John Banfield

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John William Banfield

John William Banfield J.P., M.P. (August 1875 – 25 May 1945)[1] was a British trade unionist and Labour Party politician, who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Wednesbury from 1932 until his death in 1945.

Banfield was General Secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Operative Bakers, Confectioners and Allied Workers from 1915 until he retired in 1940.[2] He unsuccessfully contested the 1918 general election in Birmingham Aston. When the Labour Party unexpectedly gained control of Fulham Borough Council in 1919 they added Banfield to the Aldermanic bench to add political and trade union expertise.

Banfield was a government delegate representing the work people at Geneva from 1924 to 1925.

He was unsuccessful in Fulham West at a by-election in 1930 and at the 1931 general election.[3]

In 1932, the Conservative MP for Wednesbury, Viscount Ednam succeeded to the peerage as Earl of Dudley, triggering a by-election in July 1932. Banfield was selected as Labour's candidate, hoping to regain a seat which had been held by Labour from 1918 to 1931. After a campaign focusing on the means test for unemployment benefit (in a constituency with 12,000 unemployed), Banfield won the Wednesbury 1932 by-election. He was re-elected at the 1935 general election.[3]

In December 1936, he delivered an address, 'Sunday: An M.P.'s Convictions' at the Alliance Birthday Celebrations of the Imperial Alliance for the Defence of Sunday, arguing that Sunday should be a day of rest and worship.

In June 1937 he made a speech in Parliament, proposing the addition of a clause to the Factories Bill: Prohibition of night work in bakehouses.[4] His campaigning led to him being known as "the bakers' MP".

Banfield died aged 69, in Hammersmith, London of a heart attack shortly before the 1945 general election.

A block of council flats, William Banfield House in Munster Road, Fulham, SW6 was named after him.

His son, Frank Walter Banfield (1905-1970), served the borough for 26 years, as a councillor, Mayor of Fulham (1952-1953), Vice Chairman of the London County Council (1953-1954) and GLC member. He was an Alderman of the Greater London Council from 1964 until his death in 1970. Frank Banfield Park in Fulham Palace Road was named after him in October 1975.


  1. ^ "House of Commons constituencies beginning with "W" (part 2)". Leigh Rayment's House of Commons pages. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  2. ^ Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume III, 1919-1945. (Stenton, M. & Lees, S., 1979, p18)
  3. ^ a b Craig, F. W. S. (1983) [1969]. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949 (3rd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. 
  4. ^ Prohibition of night work in bakehouses.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Viscount Ednam
Member of Parliament for Wednesbury
Succeeded by
Stanley Evans