Hoots from the Archive - Election Special

Posted by Rachel Kneale on 04 Jul 2024

Modified by Rachel Kneale on 04 Jul 2024

As the UK goes to the polls today, we thought it would be good to share some various links and objects from the archive that link MGS to political history.

In 1906, MGS held a mock election, and a boy named George Benson sent the results to the founder of the Labour party, Keir Hardie (Potential PM, Keir Starmer, is famously named after Hardie):

                                    “Bravo! Thirty four votes for Socialism is a very good record.  And each year the number will increase. JKH”

The 1906 mock election also saw Harry Pankhurst, youngest child of Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union, standing as the Women’s Suffrage Candidate. 

The recipient of the postcard, George Benson, initially became an estate agent on leaving MGS in 1906. He was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during the Great War and later went on to become Labour MP for Chesterfield between 1929 – 31 and 1935 – 64. He wrote an article in Ulula recounting his years in Parliament and this can be read here: Hoots from the Archive – "My Life as an MP" | Manchester Grammar School (mgs-life.co.uk)

Harold Laski was another eminent political Old Mancunian, serving as Chairman of the Labour Party in 1945, and an influential figure in the movement for Indian independence. Read more about him here: Hoots from the Archive – Hidden Treasures – Harold Laski: Influential Political Theorist and Leading Intellectual of the Left | Manchester Grammar School (mgs-life.co.uk)

For a more in-depth look at the various Old Mancunians who made their way in the world of politics, read Richard Kelly's article in the 2010 edition of Ulula here: 2010.pdf

Rachel Kneale


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