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The South Shields dynasty: defenders of our freedom

April 30, 2013


The parliamentary constituency of South Shields, which has a by-election on 2 May, is significant for access campaigners.

Since 1935 the south Tyneside seat has been held continuously by MPs who have promoted the cause of public access, public paths and common land.

James Chuter Ede was MP from 1929-31 and again from 1935 until his retirement in 1964 when he was made a life peer.  He was a vice-president of the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society (now the Open Spaces Society) from 1947 to 1955 and president (1955-61).  He made valuable interventions in parliament on the society’s behalf.  Among many posts, he was home secretary and leader of the house of commons under Attlee.

He was followed in 1964 by Arthur Blenkinsop, who served on the Open Spaces Society’s committee from 1956 to 1960 and was a vice-president of the Ramblers.  He introduced an Access to Commons and Open Country Bill…

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