Celebrating Wimbledon Labour Party’s first 100 years was a joy.
We met outside St Andrew’s Hall in Herbert Road, the scene 100 years earlier of the first meeting of Wimbledon, Merton and Morden Labour Party. Our ranks were swelled by members of the RMT, GMB and Merton and Sutton TUC.
Judith Centofanti, Chair of Wimbledon Labour Party, welcomed the marchers and pointed out that 100 years ago, all the principal office holders in Wimbledon were men and now all the principal office holders in Wimbledon are women, including our Parliamentary Candidate, Jackie Schneider.
We marched behind the Wimbledon banner to William Morris House, where we had a group photo.
Everyone present was given a copy of the Centenary brochure and a lapel badge commemorating the event (Emily has some spare copies of the brochure in the Labour Party Office). We celebrated with cake (candles blown out by Labour’s next generation), balloons – and the odd glass of wine!
Peter Walker, Chair of William Morris House, gave a short overview of Wimbledon’s radical tradition and the early years of the Labour Party. He reminded us that on the day that William Morris House was opened (30 September 1922) the event lasted for 7 and a half hours and finished with a dance and Whist Drive.
Jackie Schneider then brought the formal business to a close quoting from the 1918 Labour Manifesto which called for: peace and reconciliation; Freedom for Ireland; No conscription; The land for the workers; A million good houses; A levy on capital; Industrial democracy; and finally to be The real Women’s Party!
In 1918 Rose Lamartine Yates, a local Suffragette, was adopted as Labour’s candidate for Wimbledon, but the Party was unable to raise funds for the deposit or a campaign, so she never fought the election.
In 2018, Jackie Schneider was adopted as Prospective Labour candidate for Wimbledon. There will be a campaign! This is progress!
Brenda Grant (Secretary, Wimbledon Labour Party)