(c) Battersea Labour Party
Sean Creighton Collection
Battersea and Wandsworth Trade Union Council (BWTUC) is preparing to commemorate the action of its founder John Burns, MP for Battersea and a working class Cabinet Minister, who left the government in protest when Britain entered World War 1. Burns was horrified by this development and stated:
‘Why four great powers should fight over Serbia no fellow can understand. This I know, there is one fellow who will have nothing to do with such a criminal folly, the effects of which will be appalling to the welter of nations who will be involved .. My duty is clear and at all costs will be done.’
Burns’s stand did indeed cost him his political career.
John Burns Walk and Celebration
BWTUC is planning a John Burns Walk, to be launched on Saturday 9 August, starting at 12 noon from Burns’ grace at St Mary’s Cemetery, Battersea Rise, Bolingbroke Grove, SW11 1HE. The route has yet to be finalised, but there are plans to take in his house of Clapham Common, the Labour Party office, old Battersea Town Hall, Battersea Library on Lavender Hill, Burns Road in the Latchmere Estate and John Burins School in the Shaftesbury Estate. The walk will finish at BWTUC’s pub, the Bread and Roses in Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6DZ, where a function room will be ceremonially renamed ‘the John Burns Room’. There will be speakers on Burns’s local and national character and entertainment including a socialist choir.
All are welcome to the walk and the celebration!
Special Wandsworth Guardian coverage
In the lead-up to this event, BWTUC is preparing a four-page illustrated account of John Burns’s’ role as local trade union activist and promoter of local council services, as well as his parliamentary and ministerial career, culminating in this stand against the war. This will wrap around’ the 31 July edition of the Wandsworth Guardian.