Totnes. Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
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The Returning Officer: Totnes

Bolsheviks in Devonshire.

Kate Spurrell was the Labour candidate for Totnes in 1924 and 1929. A teacher from Plymouth, she was president of the local branch of the NUT. She warned in 1922: “In the panic that has seized the economists who are obsessed by . . . colossal debt, education is threatened.”

F B Mildmay was MP for Totnes from 1885 to 1922. When he retired, he was the last of the Liberal Unionists who had defied Gladstone over Home Rule. Having served in the Boer war, he fought in the First World War at Ypres. In 1922, his wife told a Unionist women’s conference that teachers should take an oath of loyalty, as they were spreading “Bolshevist propaganda” in Devonshire.

Stephen Brasher

This article first appeared in the 23 January 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Christianity in the Middle East

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The New Statesman Cover | Wanted: An opposition

A first look at this week's magazine.

March 31 - April 6 
Wanted: An opposition