Sunday, 27 September 2009

Herbert Wolfe - Liberal Campaigner

Yesterday's Northern Echo carries a review by Chris Lloyd of the newly published autobiography of Harold Evans, widely regarded as the greatest of all British newspaper editors. By co-incidence, I had been discussing this very book with Michael Meadowcroft, the former Liberal MP, at Bournemouth earlier in the week.

Harold Evans edited the Northern Echo for four years. Perhaps he is best known during this period for his campaign to gain a posthumous pardon for Timothy Evans, wrongly hanged for the murder of his infant daughter. The real murderer was John Christie of 10 Rillington Place, the name given to the famous feature film which re-enacted his murderous career.

It was Herbert Wolfe, a Darlington industrialist, who brought the case of Timothy Evans to the attention of Harold Evans.
The case played a prominent part in the successful campaign to abolish capital punishment in this country and retains an iconic place in our legal history.

What Chris fails to mention, perhaps because it is of no real relevance to the story, is that Herbert Wolfe, as well as being a prominent Darlington industrialist, was an active member of the Liberal Party in the town. Liberalism in Darlington has a rich history, including several prominent members of the Pease family, such as Henry Pease a former MP for the South Durham constituency. Herbert Wolfe is still remembered as part of that tradition by the more senior members of the local party.

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