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Arnold Henderson

 

Henderson was born in January 1911 and educated at Balshagray and Hamilton Crescent Schools, Glasgow.

 

For some three decades from 1945, he was a Communist councillor on Dumbarton Town Council, and a Communist County councillor on Dumbarton County Council from 1947. For 18 years, Henderson was the sole Communist councillor in Clydebank but latterly was joined by John Smith and Jimmy Reid (see separate entry).

 

In his earlier days on the town council, he was still convener of John Brown's engine works. In subsequent jobs he was always a shop steward and a regular attender at his AUEW branch, a member of the trades council and on the District Committee of his own union. These added responsibilities led to further committments that included attending the British TUC.

 

He was also a member of the County Council of Dunbartonshire and member of the Police Committee, Finance Committee and Education Committee. On the two latter committees, he successfully fought a battle on school milk in the late 1960s.

 

Henderson became the spokesman not only for the Communist Party but for Clydebank town council on health matters, ensuring that 1960s Clydebank had the best health and welfare arrangements in the West of Scotland.

 

A maintenance engineer, he contested the parliamentary constituency of Dunbartonshire East for the Communist Party in 1951, 1955 (receiving 2,448 votes, or 4.9% of the vote) and 1959 (2,200 votes or 4% of the vote).

Even today, the local Clydebank Bowling Club prize trophy, fought for with enthusiasm every year, is the Arnold Henderson Trophy.

 

Henderson’s wife, Betty, was the unsung heroine behind the successful public man, since she gave her energies full-time to meet and reply to the many people who sought her husband's help and advice.

 

Michael Walker

 

Sources include: Comment 20th November 1971