Hemingway, William ('Bill')

Leeds PM, local politician and trade unionist, was born in east Leeds on 21 January 1880 and baptised at the Anglo-Catholic parish church of St Saviour's. After elementary education at the local Board school Bill joined his father at Waterloo Pit, subsequently working at other collieries, including Waterloo Haigh, Woodlesford. Beginning working life in the year of the 1893 miners' strike perhaps influenced his later commitment to trade unionism and Socialism.

The family moved to Hunslet, where Bill met Harriet Ramsden (1878-1946), and they were married on Christmas Day 1902 at Zion PM chapel, Joseph Street. They remained committed Methodists and teetotalers, and their children were baptised at Zion. Hemingway was greatly influenced by W.E. Clegg, William Ernest, Leeds PM Local Preachers and Vice-President of Conference in 1928 and 1940.

A Labour activist, Hemingway was Secretary of the Leeds (South) Constituency Labour Party, and was elected to the Hunslet Board of Guardians in 1911 and re-elected in 1913. He was elected to Leeds City Council for the East Hunslet Ward in 1915, holding the seat until 1925. He was appointed a JP in 1924 and an alderman in 1926, a post he retained until 1967. He was Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1934-35.

Hemingway was appointed a checkweighman at Water Haigh by the Yorkshire Miners' Association in 1922, and was therefore involved in the strike of 1926. As miners drifted back to work he was charged with intimidating a group of strike-breakers and was fined £30. This, however, did not diminish his popularity. He was knighted in 1965, and retired from the Council two years later, dying in Leeds on 30 May 1967. In the post-1945 redevelopment of Hunslet, Hemingway Court, Garth and Gardens perpetuate his memory.

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Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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