Elm Park Gardens as seen from their communal gardens

Elm Park Gardens as seen from their
communal gardens

Sir Richard Stafford Cripps

Dates: 1889 - 1952

Profession: Politics

Address: 32 Elm Park Gardens, SW10

Dates at address: 1889 - 1893

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Cripps was son of politician Charles Cripps. He studied Chemistry at University College London and became the youngest ever barrister in 1926. He married Isobel Swithinbank in 1911 and had four children.

A successful lawyer he was appointed as Labour’s Solicitor-General in 1930 but refused to join the 1931 coalition. Initially moderate he suddenly joined the far left Socialist League. His pro-war stance and extreme socialist values caused Labour to expel him in 1939. He toured India and China before being appointed Ambassador to Moscow. Ignored by London and Moscow he was recalled in 1941 after repeatedly claiming Germany was about to attack Russia. Proved right he was made lord privy seal and leader of the Commons in 1942 but was quickly demoted to Minister of Aircraft Production. This tempered his radical industrial policies and in 1945 he rejoined Labour as President of the Board of Trade. His greatest triumph was convincing the trade unions to take a voluntary wage freeze in 1947 while Chancellor of the Exchequer. A friend of Nehru he attempted to negotiate a United India as part of independence but Jinnah and Gandhi rejected this. He retired from ill health in 1950.

Cripps was born in Elm Park Gardens and was raised a strict but non-sectarian Christian. More interested in religion than politics he described his younger self as “politically unconscious” and a patriotic, anti-Liberal imperialist who “could never…(be) a representative of Labour”. This clearly did not last.

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