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Events in Leeds - General Election 1929

Enthusiasm abounds as Labour win an historic election, with former Liberal Richard Denman being carried aloft through the streets of Leeds.

Non-Fiction 1929 6 mins Silent

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Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


The historic "Flapper Election" of 1929 sees women over the age of 21 allowed to vote for the first time, and for the first time Labour win most seats. In Leeds the results are declared on the Town Hall steps as Labour win 4 out of the 6 seats, and Liberal defector Richard Denman is carried on the shoulders of his supporters in celebration. Five weeks later, and the famous aviation pioneer Sir Alan Cobham takes the Mayor and Mayoress of Leeds up for a spin in his airplane.

The May 1929 general election came before the famous Stock Market Crash of October, but already unemployment was high. In a foretaste of current times, the Liberals formed a coalition with Labour. Most of the Labour Party opposed the spending, benefits and wage cuts that were being spurred on by threats from investors. Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald favoured austerity and he and 12 supporters, including Denman, were expelled from the Party. These then formed a National Government after the October election in 1931, with Denman, having broken with his local party, regaining his seat as a National Labour member with Tory support. He won again in 1935 and was made a Baronet upon his retirement in 1945.