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Item of the Month – June 2015

Ellen Wilkinson’s 1945 campaign leaflet

Ellen Wilkinson’s 1945 campaign leafletIn June 1945, MPs up and down the country were campaigning for seats in the first general election since 1935.  Parliament was dissolved officially on 15 June, after Churchill’s war coalition had been in power for five years.

World War II had caused devastation across the country, and many voters wanted to see a change in the way the country was being run.  Soldiers returning from the front did not want to live under the same conditions they had been under previously.

Ellen Wilkinson had been a junior minister during the war.  As MP of Jarrow, she was well aware of the need for social reform; nine years earlier, she had taken part in the Jarrow March down to London, joining over 200 men to petition the Prime Minister against the soaring unemployment and poverty that they suffered.

Her manifesto, on the reverse of the leaflet, demonstrates her commitment to the people of Jarrow by referencing the Jarrow March throughout.