Keir Hardie

Keir Hardie

Original Name James Keir Hardie
Holytown, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Death 26 Sep 1915 (aged 59)
Glasgow, Glasgow City, Scotland
Burial Cumnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland
Memorial ID 95003758 · View Source
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Social Reformer. He is known as "The Forefather of the Trade Unions Movement". He was born into the hardships of a Scottish working class family, and with the help of his mother he taught himself to read and write. His background and his Christian faith built a character which sought from an early age to help his fellow man. Keir Hardy worked in the coal mines from the age of 10 and by the age of 20 was a skilled practical miner. As a caring Christian evangelist, Keir Hardy learned the art of preaching. This gave him the confidence for public speaking and his fellow miners saw him as someone who could confidently speak up on their behalf. Because of his support for his fellow man, mine owners saw Hardy as a trouble maker and banned him from the workforce in the Lanarkshire mines. This led to Keir Hardy moving, in pre-union days, into the early leadership of organising the workforce. Keir Hardy was invited to move to organising the workforce in the Ayrshire pits and moved to the Cumnock area which became home for the remainder of his life. As a means of making money he became a journalist on a local Cumnock Liberal-supporting newspaper which led Hardy to join the Liberal Party. Subsequently he determined that the Liberals would not deliver needed reforms for the working man and in 1888 became a founding member of the original Scottish Labour Party. In 1892 he was invited to stand for the English parliamentary constituency of West Ham South and won his first term as a Member of Parliament. The following he, with others, formed the UK-wide Independent Labour Party. In 1900 Hardie organised a meeting of various trade unions and socialist groups and they agreed to form a Labour Representation Committee which was to become the modern British Labour Party. In the same year he was one of just two Labour MP's to be elected and he served Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare in the South Wales Valleys for the remainder of his life. Hardy was not some theoretical Socialist; he was someone to took the idea of helping his fellow man forward in many ways and encouraged his fellow men to organise and help themselves. He is seen as the forefather of the Trade Unions movement in the UK.

Bio by: Robert Dixon

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Robert Dixon
  • Added: 8 Aug 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 95003758
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Keir Hardie (15 Aug 1856–26 Sep 1915), Find a Grave Memorial no. 95003758, citing Cumnock New Cemetery, Cumnock, East Ayrshire, Scotland ; Maintained by Find A Grave .