by Jason Lever
Posted on Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:01:04 GMT
From housing to “Uncle Joe”
(This chapter is based on his correspondence file accessed in Hackney Archives.)
Some of the correspondence does relate to serious social issues raised by Hackney residents. Housing problems were most frequently cited, an issue of long concern for Solomon Lever throughout his life and political career, and crime and playground topics also featured in correspondence from local residents.
(At this visit to a factory, Solomon is third from the left.)
He was asked to open a new facility offering free chest x-rays for fourteen year olds and above at St Mary’s Hospital, Plaistow. This was a Mass X-Ray Survey, part preventative medicine and part epidemiological research, but clearly extra promotion was needed for ensuring take up, as well as encouraging messages in posters such as ‘there is no need to strip to the waist’.
He was unable to meet a delegation from the International Women’s Day Committee, heralding from Manchester. Some contemporary resonances may be found with their main cause that ‘the whole of our children’s schooling is now threatened by the education cuts’, because of budgets diverted to ‘arms for the boys in Korea, waiting for the armistice that never seems to come’.
On the international front, he also declined an invitation to a social and dance of the British Soviet Friendship Society – Hackney Branch, celebrating its 34th anniversary on 9 October 1951. He missed out on hearing from a member of the Quaker Peace Mission to Moscow, newly returned presumably with a slide show and messages of fraternity from “Uncle Joe” (not his brother, but Mr Stalin).
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