18th September 1942

In the “Standard” tonight is an account of an address given to the Colchester Brotherhood last Sunday, by Stokes, M.P. for Ipswich.  I should very much have liked to have heard it.  Cannot imagine why a man like Stokes should address a little brotherhood meeting in a back slum like Colchester.  But he did, and he spoke his mind.  He said this was not a peoples’ war, but a war between governments run by huge vested interests, and that millions would be sorry if it ever ended.  He hoped we should eventually get total disarmament.  (Government speakers keep on reiterating that England will never disarm again).  Whenever I hear of a speech by Stokes I always feel hopeful.  Wonder why he has not been arrested?

Richard Stokes had served in the First World War and was a critic of the area strategic bombing policy employed during the Second World War.

Finally settled Joanna [Round]’s wedding present today – cutglass jug and four glasses to match.  Cost £5-5-6.  Clouds tonight, and no planes.  Such a relief.  This gift was to be from Joanna's colleagues in the War Agricultural Committee Office at Colchester.  More details on Joanna Round's engagement and wedding can be found in the book: 'E.J. Rudsdale's Journals of Wartime Colchester'.


Anonymous said...


A very interesting entry - obviously the comment

...back slum like Colchester.

jumps out of the screen! It seems Rudsdale interest in the place was more to do with its history.

I was also interested to learn of Richard Stokes, who I had not heard of before (this surprises me as my maternal grandfather and his father were very active in the Labour Party in Clacton, my grandfather assisting in the election campaigns in the 1950s when Shirley Williams made her first attempt to become an MP in the Harwich constituency.)

Mike Dennis

Anonymous said...


By the way - they spent the equivalent of £209.15 on the wedding present!

Mike Dennis

Robin King said...

What could Rudsdale have had in mind when he used the words "back slum" of Colchester? The term is very odd to me. The MP was after all from Ipswich, which was then (I would think) very similar in terms of the type of its working-class (sorry about the non-PC term) buildings. But "slum", hm?

E J Rudsdale said...

Many thanks Robin and Mike for your comments on today's post. My assumption was that Rudsdale felt that Richard Stokes's views deserved a bigger audience beyond that of Colchester or Ipswich and that he was surprised that the MP spoke to such a small audience in a less prominent part of the town. Presumably, Stokes would have been less likely to have been invited to speak at a City Hall or Town Hall, when his views were not in agreement with those of the National Government.

Rudsdale was often outspoken in his diary and his use of the word 'slum' is clearly incorrect in relation to Colchester and I don't believe it is what he really thought of the town as the rest of his diary testifies. However, whilst it is a term which we would apply cautiously today his words also have to be viewed in their historical context and the heirachical nature of society at the time. CP