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About Leicester




(Retired Trade Union Secretary)


Born in Coalville on 3rd June 1894. At the age of seven years went with his parents to Church Gresley in South Derbyshire. Here he became a local government officer attached to the gas department. He subsequently was trained in all aspects of gas manufacture and distribution, taking first class City and Guilds certificates at Birmingham University in both subjects.


He served in the 1914, 1918 war with the Royal Engineers and was transferred from a field Company to a special Company dealing with liquid fire. He was wounded in the chest and was blown up by a shell during a battle at Zillibeke in 1917.


Invalided out of the forces in the same year, he returned to the gas industry. In 1919 he married Harriett Mair, daughter of a Scot and has three children, Margaret, Mavis and George. In 1936 he was asked to become a trade union officer for the National Union of General and Municipal Workers. During the years 1936 to 1959 he served in this capacity, living in various towns. He moved to Leicester in 1938 and unsuccessfully fought Spinney Hill Ward in an election.


The following year he was selected to represent St. Margaret's Ward on the City Council.


He has served on many Committees including the Gas Committee of which he was Vice Chairman until its abolition in 1948. Other Committees were Highways and Public Works, Water, General Purposes, Administrative Offices and Civic Buildings, Education, Museums and Libraries, Sewage, Slum Clearance, Watch, Children's Committee of which he was Chairman for three years, and the Parks Committee of which he was a member for twenty years and Chairman since 1955.


Alderman Powell was High Bailiff to the City in 1957, 1958.


One of the ventures which has especially interested him is the City of Leicester Show which was revived in 1947 and under his chairmanship was successful in making a profit in 1958 and again in 1959.


During his year of mayoralty the City Council decided to send a deputation to visit the Leicestershire Regiment then situated at Munster in Germany. Alderman Powell headed a deputation of five representatives consisting of the Town Clerk, Deputy Lord Mayor (Alderman Brown), Alderman Halkyard and Alderman Henig. The visitors were very warmly welcomed by the Regiment and it was a highly successful occasion.

During the year Alderman Powell appealed for funds in connection with World Refugee Year. A grand total was collected of over £74,000.