Searching for information on former MP Alfred Henry Gill from Rochdale

Date published: 25 January 2005

In 2006, the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) will celebrate its 100th anniversary. In the 1906 landslide, twenty-nine working men, nominated by the Labour Representative Committee were elected to the House of Commons and took their seats as Labour Party Members. They met on 13 February 1906, as the PLP to elect Keir Hardie as their Chairman, by 15 votes to 14 on a secret ballot, an early show of hands having resulted in a 13-13 tied vote.

Gill was born in Rochdale on 3 December 1856 and died on 27 August 1914 at home in Bolton. He is buried in Heaton Cemetery. His father was a newsagent, and Gill sold papers on the streets of Rochdale as a teenager. He worked in Oldham for eight years then at Pendlebury in cotton mills. As the age of 41, he was appointed as an Official in Bolton for the Operative Spinners’ Association. Eight months later he became their General Secretary, a post he held until he was elected to Parliament in 1906. He was re-elected in 1910 as a Member of Parliament he opened the Spinners’ Hall on st George’s Road.

The PLP is planning to publish a commemorative volume to recognise the formation of PLP, which will contain belated obituaries of the twenty-nine members of the PLP. They will be written by the present Members of Parliament for the Parliamentary Constituencies that they represented.

Dr Brian Iddon, Member of Parliament for Bolton South East, has been asked by the General Secretary of the present PLP, Alan Howarth (now Lord Howarth), to write a 3000-word obituary of former MP Alfred Henry Gill.

Brian Iddon wishes to contact any relatives that may still live in the Bolton District or anyone who knows of the whereabouts of Mr Gill’s descendants.

“I know that a grandson, also known as Alfred H Gill, was elected as a Liberal Councillor in the Halliwell Ward in 1962”, Brian said. “I want to write an interesting account of Mr Gill’s life and not just rely on the documented information that I have unearthed so far”.

Anyone with information is invited to contact Dr Iddon on 01204 371202 or in writing to the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

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