October 17th Gerard Collier (Death)

The Hon. Gerard Collier (1878 – 1923), son of the 2nd Baron Monkswell, having briefly been a Professor of History at the University of Sydney, became, in 1908, the one of the first tutors of the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) as well as a history lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

Collier, pictured with his five-month-old son William, was born into a left wing, and Quaker, family.  He was a pacifist, and conscientious objector in World War I.  After the Armistice he moved his family to Marazion due to his ill health and he became friendly with Father Bernard Walke (June 25th) and his artist wife Annie Walke (July 6th)

He continued his WEA activities running classes in both Penzance and Redruth and published ‘Economic Justice: A textbook of Political Economy from a Christian Point of View’ (1924).  With chronic unemployment in post-war Cornwall, Collier created an organisation, Servants of the Church, with Walke and his fellow Quaker, Ernest Procter (October 21st) to alleviate the unemployment and its consequences and devised a plan to re-open a tin mine in Scorrier.  This plan was well advanced and appeared feasible but was abandoned when the government announced road-building initiatives with the same intent. 

In the 1920s, Collier’s health deteriorated further and he died of tuberculosis at the age of 44.


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