James Shaw Maxwell

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Shaw Maxwell in the 1890s.

James Shaw Maxwell (1855–1928), known as Shaw Maxwell, was a Scottish socialist activist.

Born in Glasgow, Maxwell joined the Liberal Party and worked as a lithographer and journalist. He left the Liberals in 1880 in opposition to their local opposition to Irish nationalism, and became a leading supporter of Henry George and an activist in the Scottish Land Restoration League.[1]

Maxwell stood unsuccessfully for Glasgow Blackfriars and Hutchesontown at the 1885 general election.[1] In 1888, he attended the founding meeting of the Scottish Labour Party and was appointed as the first chairman of its executive. Along with most of the organisation's members, he joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) on its formation in 1893, and served as its first Secretary.[2] He stood again in Blackfriars and Hutchesontown at the 1895 general election, this time for the ILP, and again without success. However, he did manage to get elected to Glasgow City Council in 1896. He led a successful campaign for free libraries in the city, and for the opening of museums and art galleries on Sundays, to increase the number of workers able to attend.[1]


  1. ^ a b c BAILIE JAMES SHAW MAXWELL, Who's Who in Glasgow 1909, Glasgow Digital Library
  2. ^ David Howell, British Workers and the Independent Labour Party, p.148
Party political offices
Preceded by
New post
Secretary of the Independent Labour Party
Succeeded by
Tom Mann