Pitboy, Socialist and Local Historian- Alderman William Rogerson JP CC - Political Quote

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pitboy, Socialist and Local Historian- Alderman William Rogerson JP CC

Alderman William Rogerson JP CC
Pitboy, Socialist and Local Historian

Born in Walkden, Lancashire in 1874 William Rogerson went to St John’s and then Kellet’s Schools. At ten years of age he went to work in the pit. When he was only seventeen he lost a leg in a pit accident; a disability which did not hider his public work.

Early in his life he worked as a teacher and temperance worker at Worsley Road Primitive Methodist Church and School. He was Secretary of the Sunday School and also of the Walkden Band of Hope and Temperance Union. He acted as Secretary to the Walkden and District Free Church Council and edited the Free Church Magazine.

He was a keen cricketer and helped form the Worsley Road Cricket Club of which he became the first Secretary. In 1896 he and Mr Alfred Gee formed the Walkden and District Amateur Cricket Club. After a period as Secretary, he became President.

Alderman Rogerson gave a lifetime of service to the labour movement. He was Secretary of the Independent Labour Party in Walkden from an early age and in 1910 became the Labour agent in the Eccles Parliamentary Division. In 1921 he became Permanent Agent and during his term of office won three Parliamentary Elections. He became well known in the Eccles and Farnworth Divisions as a powerful platform speaker. When Farnsworth Divisional Labour Party was formed, he became the first Secretary.

In 1914, Alderman Rogerson called the foundation meeting of the Walkden and District Trades and Labour Council. He worked as a staff member of the Labour Leader and was active in working to establish the Daily Citizen. He joined the new staff when it was formed.
Alderman Rogerson’s record of public service began inn 1911 when he was elected to represent North Ward on Worsley Council. From 1929 until his death in 1940 he was not called upon to defend his seat.

He was “father” of the Council and had been the Chairman on three occasions, in 1921/22, in 1932/33 and for the third time, in 1937/38; in recognition of his twenty five years as a member of the Authority. His period as Chairmen in the early 1930’s marked the last year of the old Worsley Council before it amalgamated with Little Hulton, a development which Aldermen Rogerson worked to implement. While the old Worsley Council had been in being, Mr Rogerson served on every committee and acted as Chairman of the housing and Town Planning Committees. Of the latter he was Chairman from its formation in 1913 with the exception of one year. As Chairman of the Housing Committee he cut the first sod of the new Worsley housing schemes in 1920 and opened the first house on the estate in 1921.

He was always interested in education and he opened the Worsley Senior School In 1932. He was a Governor of Farnworth Grammar School and Edge Hill Training College for Teachers. He was also a strong advocate for the provision of public baths and in 1917 he was Chairman of the
opening ceremony at the Bridgewater Street Baths. During his Chairmanship of the Council during the Coronation festivities of George VI, he visited every school in the district.

In 1919, Mr Rogerson was elected to the Lancashire County Council. He became the first Chairman of the County Library Committee in 1925 and remained in that position until his death. His interest in Libraries took him to the opening of Manchester Central Reference Library. There he was presented to King George V. In 1934 he opened Little Hulton Library.

As a County Councillor, Mr Rogerson served on the County Education Committee and all its sub-committees from 1919. In 1933, he was raised to the rank of County Alderman and from 1931 he acted as Justice of The Peace for the Manchester County Area.

While on the County Council, Alderman Rogerson represented them on many organizations. Among them were, the County Standing Joint Committee, the County Finance Committee, the Valuation Committee, the Manchester Assize Court Committee, the Lancashire Mental Hospital Board, the Lancashire Mental Deficiency Committee, the North Western Regional Library Committee and the Lancashire and Cheshire as well as the National Whitley Councils.

He also sat on the Manchester and District Regional Joint Town Planning Committee, the Manchester Regional Housing and Town Planning Committee and the National Housing and Town Planning Association. In connection with this last, he attended four international housing and town planning conferences. He was on the Executive of the Lancashire Branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England and a member of the Worsley Preservation Society as well as the Worsley Photographic Society.

At the time of his death, Alderman Rogerson was Chairman of the Worsley Air Raid Precautions committee and had played an energetic and important part in the provision of shelters for the district and the training of ARP personnel.

It was typical of Mr Rogerson that everything he undertook was carried out with enthusiasm and energy. He pursued his interests and acted on his principles in all his work. He was an extremely capable opponent and on one occasion in the Council Chamber said, “I’m not always right, but I nearly always am”, a near truth which made his colleagues think twice before acting in opposition to him.

His deep interest in, and appreciation of1his local area made him accept the inevitable position of historian. He had spent much of his time searching out and preserving old records, photographs and manuscripts. The results of his work were written up in a series of articles in The Journal. He had a fine collection of local lantern slides with which he illustrated his lectures on “Old Worsley”.

At his funeral there were representatives from the many aspects of public life to which he had devoted his sixty six years.

Alderman William Rogerson is my Great, Grand Uncle an early stalwart of the English Labour Party and a dedicated socialist and councillor and I am very proud of him and his achievements. I plan to visit Worsley in the near future and to learn more about him and his town.-KM

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