HELP TO ERECT A HEADSTONE FOR HERO EDWARD McHUGH IN FLAYBRICK MEMORIAL GARDENS, BIRKENHEAD
Friday 16 November at 5.30pm at Jack Jones House, 2 Churchill Way, Liverpool L3 8JX
Irishman Edward McHugh (1853-1915) was a radical trade unionist, labour movement activist, social reformer and land rights organiser.
Sadly, McHugh, co-founder of the National Union of Dock Labourers, lies in an unmarked grave in Flaybrick Memorial Gardens, Birkenhead.
If you’d like to get involved in plans to erect a suitable headstone and organise a remembrance event at his burial place then come along on 16 November.
Rural poverty forced McHugh’s family to emigrate from Co Tyrone to Glasgow where he witnessed urban destitution, particularly amongst the Irish who had fled the Great Famine of the 1840s and Scottish Highlanders who had moved south because of the Clearances.
McHugh became a firm supporter of Henry George who contended that the unequal distribution of land lay behind all social ills. As secretary of the Glasgow branch of the Irish Land League, McHugh’s talents as a speaker and organiser saw him chosen to lead a Land League mission to the Scottish Highlands were he helped direct the nascent crofters’ agitation along radical lines.
He later toured Scotland with Henry George himself, helping found the Scottish Land Restoration League, a body seeking to tax land values to their full extent, thereby abolishing landlordism.
McHugh’s talents were then harnessed by the Trades Union movement. He and Richard McGhee established the National Union of Dock Labourers, leading bitter strikes in 1889 in Glasgow and in Liverpool in 1890 and following which he settled in Birkenhead.
He spent the mid 1890s in New York City where he organised the American Longshoreman’s Union and preached George’s ‘Single Tax Gospel.’
In his death, McHugh was buried at Flaybrick Memorial Gardens. His headstone was destroyed by the German bombing of Merseyside in WWII. It is now time to make sure that McHugh’s final resting place is marked by a suitable headstone for a very great man.
Event organised by Luke Agnew (*), Unite workplace representative at Flaybrick Memorial Gardens and Mark Metcalf, journalist and author.
Also present at the meeting will be the Helsinki based academic Andrew Newby, an acknowledged expert on the life of McHugh. Invites to the Henry George Foundation and the radical miner Dave Douglass, author of A History of the Liverpool Waterfront 1850-1890, have been extended.
More details? Please contact Mark on 07392 852561 and/or Luke on 07792 110973
* It was Luke Agnew who found McHugh’s unmarked grave. For more on Luke see:- https://markwrite.co.uk/2018/09/03/luke-agnew-my-work-in-a-cemetery/
Mark Metcalf organises the Unite Rebel Road project at:- https://markwrite.co.uk/rebel-road/