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George Tomlinson (21 March 1890 – 22 September 1952) was a British Labour Party politician.

George Tomlinson

Minister of Education
In office
7 February 1947 – 26 October 1951
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byEllen Wilkinson
Succeeded byFlorence Horsbrugh
Minister of Works
In office
August 1945 – February 1947
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byDuncan Sandys
Succeeded byCharles Key
Member of Parliament
for Farnworth
In office
Preceded byGuy Rowson
Succeeded byErnest Thornton
Personal details
Born(1890-03-21)21 March 1890
Rishton, Lancashire
Died22 September 1952(1952-09-22) (aged 62)
Manor House Hospital, Golders Green, London
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Ethel, née Pursell (m. 1914)[1]
Childrenone daughter[1]


George Tomlinson was born at 55 Fielding Street in Rishton, Lancashire, the son of John Tomlinson, a cotton weaver, and his wife Alice, née Varley. He was educated in Rishton at Wesleyan Elementary School.[2]

At the age of 12 he took work as weaver at a cotton mill, working half-time the first year before becoming a full-timer. In 1912 he was elected president of the Rishton district of the Amalgamated Weavers' Association.[2]

Tomlinson married the cotton weaver Ethel Pursell on 4 September 1914 and together they had a daughter.[1]

He was a conscientious objector in the First World War, working on the land for three years.

He was elected Member of Parliament for the Farnworth constituency in Lancashire at a by-election in 1938 and held the seat until his death in 1952, aged 62. He was joint Parliamentary Secretary under Ernest Bevin in the Ministry of Labour and National Service from February 1941 to May 1945 in Winston Churchill's wartime Coalition Government. In Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government he was Minister of Works, August 1945 – February 1947, and Minister of Education, February 1947 – October 1951, following the death of Ellen Wilkinson.

In 1944 Tomlinson was a British delegate at the International Labour Conference held at Philadelphia in the United States.[1]

A biography of Tomlinson written by Fred Blackburn, a fellow Labour politician and Member of Parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde, was published by Heinemann in 1954. The biography, which features a foreword by Clement Attlee, is largely based on talks Blackburn had with Tomlinson before his death.

The George Tomlinson School, which opened in Kearsley the year following his death, was named in his memory. The school converted to academy status in 2010 and was renamed Kearsley Academy.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Mitchell 1995, p. 970
  2. ^ a b "George Tomlinson". Links in a Chain - The Mayors of Bolton. Bolton Council. 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  3. ^ "End of an era as school prepares to reopen as an academy". The Bolton News. 25 July 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  • Mitchell, Andrew (1995). "Tomlinson, George". In Lane, A. Thomas (ed.). Biographical Dictionary of European Labor Leaders. Volume 2, M–Z. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 970. ISBN 0-313-29900-5.

Further readingEdit

  • Blackburn, Fred (1954). George Tomlinson: A Biography. London: Heinemann.
  • Dean, D. W. (1986). "Planning for a postwar generation: Ellen Wilkinson and George Tomlinson at the Ministry of Education, 1945–51". History of Education. The History of Education Society. 15 (2): 95–117. doi:10.1080/0046760860150204.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Guy Rowson
Member of Parliament for Farnworth
Succeeded by
Ernest Thornton
Political offices
Preceded by
Duncan Sandys
Minister of Works
Succeeded by
Charles Key
Preceded by
Ellen Wilkinson
Minister of Education
Succeeded by
Florence Horsbrugh