James Brown (Scottish politician)

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James Brown, OBE, DL (16 December 1862 – 21 March 1939) was a Scottish Labour politician.

James brown was born in the Whitletts area of Ayr but lived most of his life in Annbank where he went to school.[1] He had started working in pits from the age of 12 and he later would become Secretary of the Ayrshire Miners' Union and of the Scottish Miners' National Union. He unsuccessfully contested North Ayrshire in January 1910 and was the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Ayrshire from 1918–1931 and from 1935 until his death in 1939. He was awarded the OBE in 1917, appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1930. He was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1924, 1930 and 1931, and he also taught in the local sunday school in Annbank.[1][2]

He was a member of the Scottish National War Memorial committee formed in 1918 by the then Secretary of State for Scotland, the Liberal Party MP Robert Munro, which was tasked with forming a permanent memorial for World War I at Edinburgh Castle.[3] In 1927 he criticised the decision to include Walter Thomas Monnington's painting Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland, 1707[4] in the Palace of Westminster which he said in a debate should "get rid of this disgraceful picture and put something in its place which would be more true to history than it is." His Labour Party colleague, Dundee MP Tom Johnston further described the outrage at the inclusion of the painting by saying "the only historical painting in St Stephen's Hall representing an incident in Scottish history deals with an act of national humiliation."[5]

In his authorised biography Bill Shankly said that Brown won the election in South Ayrshire as the local voters "wouldn't vote Conservative" but that he was "too mild" and not a "keen socialist" for some of the more militant Labour members.[6]

He was granted the Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Ayr in 1930, and of Girvan in 1931 and was awarded an Honorary LLD by the University of Glasgow in 1931. He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Ayrshire.

His life story "From Pit To Palace" by Alexander Gammie was published in 1931. He was the great-great uncle of the future first Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament David Steel.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "South Ayrshire's first Labour MP remembered at 150". www.carricktoday.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  2. ^ Voices of Scottish journalists : recollections by 22 veteran Scottish journalists of their life and work. MacDougall, Ian, 1933-. Edinburgh. 7 November 2013. ISBN 978-0-85790-613-7. OCLC 879289773.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ Royle, Trevor. (2011). The flowers of the forest : Scotland and the First World War. Edinburgh: Birlinn. ISBN 978-0-85790-125-5. OCLC 782872446.
  4. ^ "Artwork - The Parliamentary Union of England and Scotland 1707". UK Parliament. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  5. ^ Hargreaves, John A. Liberal Reform and Industrial Relations: J.H. Whitley (1866-1935), Halifax Radical and Speaker of the House of Commons. Laybourn, Keith,, Toye, Richard (First ed.). London. ISBN 1-351-86613-3. OCLC 1007842468.
  6. ^ Bowler, Dave (2013). Shanks: The Authorised Biography of Bill Shankly. United Kingdom: Hachette UK. ISBN 9781409146797.
  7. ^ Torrance, David. (2012). David Steel, he also as living descendants that contain his great great niece, great great great nephew and great great great great nephew : rising hope to elder statesman. London: Biteback. ISBN 978-1-84954-466-5. OCLC 903165559.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir William Phipson Beale
Member of Parliament for South Ayrshire
19181931
Succeeded by
James Orr MacAndrew
Preceded by
James Orr MacAndrew
Member of Parliament for South Ayrshire
19351939
Succeeded by
Alexander Sloan
Trade union offices
Preceded by
John Bank?
President of the Ayrshire Miners' Union
1894–1908
Succeeded by
Robert Smith
Preceded by
Peter Muir
Secretary of the Ayrshire Miners' Union
1908–1939
Succeeded by
Alexander Sloan
Preceded by
John C. Hendry
President of the Scottish Trades Union Congress
1911
Succeeded by
David Palmer
Preceded by
Edward Judson and David Watts Morgan
Auditor of the Trades Union Congress
1913–1914
With: Edward Duxbury
Succeeded by
Tom Shaw and J. Wood
Preceded by
Robert Brown
Secretary of the Scottish Miners' Federation
1917–1918
Succeeded by
Robert Smith
Preceded by
Robert Smith
Secretary of the Scottish Miners' Federation
1934–1936
Succeeded by
Alexander Sloan