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PHILIP SNOWDEN (1864-1937)
British politician and the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer. He married ETHEL ANNAKIN, a prominent member of the suffragette movement. She was Governor of the British Broadcasting Corp.

Born to quite a poor family in Middleton, Philip managed to receive a good education through the tenacity of his father - a Sunday school Superintendent, and due to the fact that he had two older sisters who started work and brought in wages for the family, allowing Philip to continue with his schooling instead of working half days as most of his peers did. Philip's family moved to Nelson in search of work when he was fifteen, due to the mill they worked in going bankrupt. Due to his good education work as an insurance clerk was easy to find. Soon he joined the Civil Service and worked around the country until a cycling accident forced him to return to his mother in 1891. She had returned to Cowling two years earlier after the death of Philip's father. In the two years it took to recuperate, Philip wrote for local papers, having also attended political meetings since his time in Nelson. When he was finally able, after much determined effort towards rehabilitation, he began public speaking in Keighley and despite a great following lost his first election in Burnley in 1900. A year after his marriage to Ethel Annakin in 1905 Philip became M.P. for Blackburn and came straight to his mother in Cowling. He was led into the village by a brass band to give a speech at the Liberal Club. Village children were given the day off school.

He began to work for the Independent Labour party. He was twice chairman of the party, from 1903 to 1906 and later from 1917 to 1920, but resigned in 1927 in favour of the Labour party proper as a protest against what he considered the revolutionary tendencies of the Independent Labour party. He belonged to the pacifist minority of the socialist group during World War One. Snowden served in the House of Commons from 1906 to 1918 and from 1922 until 1931. As an acknowledged specialist in finance, he became chancellor of the exchequer in the Labour ministries formed by Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929. He won popularity by his refusal to accept a reduction in the British share of German reparations in the Young Plan in 1929. His rigidly orthodox financial measures, including the maintenance of free trade and balanced budgets, were insufficient to stem the growing economic depression. Philip remained chancellor in the national government of 1931 and announced the suspension of the gold standard. Created Viscount Snowden of Ickornshaw in 1931, he served from 1931 to 1932 as lord privy seal but resigned when free trade was abandoned.
Viscount Philip Snowden Memoriam Service Sheet.
Supplied by: Joan Tindale.
Front Page

In Memoriam


Born - 1864
Died - 1937

First Page


UNVEILING OF PLAQUE on the House, at Middleton,
where Viscount Snowden was born.



Unveiling of Plaque by Mr Wright Snowden, J.P..
Chairman of Cowling Parish Council.

Prayer if Thanksgiving and Commemoration.
Rev. William Dickinson.



UNVEILING OF MEMORIAL at Pad Cote, on the Ickornshaw Moor.





OUR Father, by whom servants
Our faith was built of old.
Whose hand hath crowned her children
With blessing manifold
For Thine unfailing mercies
Far-strewn along our way,
With all who passed before us,
We praise thy name to-day.

The changeful years unresting
Their silent course have sped,
New comrades our bringing
In comrades` steps to treat :
And some are long forgotten,
Long spent their hopes and fears ;
Safe rest they in Thy keeping,
Who changest not with years.

Tune - Aurelia.

They reap not where they laboured
We reap what they have sown ;
Our harvest may be garnered
By ages yet unknown.
The days of old have dowered us.
With gifts beyond all praise :
Our Father, make us faithful
To serve the coming days.

Before us and beside us,
Still holden in Thine hand,
A cloud unseen of witness,
Our elder comrades stand :
One family unbroken,
We join, with one acclaim,
One heart, one voice uplifting.
To glorify Thy name.

Second Page
Prayer. Lord's Prayer. Scripture Reading.
Rev. E. N. Betenson, B.A.

Introduction of The Right Honourable Viscount Sankey, P.C.,
by Mr. Wright Snowden, J.P.

Unveiling of Memorial, and Address by
The Right Honourable Viscount Sankey, P.C.

Prayer of Dedication. Rev. Alfred Booth.

Response by The Viscountess Snowden, J.P.

Mr. Tom Snowden, J.P.


RISE up, O men of God !
Have done with lesser things ;
Give heart and soul and mind and
To serve the King of Kings. [strength

Rise up, O men of God !
His kingdom tarries long ;
Bring in the day of brotherhood,
And end the night of wrong.

Tune - Trentham

Rise up, O men of God !
The Church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task ;
Rise up and make her great.

Lift high the Cross of Chris !
Treat where His feet have trod ;
As brothers of the Son of Man
Rise up, O men of God !


The singing led by the Cowling Temperance Prize Band,
and the combined Choirs of the local Churches.
Back Page


Middleton and Pad Cote lie on the either side of the village of Cowling. The village is on the main road between Kildwick and Colne. The former is
the railway station for Yorkshire, and three miles distant, the latter the railway station for Lancashire, and five miles distant.

There is a convenient Bus Service.

Ample provision is make for the parking of cars.

Tea provided at moderate charges.

Those who have not yet contributed to the Memorial Fund might like to know that is it proposed to establish a Memorial in the village itself, as a
later date, and that the Fund is still open. Any subscriptions may be paid at the end of the ceremony, in the marquee, or forwarded to one of the
following persons :-

Mr. Francis Redman. 19, Sun Street, Cowling, Keighley.
Mr. J. K. Fletcher, School House, Cowling. Keighley.
Miss Mary Smith, Knoll View, Cowling, Keighley.

Centenary tribute by an old admirer to Philip Snowden of Ickornshaw
By Arthur Booth.
From Keighley News, Saturday July 11 1964
The centenary on July 18 of the birth of Philip Snowden, is a reminder of events in the summer of 1931 that probably shocked more people in and around Keighley than anywhere else in the country.

Snowden after joining Ramsay MacDonald’s “National Government.” Turned on his former colleagues venomously. Castigating them as “little Lenins.” He used his pen with such effect in the Press, which previously was always ready to revile him, and his voice over the radio, that he ensured the virtual extinction, temporarily, of the Parliamentary Labour Party of which he was a founder Member.
As one of the humble second wave of propagandists who followed in the wake of Snowden, Keir Hardie, Bruce Glasier and all the others of that illustrious band I well remember coming to Keighley just after that general Election.
Discussing the bitter campaign that had preceded the election, Willie Smith, the most stalwart of Keighley Socialists said “Well Ah’d never of thought it of Ahr Philip.” And another pioneer of those days, joiner Ernest Spedding added ”Nor would I, Many’s the time I’ve heard him speak on ‘For lack of vision, the people perish.’ And now he’s gone and lost his own vision.”
For Keighley people always had warm feelings and sincere personnel regard for Philip Snowdon, and these he reciprocated. After the cycling accident which brought on acute inflammation of the spine and left him permanently crippled, he left the cottage at Cowling after the death of his widowed mother, and settled in Keighley to serve the cause in which he had come to believe.


While he had lain on his back for almost a year he had studied the famous Fabian essays and other Socialist literature, and one evening he surprised the Radical Methodists of his native village by talking to them on “The religion of Socialism.”
He celebrated his entry into the recently formed Independent Labour Party by speaking at the Keighley branch in 1894. There after he became one of the party’s most popular propagandists, and never did a man more thoroughly deserve the pound a week that the ILP could afford to pay him.
Week after week he hobbled along country lanes and streets to and from railway stations, often covering more than a hundred miles a week. That was one reason why a home at Keighley was more convenient than one at Cowling.
So to Keighley he came in 1899, and enjoyed the warm fellowship of the local ILPers. As, indeed I did 30 years later. He served the people of he town on its council and school board, and his comrades in particular by editing their local propagandist paper, for which they rewarded him with an honorarium of 8s weekly.
It was only lack of money that prevented him from participating in a Parliamentary contest before 1900. Then he stood for Blackburn and polled the third highest vote of the 13 candidates sponsored by the Labour Representation Committee.


The next six years were amongst the busiest and most vital in his life. In 1902 he failed to secure victory at a by-election at Wakefield by only a thousand votes, and from 1903 to 1906 he was national chairman of the ILP.
In 1905 he married a Fabian teacher from Harrogate. Ethel Annakin, at Otley – making it secluded and secret for fear his comrades should turn it into a Socialist demonstration.
He took his seat on the benches at Westminster as the member for Blackburn. Twenty-eight other Labour MPs had also been returned, and so the Parliamentary Labour Party was born.
With men like Philip in it, it soon became a lust infant, and he was among the lustiest. His colleagues enjoyed the shafts of sarcasm he hurled at their opponents, who in turn neither relished his blunt Yorkshire speech nor his devastating and remorseless logic. Never were Parliamentary debates read in Keighley with more interest, as “Ahr Philip” used his talents to suit the occasion.
There were two interludes in Philip Snowden’s early entry into the Parliamentary area that gave immense delight to his admirers. The first one was in July 1923, when he opened the full-dress debate in the House of Commons on a motion: “That in view of the failure of the capitalist system to adequately utilise and organise natural resources and productive power, or provide the necessary standard of life for vast numbers of the population, and believing that the cause of this failure lies in the private ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, that house declares that legislative effort should be directed to the gradual super session of the capitalist system by an industrial and social order based on the public ownership and democratic control of the instruments of production and distribution”


The second occasion was when after the 1924 election, having been put in charge of the Treasury, he introduced his “Housewife’s Budget” truly epoch making as iniating the first real attempt to give the people the food without making the consumption of it a form of taxation.
But between these two memorable occasions the modern world had seen its first major holocaust. Snowden had opposed the 1914-1918 war, not on absolutist pacifist grounds, but because he considered it was a result of a false foreign policy, and what diplomacy had done wrong diplomacy could put right without the massacre of millions of the human race.
So on every conceivable occasion he urged that peace be negotiated, and that those who had conscientious objection to taking part in the slaughter should not be maltreated.
He never flinched from facing hostile audiences and paid the price when Lloyd George rushed his “Coupon Election” in December 1918. With other anti-war MP’s including MacDonald and Fred Jowett, Snowden was absent from Westminster for more that four years.


So it was back to the platform and the pen. There will doubtless be many in Keighley who treasure the twopenny pamphlets that he wrote during this time, and appreciate how he took to heart the advice old Johnny Coe had given him years before. “Mak it simple, Philip lad, Noa Karl Marx an’ surplus value an’ that soart o’ stuff.”
When the second minority Labour Government took office in 1929 he once more became Chancellor and introduced the second of his four Budgets.
Unfortunately the slump that had devastated the American economy spread so rapidly to the old world that old-fashioned remedies were of no avail. The crisis in Britain grew rapidly worse, and the MacDonald Government dithered and dallied.


Then came the split which tore the Labour Party in two. Snowden went with MacDonald into the National Government and resorted to cuts and taxation increases.
Illness having previously decided him against contesting another election he transferred to the House of Lords as Viscount Snowden of Ickornshaw.
He soon discovered that his new allies were alien to his own basic ideas. They threw out the land values clauses of his Finance Bill and they threw out his purist Free Trade theories at the Ottawa conference. So he quitted the political arena and retired to Tilford Surrey where he died on May 15, 1937
At least one of his critics and a former comrade can still be grateful that he lived and worked amongst us West Riding folk. Particularly do I honour him for his insistence that Socialism is impossible without industrial democracy.

This photograph was taken outside the Methodist Church on May 17, 1924 when Cowling folk honoured the “local lad” who became Chancellor of the Exchequer. The future Viscount and Lady Snowden were presented with a silver rose bowl and two vases. It was one of the greatest days of his life.
The Weaver's Lad who became a Viscount
The Dalesman: Febuary 1984. Supplied by: Dr John Laycock, Hants.
PHILIP SNOWDEN, who was born and spent his early years in the Pennine village of Cowling, beside a major road leading from the West Riding into Lancashire, was a man without frills. Blunt, shrewd, at times obstinate, he was no better, no worse, than his forebears, who over the long years had to fight for everything they wanted. His father, John Snowden, was one of many hundreds of handloom weavers robbed of their independent way of life by industrialisation.

Philip, the weaver's lad who became Viscount Snowden of Ickornshaw, was a fighter himself. He fought against poverty,against ill health, and against a system in which there did not appear to him any relationship between work and its rewards. He was a Socialist in an old Liberal stronghold. He did not like the idea of revolution or class war; his was a moral creed, developed in the fervent worship of Wesleyan Methodism at Ickornshaw.

Snowden called himself a "stolid, unimaginative, unpoetical, truthful Yorkshireman" ! At first glance, he did not seem to have
anything heroic about him. He was small, spare, with a lean, ascetic face (someone likened the face to that of Cardinal Manning!). A frail body was supported on sticks for over 40 years.

Cowling straddles at the sides of the main road. It consists mainly of mills and terraced houses that over the years have soaked up grime as well as rain. I was there on a bright day. The masonry, with sunshine full upon it, and a blue sky beyond, looked black. It gives the impression that Cowling is a dirty place, which it is not. Local people, "forever

scrattin' ", keep the interiors of their homes immaculate. They cannot be held responsible
for over a century of industrial pollution.

Cowling is, in fact, the modern bit, dating back to the Industrial Revolution, and there were no planners then to object to linear development. Ickornshaw, the older place, snuggles in a hollow. Middleton, on the hilltop beyond, is a curiosity - a single busy street in a country setting. Once there were shops as well as houses: now Middleton is entirely residential. Philip Snowden was born in a house at the end of the street.

A Busy Street. It was something of an adventure to walk down Middleton for this street was full of interesting people, with lots of children at play. I found the variety of architectural styles quite breathtaking, and I got the impression that Middleton had grown piecemeal. A local lady mentioned the stone quarries. Some of the quarrymen would be accommodated in this busy little street which juts into the countryside.

Middleton narrows into a ginnel. The last house on the right, as a plaque proclaims, was the birthplace of Philip Snowden. I wandered down the ginnel and entered a large field, where cattle were grazing, and a party of Pennine Wayfarers were striding briskly southwards.

John and Matha Snowden, their two daughters and young Philip had four rooms at their disposal. Their small home also had a large outbuilding where the winter fuel could
be stored. John Snowden had a lively mind. He immersed himself in good literature, and he enjoyed meeting his friends, discussing politics, promoting radical ideas. John Snowden had
been a handloom weaver, and was now weaving at a loom in one of the impersonal sheds that had sprung up at Cowling.

Martha Snowden was "a fair-haired little woman, something of a chatterbox - and faddy." This assessment was given to me by a

lady who had heard it uttered by her mother. "Faddy" means fastidious, and in this Martha was typical of women in the mill towns. It was as though they were determined that none of the filth from the mill would cross their threshholds. Martha was"always clean, always scrattin' about."

She also had wanderlust. It took her no further than her native district, but it meant that the Snowden family did not spend much time in one spot. They moved regularly. Most cottages were rented in those days.

Philip Snowden did not remember much about Middleton; his formative years were spent in a cottage on Nan Scar, where he lived with his mother. It was here, under the kitchen lamp, that he and some young cronies could gather of a night. It is said that when a friend told Philip they must have moved 29 times, he lapsed into his broadest dialect and said: "Nay, th'art wrang. It's nobbut twenty-four."

A Top-ender. Having been born in Middleton, Philip was a Top-ender, as compared to the native of Cowling proper, who was a Low-ender. Middleton has declined in status,

for once it had four shops - a Co-operative store, "Mrs. Hill's" (which was also the area's first post office), a butcher's shop and - for a time - a fish and chip shop.

A resident of the street mentioned the occasion, just 60 years before, when Philip Snowden returned to his native village in triumph, having become Chancellor of the

Exchequor in the Labour Government. There must have been some misgivings at that time, for most of the local people were staunchly Liberal. To the credit of all, the local lad was made welcome.

The lady who mentioned the visit, and who was just 10 years old at the time, said that Philip was driven up the street in a fine car. Theschoolroom of Bar Chapel, largest meeting place in the village, was packed for the speeches of welcome and Philip Snowden's response. Many people could not be accommodated, and some of those inside afterwards complained that they could not hear all that was said.

The United Methodists built Bar Chapel - a huge structure, now demolished, that had been intended to cater for a village of much greater size. Philip Snowden's family went to Ickornshaw Chapel. Indeed, Philip was 11 years old when the present chapel was built. Though it was constructed at a low level, near the stream, it dominates Ickornshaw by its sheer bulkiness.

Philip's father was the Sunday School superintendent; the whole family was expected to attend the Sunday services and mid-week meetings, helping to sustain the lusty hymn-singing, offering prayer and testimony in a way that characterised the Methodism of the times.

It is said that Philip, as a child, was "a little monkey". He was not always keen to go to chapel, and so was given the choice ofattending or staying at home. If he remained at home, he would be locked in! They had known he was "up to something" since the day he had stood on the wall of the Chapel and made his first political speech!

Stayed at School. The 1870 Education Act led to the establishment of a school at Cowling. Hitherto, if parents wished their children to receive some education they took them to the Baptist chapel on the hill, or to the Quakers at Lothersdale. When the council school was erected, the weekly charge was 2d for a young child and 3d for an older child.

The certificated teacher, John Heaton, later commented that Philip was the best scholar he had ever had. Such a comment would not be unexpected in view of Philip's rise to distinction, though as a small boy he refused to leave school and go to the mill, and in due course he became a pupil teacher at Cowling, being taught by Mr. Heaton from 7.a.m. until school time; taking a class of children during the day: and spending his evenings on extra study.

By the age of 15, Philip Snowden was familiar with a wide range of subjects, including Latin and French. Then theSnowdens left the village, not because they had grown weary of the place but because the mill
at which father, mother and daughters worked closed through bankruptcy. Work was sought in Nelson.

Philip Snowden avoided a job in the mill; he began work as an insurance clerk. He also attended some political meetings in a townwhich was so politically charged it was being called Little Moscow. Philip joined the Civil Service; and eventually he was stationed in Plymouth. He fell off his cycle became dreadfully lame and spent the next year lying on his back at the home in Cowling to which his mother had returned. (It may be that the lameness was caused by an obscure disease of the spine; it was convenient to attribute his lameness to the accident).

The year spent lying on what the Methodists would have called "a bed of sickness" was well spent. Philip who deeply respected work andachievement, studied hard, and persevered with his disability. In due course, he managed to walk with difficulty.

His long political career began when he joined the Independent Labour Party in its formative period; he married Ethel Annakin, apolitical campaigner; he became M.P. for Blackburn. Returning to Cowling to visit his mother, he was preceded by a brass band playing "See the Conquering Hero Comes". He gave a speech - in the Liberal Club. The school was closed for the day.

Philip Snowden, the apostle of Socialism and Peace. He leant heavily on a stick, and his face was twisted with pain. He had only recently come from a sick bed, and it was during this period of enforced leisure that he had mastered the contents of Socialist text-books and become a passionate convert.

" He brought to politics something of the emotional quality of religion. The weavers of Blackburn crowded to his meetings, held by the spell of his oratory, and although he had no party organisation to help him, and no party funds, and was the representative of a party Which seemed to consist of a few wild voices crying in the wilderness, he put up a fierce and memorable fight . . ."

H. G. Wells was to write of "a slender, twisted figure supporting itself on a stick and speaking with a fire that was altogether revolutionary. It was Mr. Philip Snowden, the Member for Blackburn."

Philip's political convictions, and his puritan austerity, derived from religious teaching. When he was Chancellor, not a drop of intoxicating liquor crossed the threshhold of No. 11. Yet he was not without a sense of humour. In 1932, when addressing the Press Club in London, he said: "I have often been criticised by you gentlemen for my pronunciation of certain words." And he told the story of a Southern schoolmistress who took up a positon in Yorkshire. She did not care for the way in which a child would say "putten" instead of "put", and declared: "Tom has
putten putten where he should have putten put ."

Philip Snowden had many loyal friends, and many confirmed enemies. A political writer of the 1930s noted: "Mr. Snowden gives the impression of being a kindly man notwithstanding his splenetic phrases. He will project his envenomed darts with a wistful and disarming smile." It it said that when he was a civil servant in the Excise, a lady lodged a complaint against him for incivility. He pleaded in defence that he had never said a word. "No," replied the lady, "that was the worst of it, but you looked it!"

His final years in politics - which have been well documented elsewhere - were confused and bitter, as were the years of Labour Governments of the time. He was raised to the peerage and became Lord Snowden of Ickornshaw. He died in 1937, following a heart attack, at the age of 72.

The Memorial Cairn. Philip Snowden's ashes were scattered on Ickornshaw Moor, and when his wife Ethel died in 1951 her ashes were scattered in the same area.

I motored along byroads, and parked the car 300 yards from the memorial cairn. The last 100 yards was across typical Yorkshire moor, with a little heather, much coarse grass and "rush bobs" from which a snipe sprang with a sneeze of alarm.

I roused a sheep and its lamb from the shady side of the cairn, on which was written : " In this place, mingled with the soil, and near thefriends he loved, are the ashes of Philip Snowden, 1st Viscount of Ickornshaw, who lived his whole life in the service of the common people, and died in the love of his native land, on May 15th, 1937."

W. R. Mitchell
With acknowledgements to the older folk of Cowling who spoke so interestingly about Philip Snowden.
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