|Sir Richard Acland, Bt|
26 November 1906|
|Died||24 November 1990(aged 83)|
|Title||Acland Baronetcy of Columb John|
|Term||9 June 1939 – 24 November 1990|
|Predecessor||Francis, 14th Baronet|
|Successor||John, 16th Baronet|
|Spouse(s)||Anne Stella Alford|
Sir Richard Thomas Dyke Acland, 15th Baronet (26 November 1906 – 24 November 1990) was one of the founding members of the British Common Wealth Party. He had previously been a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) and joined the Labour Party in 1945. He was one of the founders of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
Acland was the son of Sir Francis Dyke Acland, 14th Baronet, a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP). Born on 26 November 1906 at Broadclyst, Devon, he was educated at Rugby School and Balliol College, Oxford, before becaming a barrister (admitted at the Inner Temple in 1930). He served as a lieutenant in the Royal Devon Yeomanry.
Acland stood for Parliament without success for Torquay at the 1929 general election. He was elected Liberal MP for Barnstaple at the 1935 election, having first contested the seat in the 1931 general election. He was a junior whip for the Liberals. He helped launch the Popular Front in December 1936. His politics changed course subsequently, as seen in the various pamphlets he wrote, and in 1942 he broke from the Liberals to found the socialist Common Wealth Party with J. B. Priestley, opposing the coalition between the major parties. He advocated public land ownership and donated his own large West Country estate at Killerton, Devon, to the National Trust.
The Common Wealth Party had shown signs during the Second World War of a breakthrough, especially in London and Merseyside, winning three by-elections. However, the 1945 general election was a severe disappointment. Only one Member of Parliament, Ernest Millington, was elected, and other figures left, some joining the Labour Party. Acland himself lost in Putney, where he came third. He then joined Labour and was selected to fight the Gravesend seat following the expulsion of the Labour member of parliament Garry Allighan from the party for making allegations of corruption. He won the Gravesend by-election of November 1947 with a majority of 1,675.
Back in Parliament, Acland served as Second Church Estates Commissioner 1950–51. In 1955, he resigned from Labour in protest against the party's support for the Conservative government's nuclear defence policy, and lost Gravesend standing as an independent the same year, allowing the Conservatives to take the seat, denying it to the new Labour candidate, Victor Mishcon. Soon after leaving parliament he took a job as a maths master at Wandsworth Grammar School in Sutherland Grove, new Southfields, London, with effect from September 1955. He was a successful and charismatic teacher, popular with his pupils. In 1957 he helped to form the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and was a senior lecturer in education at St. Luke's College of Education, Exeter, between 1959 and his retirement in 1974.
Acland married Anne Stella Alford, an architect, and together they had four sons, including John Dyke Acland. Having succeeded his father as baronet in 1939, Acland died in Exeter in 1990, at the age of 83. In September 2015 The National Trust commissioned a short drama entitled The Gift written by Eileen Dillon, telling the story of Sir Richard's decision to hand his estate over to The National Trust, staged at his former home Killerton House with actor James Cotter playing Sir Richard.
- Unser Kampf (Our Struggle), Penguin Books, 1940
- The Forward March, Allen & Unwin, 1941
- What It Will Be Like in the New Britain, Victor Gollancz, 1942
- How It Can Be Done, MacDonald, 1943
- Leigh Rayment's list of baronets [self-published source][better source needed]
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
- The Acland Papers at the University of Exeter
- Stenton, M., Lees, S. (1981). Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, volume iv (covering 1945–1979). Sussex: The Harvester Press; New Jersey: Humanities Press. ISBN 0-391-01087-5
- Neil Stockley, Richard Acland in Brack & Randall (eds.) Dictionary of Liberal Thought, Politico's 2007, pp3–5
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Richard Acland
- Portraits of Sir Richard Thomas Dyke Acland, 15th Bt at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- History of St Luke's, Exeter http://education.exeter.ac.uk/pages.php?id=133
J. B. Priestley
|Chairman of the Common Wealth Party
|Chairman of the Common Wealth Party
C. A. Smith
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Barnstaple
|Member of Parliament for Gravesend
|Baronetage of England|
Francis Dyke Acland
(of Columb John, Devonshire)
John Dyke Acland