Clark Bill (Frederick le Gros)


Bill Clark

Frederick Le Gros Clark was born in 1892; known to his friends as “Bill”, he was closely associated with the Labour Research Department (LRD) for many years. At the end of the first world war, he lost a hand and was blinded in both eyes. This did not prevent him from becoming a distinguished activist in the field of social science research and on eof the foremost leaders in the struggle against hunger during the 1930s.

He was also a key national committee member of the Spanish Medical Aid Committee established on August 1st 1936. Early on, he helped to found the Committee Against Malnutrition, a body composed of doctors and scientists which fought to expose the truth about the widespread under-nourishment which prevailed. Articles and pamphlets published by the LRD in the early thirties under titles such as `Social Murder’ and `Standards of Starvation’ owed much to his expertise and, in 1936, he was co-opted as a member of the LRD Executive Committee. For the following three years (1937,1938 and 1939), he was re-elected to the executive and continued as a persistent and regular attender until the bombing in the summer of 1940 made it difficult to get into London.

Thereafter, he did not stand for re-election to the Executive but continued his close collaboration with the LRD. For example, he served on an informal committee of experts convened by the LRD to examine the implications of the Beveridge Report in 1942. By this time he was secretary of the Children’s Nutrition Council and later carried out some important studies of the school meals service, civic restaurants and similar social feeding provisions.

The range of his publications ran from the Fabians to the Left Book Club; one book was on the evacuation of children during the war and with his wife Ida, he produced `The Adventures of the Little Pig and Other Stories’ and books on Soviet medicine. In later years, he turned his attention to the problems of old age. Two of his numerous publications made considerable impact: `Ageing in Industry’ (1955) and `Work, Age and Leisure’ (1966). Bill Clark died on 22nd September 1977 at the age of 85.

Source : Labour Research November 1977






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