Lee, Peter

Trade unionist, born at Trindon Grange, Co. Durham on 20 July 1864, of gypsy ancestry. His working life began at the age of 9 in a cotton mill. He went down a coal mine for the first time in 1874 and for many years lived a roving life, working as a miner in various parts of northern England, South Africa and the USA. He was virtually illiterate until early manhood. Converted in 1888, he became a PM local preacher, consistently proclaiming that the Christian faith could not be divorced from social concern and urging the need for service in the community. Education, chapel membership and a settled life style became the basis of his later achievements. He rose through the ranks to become General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association in 1930 and President of the Mineworkers Federation in 1932. He became Chairman of the Durham County Council in 1919. and his selfless work on behalf of the people of Co. Durham in improving living standards was celebrated in the 1950s by the naming of Peterlee new town after him. He died at Durham on 16 June 1935.

  • J. Lawson, Peter Lee (1936)
  • Oxford DNB


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Entry written by: GEM and NADS
Category: Person
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