The first President of the Lancaster League of Nations Union (LNU) was Lord Richard Cavendish. He attended the inaugural meeting where he gave a rousing speech in October 1920 but made few appearances afterwards. He was re-elected, nonetheless, each year until he retired at the 1928 AGM. It was the common practice within the LNU to have a member of the aristocracy as a figurehead. (1) Lancaster, however, bucked this trend by electing two successive Presidents who were of much lower social status and who interpreted the role as giving active leadership to LNU activities.
The next two Presidents were successive Vicars of Lancaster. Rev. J. U. N. Bardsley, elected in April 1928, had been an inspiring Lancaster LNU Chairman beforehand and continued his active support as President. His successor, Rev. Benjamin Pollard MSc BD, was elected President on Rev. Bardsley’s death later the same year. He attended some of the branch AGMs up to 1932 and made various speeches supporting the League of Nations, but had retired as President before August 1933. In 1934 he spoke out against the Peace Ballot. (2) Alderman William James Garnett, a Conservative, owner of Quernmore Park near Lancaster, was the fourth President and had more of a patrician background, seeing an active LNU presidency as a public duty. He organised a rally at his home in August 1933, when he used his connections to persuade, among others, Lord Cecil to address and encourage the local membership. (3)
(1) H. McCarthy, 2011. The British People and the League of Nations. Manchester: Manchester University Press, ch.6.
(2) Lancaster Guardian, 22 Mar 1929, 21 Mar 1930, 18 Mar 1932 & 16 Nov 1934.
(3) Lancaster Guardian, 25 Aug 1933; Letters of Vyvyan Adams to William James Garnett. Archive ref: LRO/DDQ/9/76/33, Lancashire Archives.