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Book puts focus on Labour Party

PUBLISHED: 10:59 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:53 06 July 2010

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard with writer Don Matthew

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard with writer Don Matthew

A BOOK detailing the early life of the Labour Party in East Anglia has been released for publication.

Labour in the East: Essays in Labour History in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex takes an in-depth look at the party's political life in Norwich, Ipswich, Essex and Lowestoft.

A BOOK detailing the early life of the Labour Party in East Anglia has been released for publication.

Labour in the East: Essays in Labour History in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex takes an in-depth look at the party's political life in Norwich, Ipswich, Essex and Lowestoft.

Authors Ian Grimwood, John Gyford, Stan Newens, Don Matthew and Matthew Worley have all been active members of the party over the years and for this book they have collaborated to show how the party grew between 1918 and 1945.

Three of the essays are on the development of the party in Ipswich, Lowestoft and Norwich, while the other two look at the Co-operative movement and at country-level politics in Essex.

The book tracks the story back to 1918, when the Lowestoft Labour Party was founded. It goes on to detail the turbulent years of the depression, war and everyday life, before moving on to the introduction of the Welfare State.

Much of the writing is based on personal memories of Labour pioneers, which were written in the 1970s, detailing the struggle for decent housing, employment, a living wage and a life free from the fears of the Oulton Workhouse and the Means Test.

The Lowestoft section details the teachers' strike of 1923, the general strike, by-elections, and the role of the party in the war-time coalition.

Over these years local Labour politicians moved from being outsiders to respected decision-makers in the House of Commons. The account ends with Edward Evans' election victory in 1945.

He would represent the Lowestoft constituency in the House of Commons for 14 years, until he was defeated by Conservative James Prior.

Labour would not return to power in the Lowestoft, and latterly Waveney, constituency until 1997, when Bob Blizzard triumphed.

The book is published by Labour Heritage and can be obtained by sending a cheque for £7 made payable to Labour in the East to J Gyford, Blanfred, Chalks Road, Witham, Essex, CM8 2BT or Mrs I R Grimwood, 19 Dorset Close, Ipswich, IP4 3BJ.

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