Papers of Wilfrid Whiteley

Scope and Content

Scrapbook concerning the 1918 general election and Whiteley's campaign. Correspondence relating to administrative issues in the Lockwood area, where Whitelely was secretary of the Independent Labour Party, 1910-1925. Correspondence regarding the organisation of meetings and events and correspondence between Oswald Mosley and his Birmingham constituency, arranged by Whiteley as constituency agent, 1926-1927. Correspondence and papers relating to the running of the Labour Party headquarters in Ladywood, Birmingham, 1924-1929 (includes details of Mosley's contributions towards election funds and letters between Mosley and Whiteley). Correspondence and papers relating to the Labour Party and Whiteley's career, 1894-1950. Pamphlet, articles and newspapers relating to an exhibition on William Morris to which Whiteley had contributed exhibits, 1934.

Administrative / Biographical History

Wilfrid Whiteley was born on 3 February 1882 in Salendine Nook, Huddersfield. He attended Paddock Board School in Huddersfield until the age of 12. After leaving school he worked at a wool warehouse for eighteen and a half years, briefly working part-time at the Advertiser Press when aged 18. Whiteley had a strong interest in politics and was involved with the administrative side of politics, principally as secretary of the Lockwood Independent Labour Party, 1911-1925. Supported by the Independent Labour Party, he stood for election in the Colne Valley constituency in the 1918 'Khaki' election representing the Labour Party. Whiteley was unsuccessful in his attempt but he was commended for his honesty whilst campaigning as he openly admitted his state as a conscientious objector in the 1914-1918 War, a fact he chose not to hide from the electorate. This was a crucial factor in his failure at the ballot box. From 1914-1918 Whiteley was head of the Anti-War Movement in Huddersfield. He was an anti-militarist and a staunch socialist. After defeat in the 1918 election, Whiteley worked as Publications Manager for the National Labour Press in Manchester. He was invited to stand for election again in Colne Valley in the 1921 election but eventually declined the offer as he was unemployed at the time and financial worries prevented him from standing. From 1925 to 1929 Whiteley moved to Birmingham where he was Labour Party agent and secretary for Oswald Mosley in the Smethwick constituency of Birmingham. In his role as secretary to Mosley, Whiteley was responsible for helping organise the schedule of Mosley’s meetings and engagements within the West Midlands. Whiteley was in regular contact with G.T Sutton who was the Private Secretary of Oswald Mosley. From 1929 to 1931 Whiteley was Labour MP for Ladywood (Birmingham), succeeding former Conservative MP Neville Chamberlain, who became MP for Edgbaston in 1929. After defeat in 1931, Whiteley became the Labour Party constituency agent for West Birmingham from 1932 to 1936. He was also Labour Party agent for Elland constituency from 1936 to 1947. He died on 4 April 1970.

Conditions Governing Access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including the Data Protection Act 1998.

Acquisition Information

The papers of Wilfrid Whitely were donated to the University of York by his family in 1970.

Other Finding Aids

A typescript catalogue, to file level, is available for consultation in the Borthwick Institute’s searchrooms and at the National Register of Archives, London.

Archivist's Note

Processed by Karamdeep Sahota, Borthwick Institute, University of York, September 2007.

Conditions Governing Use

A reprographics service is available to researchers. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute, University of York, terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.


No further deposits are expected

Related Material

Papers of Colne Valley Labour Party, 1891-1994 GB 1103 HUD8 Papers of Sir Oswald Mosley GB 0150 OM

The records of the Colne Valley Labour Party are held at Huddersfield University Library.

The papers of Oswald Mosley are held at the University of Birmingham.