The Burton-in-Lonsdale League of Nations Union (LNU) branch papers 1935-39 have been made available to us for this study. (1) They give us an insight into the formation of the branch and its activities in its first year.
The national membership of the League of Nations had peaked in the early 1930s and was in decline from then on. Bucking the trend, a public meeting was held in the Sunday School at Burton-in-Lonsdale, where it was resolved to form a local branch of the LNU, probably as a result of the Peace Ballot, 1934/5 (2). Subsequently, the Vicar, Canon R. Stowell was elected Chairman and, with four additional members, a committee was formed. Initially this committee was all male but later two ladies were co-opted and they were given the ‘privilege’ of nominating two more. The accounts for the first year show 77 members were enrolled, with 71 paying one shilling and 6 paying a larger sum, presumably as a donation. This was the only income of the group, which brought in a total of £4 9s 6d. The Croston branch, whose accounts have survived, showed that the other source of income was from the profits of social events of which there is no mention here. (3) Expenditure was equally simple. £1 14s 3d. was sent to Headquarters and the Lancaster LNU District Council ; 14s 5d. was spent on stationery, postage and pamphlets (again in line with Croston) and £2 0s 10d. was cash in hand to be carried forward.
(1) We are most grateful to Dr Glyn Price for showing us the branch papers and allowing us to use them. He inherited them from his late father, who was the Burton-in-Lonsdale LNU Branch Secretary in 1939.
(2) Lancaster Guardian, 5 Apr 1935.
(3) Croston LNU Branch Account Book, Archive Ref: PR3128/14/24, Lancashire Archives.