Born 1910, Reuben Cohen was the long-term branch secretary of the local Communist Party on Harold Hill Estate Hill estate, at the eastern end of Romford, Essex, an overspill for London. Ben Cohen, it is said, played a greater role in local campaigns in this part of Essex than any other individual. A constant presence for decades, he both instigated and supported various incarnations of the Tenants’ Association.
A school headmaster by profession, he had a strong personal following amongst the tenants’ association, of which he was chair, and also local Labour Party activists. He was Press Officer to a community campaign in May 1952 when nearly 200 children were involved in a `school strike’. Parents were unhappy at a free school bus being withdrawn.
He and his wife Robbie, who worked in the kitchens of the Royal Liberty School, were stalwarts of local politics for nearly three decades. Ben met an untimely death in a plane crash in Havana, Cuba in 1977.