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Frank Stone

Frank Stone was born in Whidborne Street, King’s Cross, in 1912. His father was a Hungarian-born waiter and during World War I the family was split up, as his father was classed an enemy alien and interned in Crystal Palace. His parents divorced after the war and he was brought up by his mother, a costume department clerk in a West End theatre.

As a result he got to know London’s theatre-land well. His first job, aged 14, was as a fencing instructor in Soho, where he encountered both of his life-long passions, jazz and radical politics, in the local cafes. He soon changed trades and trained as a plumber, becoming active what later became the EEPTU. His political beliefs led him to the Communist Party, of which he remained a member from his youth to 1990.

He was expelled from the union for allegedly disrupting a meeting of its national executive. According to the union, he led a group of workers who stormed a meeting of union bosses. But Stone insisted he was not with the workers at the time, and only appeared later. As their spokesman he refused to ask them to leave the bosses’ meeting. He was finally reinstated in his 80s, long after he had finished working as a plumber, a fact he found amusing.

But the expulsion led to him being blacklisted and was one of the reasons he looked for a different trade. He bought a pet shop in Tooting, which he ran with his life-long partner Dorothy. He was a member of Hampstead Community Health Council, where he chaired the elderly group for more than six years, the Pensioners Forum, Age Concern and Swiss Cottage Community Centre.

Frank Stone remained politically active up to his death. At 90, he travelled to central London to watch the start of the Stop The War demonstration on February 15, 2003, despite being too frail to walk the length of the route. He died aged 92.

Source: Camden New Journal 10th February 2005