Len Murray, Baron Murray of Epping Forest

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Murray
of Epping Forest

OBE PC
General-Secretary of the TUC
In office
1973–1984
Preceded by Vic Feather
Succeeded by Norman Willis
Assistant General-Secretary of the TUC
In office
1969–1973
Preceded by Vic Feather
Succeeded by Norman Willis
Personal details
Born Lionel Hodskinson
(1922-08-02)2 August 1922
Hadley, Shropshire
Died 20 May 2004(2004-05-20) (aged 81)
Loughton, Essex
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Other political
affiliations
Communist
Spouse(s) Heather née Woolf m. 1945 (later Heather, The Lady Murray of Epping Forest)[1]
Children Four, including David Murray

Lionel Murray, Baron Murray of Epping Forest, OBE, PC (2 August 1922 – 20 May 2004) was a British Labour politician and trade union leader.

Early life[edit]

Murray was born in Hadley, Shropshire, the son of a young unmarried woman, Lorna Hodskinson, and was brought up by a local nurse, Mary Jane Chilton.[2] He attended Wellington Grammar School in Wellington, Shropshire and read English at Queen Mary College, London, but left after a year because of the emphasis on Anglo-Saxon language. He briefly became a teacher but found he was unsuitable and then joined the British Army.

Army[edit]

Murray was commissioned in the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in April 1943 and took part in the Normandy landings on D-Day. Six days later Murray was badly wounded and in October 1944 was invalided out of the army with the rank of lieutenant.[3]

Demobilisation[edit]

Murray worked at an engineering works in Wolverhampton as storekeeper, before leaving to sell The Daily Worker on street corners and joining the Communist Party. While selling The Daily Worker, he encountered his former headmaster, who informed him he was wasting his time. Determined to improve himself, shortly afterwards Murray gained a place at New College, Oxford where he graduated with a First in PPE after two years' study under tutors including future MP Dick Crossman and Sir John Hicks.[4]

Career[edit]

Murray started as a manager for a Liverpool catering firm. He was a Trades Union Congress (TUC) employee from 1947, when he joined as an assistant in the economics department. Seven years later he was promoted to head of the department. He was elected assistant general-secretary in 1969.

In 1970 he was invited to deliver the Marlow (Scotland) Lecture to the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. He chose the subject Trade Unions and the State - 1964 to 1970 in Retrospect.[5]

He became General Secretary of the TUC in 1973, leading it during the Winter of Discontent and confrontations with Margaret Thatcher's government.

Personal life[edit]

Murray married Heather Woolf, a nurse, in 1945. The couple had two daughters and two sons, the younger of whom, David, pursued a successful career in the Royal Air Force.[6] They lived in Loughton, Essex.

Murray served as a TUC officer until his retirement in 1984, three years early. Upon his retirement in early May 1984, he made the following statement - "There are places to go, books to read, flowers to smell and trees to look at. I would like to walk through Epping Forest".

He also served as a Methodist local preacher.[7] Murray died in hospital in 2004 from emphysema and pneumonia.

Honours[edit]

Murray was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1966 New Year Honours.[8]

Sworn of the Privy Council in 1976,[9] he was created a life peer as Baron Murray of Epping Forest, of Telford in the County of Shropshire, on 14 February 1985.[10]

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1922–1966: Mr Len Murray
  • 1966–1976: Mr Len Murray OBE
  • 1976–1985: The Rt Hon. Len Murray OBE
  • 1985–2004: The Rt Hon. The Lord Murray of Epping Forest OBE PC

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Vic Feather
Assistant General-Secretary of the TUC
1969–1973
Succeeded by
Norman Willis
Preceded by
Vic Feather
General-Secretary of the TUC
1973–1984
Succeeded by
Norman Willis