Susan Elkin writes "Harold Murray, a dentist, and his wife Bertha were socialists who had arrived at Haslemere with their two children not long after the Green's move there. Green, wanting to be active to their cause, was instantly drawn to them...
"Green and Murray started an Independent Labour Party (ILP) group which met in the showroom above Green's workshop. Sometimes as many as 40 or 50 people attended the meetings: a mixture of small tradesmen, artisans, the men who worked for Green and, sometimes, a sprinkling of local bigwigs. Speakers came down from London, including Henry Golding who became a close and dear friend to Green. They even organised a debate in Haslemere Town Hall between Ramsay MacDonald and John St Loe Strachey, editor of The Spectator. This, they believed, was the first important debate on socialism to be hold outside London." (Life to the Lees, Natula Publications, 1998).
|Debate on Socialism, 1908, |
Ramsay MacDonald and John St Loe Strachey,
Haslemere Branch of the Independent Labour Party
The debate was "arranged under the joint auspices of the Haslemere branches of the Independent Labour Party and the Church of England Men's Society" which seems like an interesting combination of societies. Presided over by the Lord Bishop of Dorking, MacDonald and Strachey were accompanied on the platform by "Mr Harold Murray (chairman of the Haslemere branch of the Independent Labour Party), the Rector of Haslemere (the Rev. G. H. Aitken)" and others. The Rev. Aitken was the vicar of St Christopher's Church described as "the guiding spirit behind its creation". This working relationship between the Independent Labour Party and the Church of England, placing Green's friend and the vicar of St Christopher's together is the closest link I have found between the Peasant Arts movement and St Christopher's Church. Arthur Romney Green is likely to have been on the platform also, as it is noted that there were other representatives of the Independent Labour there, but he is not separately named.
Whilst I have read of this debate being held in 1908, I had not seen the subject of the debate before:
"That the only way to arrive at a just economic basis of Society, is by the application of the principle of collective ownership and control of land and capital"