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Churchill never given the bricklaying tools

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The recent article by your columnist Paul Hyett (aj 19.3.98), in which he referred to Winston Churchill's love of bricklaying brought back memories of an amusing skirmish with the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers (aubtw).

While he was of course an honorary member and fellow of many of our great institutions, including the riba, Churchill's application to join the aubtw was formally rejected.

The year was 1928 and, harbouring bitterness over his role in the General Strike (a highlight of which had been his editorship of the British Gazette newspaper, while he was Chancellor of the Exchequer during the shutdown of the uk's national newspapers), some members of the aubtw protested at Churchill's nomination for membership. The union's executive council discovered upon investigation that his application form was incomplete: he had no proposer, nor seconder, and had not stated his length of time in the trade.

Churchill, much enjoying the publicity, made a mock protest at being 'expelled' - albeit that he had in fact never been accepted. His entrance fee cheque was, uncashed, still in the possession of the union organiser at the end of the Second World War.



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