Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cyril Smith's Blue Plaque Threat to Rochdale Town Hall

ON Tuesday, Northern Voices (see post below 'Cyril Smith Doctoring With Intent') said:  'Such has been his (Cyril Smith's) influence in the town as a local hero that last year he was blessed by having a blue plaque erected to him on our famous Gothic-revival Town Hall, an award agreed in haste by the Rochdale Township committee.'  Yesterday Rochdale's Council bosses took down the plaque honouring Sir Cyril Smith after receiving threats. 

Colin Lambert, the Council leader, told M.E.N.:  'We make no judgement on the situation with Cyril Smith, but the strength of public feeling is such that we have been alerted to a potential threat to the town hall.' 

Given that Cyril had only been dead for just over a year, we then remarked '(t)hat must be something of a record given that it breaches the strict criteria guidelines recommended by English Heritage, a kind of extraordinary networking beyond the grave to overcome political opposition and the rule of 20-years after death.'  Had Rochdale Council not acted to take it down Northern Voices would have launched a campaign to have it removed.  We say this not because we accept all the allegations against Cyril Smith but because English Heritage has clear criteria that it applies in London and elsewhere and Cyril Smith did not meet these criteria:   The first bullet point of the English Heritage criteria is that 'a figure must have been dead for twenty years, or have passed the centenary of their birth, whichever is the earlier.'

Now some years ago Tameside Trade Union Council in Greater Manchester, nominated James Keogh and last year he was awarded a plaque that is now placed in Ashton Library.  James Keogh died fighting for a free Spain and democracy in 1938 in the Spanish Civil War.  He had been dead well over seventy years when he gained this honour, he was the son of a local binman born on 9 April 1915, the eldest of 11 children. He grew-up on Wellington Street and attended Gatefield Junior School and Christ Church before working as an apprentice at Pikes’ Tailors, formerly on Stamford Street in Ashton-under-Lyne.  James got his plaque only after much cogitation and debate, yet Cyril Smith received his commemoration rapidly after only one year.  This struck us at the time as an unwise decision, taken for reasons of politics, we now know it to have been utterly rash in the extreme.

There are still a few copies of printed version of NORTHERN VOICES No.13 available with the Bob Miller obituary inside following our decision to reprint it after the original print order sold out at the staging of the Sophie Lancaster play 'Black Roses' in September, at the Royal Exchange in Manchester; there is also a report on the Blue Plaque awarded to James Keogh of Ashton. NORTHERN VOICES No.12 with the Cyril Smith 'Instead of an Obituary' is also still available and may be obtained as follows:
Postal subscription: £5 for the next two issues (post included). Cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' at c/o 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
Tel.: 0161 793 5122.


J said...

Good stuff. No need for salad cream, then!!

N.D. said...

Hi Brian,

Cyril Smith, a nasty git, if ever there was one. But again he is dead as well as all the other easy targets. Funny how it's okay for the names of dead "abusers" to be allowed out for the mob to fume over, but no one still alive has been exposed to date.

And I must say that I was most surprised by Lord McAlpine whining about how his reputation has been trashed. I thought that had happened many years ago when he joined the Tory party. Still £185K and legal expenses off of the BBC will probably sooth his ruffled feathers.

Kindest Regards, N.D.

PS Can we choose some other salad dressing as a final lubricant of choice during conflict resolution situations?

Ned Ludd said...

Smith's reputation is still being protected. Makes you wonder how many more were involved?

After all, what have they got to hide now he's dead?