Obituary: E. Ford
Ted Ford was the oldest member of the Party and had he lived a few more months he would have been 94 years of age. Ted, till the last, was cheery, full of fun and as optimistic as ever that the day was not far away when the workers of the world would embrace a Socialist system of society.
Born in the village of Thrupp, Gloucestershire, in 1882, he neither lost his accent nor his affection for the county of his birth. He was for years a contributor to the correspondence columns of the ‘Stroud Journal, challenging unsound views on a variety of subjects and putting forward the Socialist message. (Nobody who became acquainted with Ted for long was unaware of the Party and the case for Socialism.)
Just after the turn of the century he came up to London to become an apprentice outfitter, living over the master’s shop in Upper Street, Islington (a veritable Mr. Kipps). At that time he was a keen pacifist as were his parents and others in the family. An amateur actor, he joined the local group and there met the women who was to be his life-long partner.
The SPGB had been formed in 1904 and shortly afterwards Ted’s burning opposition to the injustice and violence of capitalist society led him to attend the meetings of our Islington Branch and become a member. In 1906 the branch came into head-on collision with the Executive Committee and was finally expelled by the membership, including Ted. One might say a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater! He used to say that had he been more aware of the situation at the time he would have applied for re-admission.
However, he never lost either his concern or support for the Party and always considered himself a member.
During the First World War, when his time came, he stood up to be counted, declaring himself a supporter of the Party, and having no quarrel with other workers that justified their slaughter. Like many others he found himself serving his time in both Wandsworth and Wormwood Scrubs prisons. Outside these prisons Ted’s family — his sisters and young nieces with their parents — would stand singing the ‘Red Flag’ and the ‘International’ and other songs to raise the spirits of the political prisons.
Subsequently he re-joined the Party and during the Second World War was the literature secretary of the Edgware Group — later Branch — and is well remembered as a regular seller at the indoor and outdoor meetings.
Throughout his life he was plagued with deafness which was almost complete in his latter years. Despite this handicap he retained his cheerfulness, his great interest in literature and poetry and his optimism for the future.
His cremation took place on March 2nd, which was attended by relatives and friends, amongst whom were several members. A member spoke on behalf of the family and the Party.