The Returning Officer: Bewdley

Stanley Baldwin succeeded his father, Alfred, as MP for Bewdley in 1908. In 1922, 1923 and 1929, his opponent was Sardius Hancock.

A Liberal until 1926, Hancock was a poet, Methodist and chicken farmer who joined Labour when Lloyd George regained the Liberal leadership, saying, “My study of his career fills me with profound disgust.” His poetic work Gallant Sir John was published in 1912 and reviewed as “the very book for the healthy boy”. He had five sons, two of whom – Wilfred and Ralph – were killed in the First World War.

A “sardius” (carnelian) is one of the 12 foundation stones of the temple, mentioned in Revelation. 

This article first appeared in the 04 June 2014 issue of the New Statesman, 100 days to save Great Britain

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