1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lansbury, George

LANSBURY, GEORGE (1859-), English Socialist, was born Feb. 21 1859, at Halesworth, Suffolk, where his father was engaged as a sub-contractor on the railway line between Ipswich and Yarmouth. When he was seven years old the family moved to London, and his childhood was chiefly spent in Whitechapel. In 1880 he was married to Elizabeth Brine, daughter of Isaac Brine, timber merchant. In 1884 they went with their three older children to Australia, returning in 1885, and soon afterwards settling in Bow, where their home has been ever since. Lansbury worked in the business of his father-in-law and was one of the first members of the Gas Workers' and General Labourers' Union—now the National Union of General Workers. In 1921 he had been a member of this union for 30 years, and for the greater part of this time one of its trustees. He began his political life at the age of 15 as a keen Radical, but subsequently became a convinced Socialist, a member of the I.L.P. and a member of the National Executive of the Labour party. He was a member of the Church Socialist League from its inception. He was first elected a guardian in Bow in 1892, was elected to the Borough Council in 1901 and was mayor of Poplar in 1919-20. As a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law he signed the Minority Report. He sat for three years on the L.C.C. In 1910 he was elected Labour M.P. for Bow and Bromley. He resigned his seat in 1912, in order to recontest it as a supporter of women's suffrage, and was defeated. He was defeated again in the general election in 1918. In 1913 he was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for a speech made at the Albert Hall, but was released after some days of hunger strike. He had helped to found the first Daily Herald in 1912 as a Labour organ, and he became its editor in 1913. The Herald became a weekly in September 1914, and reappeared as a daily in March 1919, its policy being extremist and even Bolshevist. In this connexion Mr. Lansbury visited Russia in 1920 and was accorded an interview with Lenin.