Scanlon Liam

Liam Scanlon

Edward William Scanlon known as Liam was born into great poverty in Dublin, Ireland on 30th January 1935, Liam's early years were spent in the slums of Dublin. Aged just 13, he was forced to leave school and work on a farm, rearing pigs; unsurprisingly, he chose to run away from home. He studied hard at night school and followed his brother to London. In due course he undertook National Service in Germany and in Kenya at the height of the Mau Mau uprising.

He was for many years active in the Electrician Union (ETU) and an active steward working as a electrical contractor on the Underground. It was during these years that he became involved in the Communist Party and Irish Republicanism.

Liam was notoriously arrested supporting the St Pancras tenants fight against rent rises in the 1960s; we can say `notoriously’ since he was featured in a negative way on the front page of the Daily Mirror, a feat that caused a great deal of comment on the left at the time. 

He initially lodged with an Indian family in Hamilton Road, Twickenham, shocking many white neighbours. After his first marriage, Liam moved to Ham, where two daughters soon followed.

Liam was later employed at the Royal Star & Garter Home, Richmond, London, which catered for ex-military personnel.  While at the Royal Star & Garter, he met and married his second wife Ann Pearman, current UNISON branch chair. 

During his time there, Liam became the well-respected and feared (by management, of course) NUPE branch secretary. He famously once led a walk out of staff but, after seventeen years, was forced to retire due to ill health.

He later worked as a security guard at a factory in Mortlake, where he was involved in a strike.

Despite Liam's rather fearful reputation, he was much loved by the members of his union and his friends. Heavily involved in teaching marital arts at Grey Court School, Ham, he also worked with Aids patients.

Liam Scanlon died in Princess Alice Hospice, Esher on 29th May 2010.

Michael Walker

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