Hodges, Frank

First name/s: Frank
Last name: Hodges
Known names / nicknames:
Date of birth: 30/05/1887
Year of birth: 1887

Life before Ruskin

Date and place of birth: Woolaston, Gloucestershire, on 30 April 1887

Family: Hodges was the son of Thomas Hodges, and Louisa (née ?)

Work: ODNB states that he began work as ‘an ordinary collier’ after leaving school, but does not say where or when. Wikipedia states Hodges worked at the Powell Tillery Pit in Abertillery, from age 14.

Politics/trade union activity: Wikipedia states membership of the Independent Labour Party and that mining officials sponsored his night school attendance.

Trade Union membership (at time of entry to Ruskin) NUM

Life at Ruskin

Dates at Ruskin: 1909

Source of funding: Union sponsorship (ODNB unspecified)

Campaigns/political activity: Involved in the establishment of the breakaway Central Labour College

Subjects studied at Ruskin: Unknown.

Dissertation: Unknown.

Qualification: Unknown, if any.

Life after Ruskin

Education: No further mentioned.

Work: After leaving the International Federation of Miners (see below), Hodges was a director of a number of companies, including the Central Electricity Board (appointed 1926, source: Wikipedia), the Securities Management Trust (a subsidiary of the Bank of England funding inter-war industrial reconstruction), and was chairman of the Glasgow Iron and Steel Company (no dates supplied on the ODNB).

Politics/trade union activity: In 1912, Hodges was miners’ agent for the Garw valley, and associated with worker intellectuals around Noah Ablett, ‘challenging the conciliatory policies of the South Wales Miners’ Federation (SWMF), and advocating syndicalism and workers’ control. Hodges, however, was never so radically minded, preferring the more moderate approach of guild socialism’ (Davies, ODNB). In 1918, Hodges was elected as secretary of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) in the fifth round of the national ballot, defeating Ablett in the process of nomination by SWMF. As such, he was a member of the Sankey commision (1919) that recommended nationalisation of the mines. After the mines were returned to private ownership on 1 April 1921, and the ensuing three-month lock-out, a conciliatory gesture by Hodges at a meeting with MPs on 14 April 1921 (for the federation to consider waiving the miners’ twin demands for a national wages board and a national pool of labour, in the interests of achieving a temporary agreement) enabled the federation’s allies in the railway and transport workers unions (the Triple Alliance) to vacillate with the suggestion of further negtiations, and then (the following day) to break their promise of ancillary strike action. Hodges suggestion was viewed as an act of betrayal by the federation executive (Wikipedia). In 1923, however, he became Labour MP for Lichfield, Staffordshire, holding the position of civil lord of the Admiralty in the first Labour government, but was defeated at the following general election in 1924, and then became secretary of the International Federation of Miners (1925–1927). From here, he coordinated opposition to proposals (emanating from the UK) for the creation of an all-embracing (multi-trade) international trade union. In 1925, he gave evidence to the Samuel commission suggesting British miners should work longer hours.

Family: Marriage to Henrietta Carter of Abertillery around 1912; one daughter, Väninna

Place & date of death: Ruthin Castle, Denbighshire, 3 June 1947

Date of death: 03/06/1947
Year of death: 1947

Achievements / Publications

Elected as a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society (sometime before 1918?)

Nationalisation of the Mines (1920) published by Leonard Parsons, London, available at http://www.archive.org/stream/nationalisationo00hodguoft#page/n5/mode/2up [accessed 23 November 2013]

My Adventures as a Labour Leader (1924) published by G Newnes (location?)

Material in archives or already published articles


Notes on Image/s

Comment of contributor/s and sources

Davies K. (2004), ‘Hodges, Frank (1887–1947)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press, available at http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/48757 [accessed 23 November 2013].

See Wikipedia for supplementary material (items stated): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Hodges_%28trade_unionist%29 [accessed 23 November 2013]


Carolyn Smith

created 08/11/2013 at 3:37 pm, updated 24/11/2013 at 3:50 pm

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