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County Elections. – Public Apathy. – Local Labour Successes.

March 1919

Mexborough and Swinton Times March 8, 1919

County Elections.

Public Apathy.

Local Labour Successes.

Polling took place on Saturday in the West riding County Council Elections, accepting the rural divisions of Tickhill and Hemsworth the results were declared on Saturday Light. The polls were extraordinarily light, the public showing indifference to the elections.

Labour was the only organised party in the field, and in consequence there were considerable Labour successes

15 seats were won by Labour candidates on Saturdav, including those at Mexborough, Swinton, Wath on-Dearne, and Wombwell. At Mexboro’ the poll was only 11 per cent. of the electorate

The result was as follows:


423  David Stephen Humphrheys (Lab.) locomotive engine driver    

228 John Arthur Richard Lee (Lib.), Physician and surgeon

64 Albert E. Stacey (Nat. Dem. Pty.), political agent …

The local returning officer was 31r. J. W Hattersley,


491 John Siddall (Lab.) coal miner                                            

234 Moses Guest (Lib.), monumental mason

The poll at Swinton was one of the lightest in the county, amounting to about ten per cent of the electorate. The ‘Swinton division includes Kilnhurst

Mr Siddall’s candidature  was taken in hand by the Rother Valley Labour Party, and in the circumstances his success was assured from the first. Mr. Siddle is experienced in public affairs, having sat on the Swinton Urban Council for about twelve years. Mr. Guest was the returning County Councillor, having been co-opted to the County Council in 1917. The local returning officer was Mr. Hennels. The votes were counted and the result declared at the Urban Council Offices.


689 Thomas Henry Foulstone (Lab.), coal miner, Darfield.                   

637 Allred Ernest Allott (Mod.), estate agent,

This was the closest and most interesting contest in the district. In this instance the Labour party had to meet a candidate with long public experience, and with a splendid, record of public and patriotic work. Mr. A. Allott has been for five years chairman of the Wombwell Urban Council, and worked bard and well in many directions during the war. Again, however, organization triumphed, and as there is little love lost between Wombwell and Darfield, it is probable that the Darfield vote, Labour and otherwise, went fairly – solid for the Darfield candidates Mr. Foulstone is a member of the Darfield Urban Council, and a representative of the Darfield Main miner. He is a man of progressive instincts and working class ideals, but has nothing like his opponent’s all-round experience of public affairs.

The returning officer ‘was Mr. P. M. Walker. The votes were counted (and the result declared at the Town Hall, Wombwell.

Mr Foulstone is the nominee of the Wentworth Division Labour Party, and has had the party’s full support. A member of the Darfield Urban Council, he is also president of the Darfield Main Branch of the Yorkshire Miners’ Association, a position which he has held for the past fourteen years. Active association with trade union matters has furnished him with valuable experience on the labour and wages questions. As a member of the Darfield Council, it is understood that he is opposed to the idea of amalgamation with Wombwell. He never before sat on the County Council. His predecessor is Mr. John Robinson, Park Cottage, Wombwell, who is retiring definitely from the County Council. Of the 7,000 People eligible, only eighteen per cent. voted.


1516 George Probert (Lab.), checkweighman                                              

703 Richard Payne (Mod.), solicitor

This result was not unexpected, and was indeed inevitable in the circumstances. Labour polled strongly at Goldthorpe, where there was a forty per cent poll. There was absolute apathy at Bolton-on-Dearne, where only 74 people exercised the franchise, and in Wath, where Mr. Payne was strongest, there was also a light poll. The miners worked enthusiastically for the return of Mr. Probert. Both Mr. Probert end Mr. Payne have been prominent in public affairs for many years, as members of the Bolton-on-Dearne and Wath-on-Dearne Urban Councils respectively, and both had a title to appeal with confidence for public support. ‘Organisation, therefore, determined the issue. Mr. Payne has represented the division at Wakefield since 1913, when he defeated Mr. S. Elsbury, a Socialist, then of Goldthorpe. The local returning officer for the Wath Division was Mr. P. C. Muspratt.

“Montgomery” writes: Polling throughout the day in the Wath-upon-Dearne Division  which includes Wath, West Melton, Newhill, Bolton-on-Dearne and Goldthorpe, was tedious in the extreme, and very little interest was manifest, beyond that the partisians. Mr. R. Payne, the retiring member, wore rosettes or red, white and blue, and those of Mr. G. Probert, red favours. One may judge of the public apathy from the fact that 2,226 electors voted out of a total of over 8.000. There were eleven polling. stations in t he division, so that at each of these polling stations there was an average of not quite 17 voters per hour. In certain districts not one-fourth of the electors recorded their votes.