Charles Dukes, 1st Baron Dukeston

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For the American astronaut, see Charles Duke.
Dukes, fifth from left top row, in a World War II patriotic poster

Charles Dukes, 1st Baron Dukeston (28 October 1881 – 14 May 1948)[1] was a British trade unionist and Labour Party politician.[2][3]

Born in Stourbridge, Dukes left school at the age of eleven, taking up work as an errand boy.[2] When his family moved to Warrington, he joined working in a forge.[2] He subsequently had a number of casual jobs throughout north west England, including working on the Manchester Ship Canal.[2]

In 1909 his career as a trade union official began when he was elected secretary of the Warrington branch of the National Union of Gasworkers. He was a founding member of the British Socialist Party, and was elected to the party's national executive in 1914.[2] During the First World War he was a conscientious objector, serving some time in prison.[2] He became a district secretary in what had become the National Union of General Workers. From 1934 to 1946, Dukes was General Secretary of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers. From 1946 to 1947 he was President of the Trades Union Congress.[2][3] In 1947 he was appointed a director of the Bank of England.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

At the 1923 general election, Dukes was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Warrington in Lancashire, narrowly defeating the sitting Conservative MP Alec Cunningham-Reid.[4] When the First Labour Government fell in 1924, Dukes lost his seat in the resulting 1924 general election, unseated by his predecessor Cunningham-Reid.[4]

However, at the 1929 general election, when Cunningham-Reid abandoned Warrington and stood unsuccessfully in Southampton,[5] Dukes was returned again to the House of Commons. When Labour split in 1931 over the handling of budgetary response to the Great Depression, Dukes was defeated in the subsequent general election, and did not stand for election to the House of Commons again.[4]

In 1942 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 1946 was appointed an adviser to the Paris Peace Conference.[2]

He was ennobled in 1947 as Baron Dukeston, of Warrington in the County Palatine of Lancaster,[6] and was an active Labour Party peer.[2] He died the following year in a London hospital, aged 66, without an heir, and the title became extinct.[2] He was buried in Chesham Bois, Buckinghamshire, close to his home in Amersham.[3][7]


  1. ^ "Historical list of MPs: House of Commons constituencies beginning with "W" (part 1)". Leigh Rayment's House of Commons pages. Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Obituary: Lord Dukeston. A Former President Of The T.U.C.". The Times. 15 May 1948. p. 6. 
  3. ^ a b c d "DUKESTON, 1st Baron". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 267. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  5. ^ Craig, op. cit, page 243
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 37921. p. 1497. 1 April 1947.
  7. ^ "Court Circular". The Times. 20 May 1948. p. 6. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Alec Cunningham-Reid
Member of Parliament for Warrington
Succeeded by
Alec Cunningham-Reid
Preceded by
Alec Cunningham-Reid
Member of Parliament for Warrington
Succeeded by
Noel Goldie
Trade union offices
Preceded by
John Beard and Frank Wolstencroft
Trades Union Congress representative to the American Federation of Labour
With: Bill Holmes
Succeeded by
Joe Hall and Jimmy Rowan
Preceded by
Will Thorne
General Secretary of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers
Succeeded by
Tom Williamson
Preceded by
George Hicks
Chairman of the Trades Councils' Joint Consultative Committee
1937 – 1938
Succeeded by
John Marchbank
Preceded by
Ebby Edwards
President of the Trades Union Congress
Succeeded by
George Walker Thomson
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Dukeston