Jan 04 2015

From the Archives… Inaugural Speech of Cllr T Charles, First Chair of Harrow Council 1934

harrow_council_logoInaugural speech of elected Chairman Cllr T Charles at the first meeting of the Harrow Urban District Council on April 9, 1934:

I am deeply conscious of the honour which you have conferred upon me this evening in appointing one first Chairman
of this Urban Council of what has become known as Greater Harrow. I feel that it is a great compliment. I also realize very fully that it has its grave responsibilities. I was first elected to the position of Chairman of the Harrow on-the-Hill Urban District Council in 1913, and, by a coincidence, into this same Chair. I was Chairman for seven years, which embraced the period of the War.

We had many problems to face through those periods, as you are all aware. I feel that we have many problems to face in the future of this new Municipality. The old boundaries have gone. There have been, naturally, differences in the past.

I hope that we shall drop all our differences and work with that harmony through which alone success can come to this ceived from Mr. Stutfield, Chairman of the Establishment possibilities, I do not think it is conceit to say, of beautiful amenities and great achievements in the past. It has its history, its tradition, its beautiful commons and open spaces, and, speaking of open spaces, I hope that they will be very materially increased as we go on.

I am convinced that it will be the desire of every Member here to do his utmost for the success of the whole Town of Harrow. It may be – I feel it somewhat myself – that we look rather to our own Ward. I want to emphasize the point that it is for the whole that we shall be working, and not for one particular section. A Member for one Ward may feel that he can do yeoman service to another Ward which a Member in that Ward may have overlooked.

Let us view it, as I am sure you view it, as a whole entity, a new Town, a new Township, a new District of Harrow. With those aims and objects in view I feel convinced, I have not the slightest doubt, that vast as the work is, we shall build up a machinery for the government of this District that will redound to the credit of Harrow.

I am open to challenge, but I believe that Harrow is the largest Urban District in England and the largest but one in England and Wales, the other one being Rhondda Valley. That is proof enough, Mrs. Webb and Gentlemen, of the work that we have before us.

I feel that the honour, dignity and success of this Greater Harrow will depend upon the skill and the ability that we devote to its concerns, and, as I have said before, I am convinced that every Member round this table has that ambition in his heart.

I will not detain you longer. We have a lot of business to get through. But I do wish to renew my thanks for the great honour – and I feel it is indeed a great honour – that you have conferred upon me.

At the end of my year of office, God willing, I hope to have discharged my duties in such a manner that I shall earn your verdict of “Well done.”

Source: Harrow Council Minutes Vol 1.

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1 comment

  1. Martin

    I would imagine Mr Charles would be turning in his grave right now should he have any idea what a mess the council is in today. Charging for bins to be emptied, turning off street lighting, closing libraries, museums and heritage centres. Leaving holes in roads unfilled and spending a million pounds on unnecessary and pointless senior council manager. Top that off with a council leader who doesn’t respond to emails, letters or telephone calls, and who sees the public as mere mortals to be trampled over at will, any only a source of his leaders salary – where’s the concept of ‘public service’ gone?

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