Person NameShaw; Benjamin Howard (1865-1942); Secretary of the Scottish Advisory Council of the Labour Party
ForenamesBenjamin Howard
EpithetSecretary of the Scottish Advisory Council of the Labour Party
ActivityBenjamin Howard Shaw (1865-1942), was born on 27 July 1865 in Huddersfield, the son of George, mill owner, and Mary Shaw. He was educated at a local elementary school and entered employment with the family business. He was, however, allowed to attend Huddersfield Technical College for one year aged eighteen, and there became interested in economic, political and social affairs. He desired to continue his education at Oxford University but his father refused and he returned to work at the family mill. Shaw avidly read works concerning socialismadn in January 1892 joined the Colne Valley Labour Union. In that year he was involved in the establishment of the Longwood Labour Club. The following year he became secretary fo the Newly formed Labour Church in Longwood. In 1893 he joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and in 1894 Keir Hardie offered him a job with the ILP weekly paper 'Labour Leader'. After the printing of 'Labour Leader' was transferred to Manchester, Shaw obtained work with the Civic Press Ltd., Glasgow. During the 1890's Shaw edited the radical newspaper 'Commonweal'. In 1900 he married Joanna Bruce (d 1916). He was secretary of the Glasgow branch of the Independent Labour Party from 1903-1906. He unsuccessfully contested the Townhead Ward of Glasgow municipal election in November 1905. He campaigned for the Sunday opening of art galleries and libraries, supported temperance reform in Scotland and was a strict teetotaller. In 1906 he joined the temperance movement as a representative of the Labour Party and lectured throughout Scotland on the subject. In 1909 he was appointed vice-chairman of the Scottish Trades Union Congress. In March 1914 he was appointed first secretary to the Scottish Advisory Council of the Labour Party. His wife Joanna died of cancer in 1916 and in 1918 he married Clarice McNab. He campaigned for the release of John Maclean (1879-1923) in 1921 and for the improvement of his prison conditions. During the 1920's he was secretary and co-ordinator of internal affairs of the Labour Party. In 1932 he retired from the post of secretary of the Scottish Labour Party. That year also saw his resignation from the Independent Labour Party because it disaffiliated from the Labour Party. His wife Clarice McNab (1883-1946) was a Labour town councillor and magistrate for the County of Ayrshire and Shaw worked with her as her assistant and secretary. He died on 27 October 1942.
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