February Meeting: Opposing the First World War in Northampton

Our first meeting of 2015 will take place this Thursday (12th) at 7.30 p.m. at the University of Northampton’s Park Campus, when our┬áspeaker will be our own member John Buckell on the subject ‘Opposing the First World War in Northampton’. Please see below for further details. John has been researching the impact of the war on Northampton for some time and in 2012 he published Sacrifice, Service & Survival: Weston Favell in the First World War. The meeting will be held in Holdenby Lecture Theatre 2, upstairs in the main building.

Opposing The First World War in Northampton
by John Buckell

Much of the recent commemorative events of World War One have focused, rightly, on those who fought, or who served the war effort in other ways. However, a minority of men and women opposed the war, some from the outset, and their arguments and actions had a significant and lasting influence. The story of the anti-war movement in Northampton presents a useful microcosm of the wider movement. Not only were important anti-war organisations – No Conscription Fellowship, Women’s International League and Women’s Peace Crusade – represented in the town, but one of Northampton’s MPs became an outspoken member of the Union of Democratic Control, which advocated a negotiated peace. In addition, Northampton’s Independent Labour Party branch, which included local Quakers, actively campaigned against the war, and men of widely varying political and religious views registered as conscientious objectors. Records for all of the above exist in local and national newspaper archives, minutes of Northampton Trades Council and, almost uniquely, in the records of Northamptonshire Appeals Tribunal. My talk will concentrate on significant individuals in Northampton who were representative of different strands in the local peace movement, and raise the question of how far their aims were realisable.

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