bishopstone, Letton, Staunton-on-Wye, Bredwardine, Stretton Sugwas, Burghill, Sutton, Marden, Wellington, Canon Pyon, Kings Pyon, Dinmore, Eardisley, Brilley, Almeley, Weobley, Ullingswick, Little Cowarne, Stoke Lacy, Pencombe, Whitbourne, Stanford, Bishop, Docklow, Dilwyn, Eardisland, Kingsland, Mortimers Cross, Amestrey, Wigmore, Shobdon, Luston, Byton, Leintwardine, Lingen, Bleathwood, Brimfield, Orleton, Yarpole, Leysters, Woolhope, Ivington, Kimbolton, Bromyard, Leominster, Kington, Lyonshall, Richards Castle, Mathon,  Ashperton, Ross-on-Wye, Llangrove, Rotherwas, Hereford. All these were in the county of Hereford.
In Worcestershire there were: St. Johns, Williamstone, Worcester, Suckley, Martley, Alfrick, Pole Elm, Powick, Malvern, Welland, Stourport, Shrawley, Leigh Sinton;
in Monmouthshire: Pandy, White Swan, Abergavenny, Llangriney, Crickhowell, Llanvaply, Pentpergam, Blaen-y-Cwm, Grosmont.
In Brecon and Radnor: Hay, Glasbury, Presteigne, Old Radnor, Builth, Penwyllt, Llyswen, Talgarth, Elan Valley, Knighton, Knighton Sawmills—98 in Herefordshire. 12 in Worcestershire, 9 in Monmouthshire, and 12 in Brecon and Radnor, a total of 119 branches. 33 branches outside Herefordshire were taken from me, but they soon ceased to function, and I warned the Executive Committee what a disastrous effect it would have on the Herefordshire organisation. I promised to state the facts and the truth, hence my anxiety that readers should form their own judgment why the old Workers' Union ceased to exist and to establish that it was not the fault of the organisers in the fields. Of course the members were partly to blame for not attending meetings, and discuss matters brought forward by their Executives upon subjects vital to the organisation. In some the Executive officers put into operation the vital questions without consulting the membership. There is a vast difference between administration and decisions upon definite principles for the future guidance of future work in any organisation. This is why the Union ceased to exist, and should be a warning to all Executive members. They should not have attempted to place any ban on the membership if they were honestly seeking to do what they conceived to be in the best interests of their organisation, its members, or the mass of the people. Executives should put into effect the mandates of the mem­bers; bans only create mistrust, and strike at the very roots of freedom.


Having experienced over forty-five years attending Labour Party Conferences, Trade Union Congress and Federation Conferences, Public Bodies, etc., I was always alarmed at the amount of power that was in the hands of a few individuals, and often used, through the medium of the block vote, to push through their own particular measure, to the disadvantage of the delegate sent by a local organisation, who, as a result, could effectively operate the mandate he was instructed to support. We see this in practice at every annual conference or congress, even in the House of Commons, and if an individual dares to put forward suggestions or views not in accordance with these powerful groups they are treated as outcasts, instead of accepting that such individuals are entitled to express their own views.



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