Bland, Richard

Socialist, born at Bamber Bridge who at the age of six moved to Nelson. He was educated at Railway Street Wesleyan Day School and until 1914 his energies were spent as a Sunday school teacher rather than in political work. He became a cotton weaver. A pacifist, with the introduction of conscription in1916 he joined the No Conscription Fellowship, forming a local branch. His refusal to be conscripted led to his being given a two-year prison sentence, spending his time learning Esperanto.

His war time experiences led to him becoming politically active, joining the Independent Labour Party in the late 1920s. At the same time he was elected a member of Nelson Town Council, and subsequently an alderman, serving for thirty-one years. Twice he was elected mayor, in 1938 and 1954; he resigned the office in 1955 over military participation in a local gala. He was an active member of the Nelson Weavers Association even after retirement in the late 1940s. At his death in October 1960 it was said that he had no enemies.

  • Alan & Lesley Fowler, The History of the Nelson Weavers Association (nd)

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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