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14 November 2013

The Returning Officer: Osgoldcross

By Stephen Brasher

The constituency of Osgoldcross was created when the Eastern West Riding of Yorkshire seat was broken up in 1885. In 1906, it elected the Liberal Joseph Compton-Rickett. He wrote fiction under his own name and the pseudonym Maurice Baxter. His most notable works were The Christ That Is To Be (1891) and The Quickening of Caliban (1893), in which a second human species is discovered in Africa, one of whom, Forest Bokrie, goes to Cambridge University. In his pseudonymous novel James Strathgeld, a businessman with no scruples walks over everyone to get what he wants.

Compton-Rickett made his money as a coal merchant. Long after his death, his firm was involved in a court case after a detonator was delivered with some Coalite, exploding when burned. A settlement was paid for damages.

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