Arthur Knowles was one of a group of 14 Vice-Presidents of the Lancaster League of Nations Union (LNU) to be appointed at the first AGM in March 1921, among whom were two business leaders, six clergymen, the local MP and a headmistress. Unlike many of his fellow members, he was by then a dedicated member of the Labour Party, having been elected both Chairman of the Lancaster Independent Labour Party in 1918 and, in 1919, the Labour Party. He was a staunch Methodist, but in a profile of him in the ‘Lancaster Guardian’ in 1922, it was emphasised that he was broadminded in both politics and religion. He continued on the Executive of the Lancaster LNU, marching behind their banner in the 1924 ‘No More War’ demonstration and being elected Vice-President again in 1925. However, he ceased to be a member some time before August 1928 when he criticised Lancaster LNU for, among other things, having a Liberal party bias and stressed the need for more Labour representation.
Arthur’s background was different from most of the middle class men and women in Lancaster LNU’s inner circles. He was employed as a copper roller engraver at one of the oilcloth firms in Lancaster ‘in a responsible position’, having started work at the age of 10 in a cotton mill in Padiham. He was a talented musician with many cultural interests. It is thought that he died in 1931. His only son, Harold, trained to be an architect.
Lancaster Guardian, Jul 1922, 27 Sep 1924, 21 Mar 1925 & 18 Aug 1928.
A. White, ed. 1993. A History of Lancaster. Keele: Ryburn Publishing.