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1923 - 100 Years Ago



The results of the 1923 General Election in the UK. What would be the result if we had another one tomorrow?

The general election of 1923 was fought on the issue of free trade versus protectionism. The Conservatives, led by Stanley Baldwin, won the most seats, but Labour, led by Ramsay MacDonald, and H. H. Asquith's reunited Liberal Party gained enough seats to produce a hung parliament. MacDonald formed the first ever Labour government with informal support from the Liberals. Rather than trying to bring the Liberals back into government, Asquith's motivation for permitting Labour to enter power was that he hoped they would prove to be incompetent and quickly lose support. Being a minority, MacDonald's government only lasted ten months and another general election was held in October 1924, resulting in a Conservative landslide led by Stanley Baldwin. What will happen here in 2024, or will there be a snap election this year?

In Stoke, polling started eight am in the School (no village hall then), and continued until nine pm, this being an hour longer than at previous polls. A Mr. Crump sat as the returning-officer. The Taunton Courier reported: "Fortunately, it proved a fine day, with  cold, dry air, which was a great boon after the recent heavy rains. Colonel Gault arrived for a short time soon after nine a.m. and Mr. & Mrs. Hope Simpson came between four and five p.m., and had cup of tea in the village. A good number of cars and vehicles were busy throughout the day taking electors to and from the polling station. Things were brisk after the day's work was over, but quietness and good temper prevailed." It seems that both candidates toured the whole constituency during the day.


Sir John Hope Simpson (pictured here) won the seat for the Liberals but was defeated in the 1924 election, when even Lloyd George's fortunes could not prop up the Liberal Party.

Local Election

District Council elections were held in the same year, and according to the newspaper report it was a very 'gentlemanly' contest: "Election Day. An election to the District Council took place on Monday, April 23rd, in the National School-room, to fill the vacancy caused the death Mr. H. M. Hembrow [Holly Farm]. The candidates were:—Mr. Edmund Boobyer, Lees Farm, willow' merchant; and Mr. Reginald Garland, of Curload Farm, farmer. The contest was fought with keen interest and on no party lines. Conservatives, Liberals, Nonconformists, and Churchmen giving their vote irrespective of religious or political differences. Nine cars were busy taking electors to the poll, both sides conveying each others supporters. From the beginning it was the most friendly contest ever fought in Stoke Gregory. The poll was declared about nine o’clock the same evening, the result being as follows;—Boobyer, 295; Garland, 161; majority for Boobyer, 134. After the result was made known both candidates thanked their supporters, Mr. Boobyer congratulating Mr. Garland on the plucky fight he had put up."

"STOKE ST. GREGORY. After Many Years—A remarkable story of a dream that led to the recovery of a purse of money lost 18 years ago comes from Stoke St. Gregory. and is related by a well known farmer, Mr Frank Hembrow. Hunthan Farm. Eighteen years ago, when a boy going to school, Mr. Hembrow lost a purse containing four silver coins (a half-crown, two florins, and a shilling), also a half-penny, ten farthings, and locket. A few days ago he commenced clean out ditch by the roadside, but had no thought of looking for his long-lost purse. That night, however, he was strangely reminded of it in dream. He dreamt that would find his purse in the ditch the next day. Upon starting work the following morning he was very curious to see if the dream would come true, and decided to look at every shovelful of mud removed from the ditch. Upon turning up the second shovelful he saw something embedded in the mud, and carefully removing it found it was the lost purse - the leather rotted, it is true, but still containing every coin and the locket as on the day it disappeared. The contents, in fact, appeared very little the worse for the 18 years interment. The story of the dream and the discovery is a fruitful topic of discussion among the country folk of the district, many of whom have a strong belief in omens."



Back in 1905, Frank Hembrow lost his purse on his way to school. Why he should have had so much money in it (today's equivalent of nearly £60!)? This is the story of how he found it 18 years later, as reported in the Taunton Courier.

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