The George Brown Story
The life of George Brown goes back to the closing years of the 19th century. The need to work, as well as the need to live, brought young Mary Lackey from thevillage of Ballyneale, County Kilkenny, to Manchester.Young Francis Brown, Mary Lackey’s boyfriend who had followed her to Manchester, came from the neighbouring village of Inistioge. Mary and Francis were married on the thirteenth dayof May, 1897 at St. Edmund’s Church, Monsall Street, Manchester. The attraction of home and family, and Irish culture and life must have been very powerful asthe first three Brown children were born in Ballyneale and then taken to live in Manchester. The third, being George, was born in Ballyneale, Inistioge, Co Kilkenny on November 5th, 1906. Thirty years later he was killed by Fascist bullets.
For the young George, growing up in the industrialised and rapidly expanding city of Manchester, the atmosphere of Irish freedom and Irish culture merged with the industrial life of the city, working-class activity and struggle of the new century. He left school and, as was characteristic of the time, was in and out of work at the convenience of employers. These formative experiences naturally led him to seek redress forworkers through the broad Labour Movement.
He had an advantage over others when speaking at meetings, having a natural ability to give a sharp turn of phrase and to embody a whole philosophy in a single sentence. It was the General Strike of 1926 that consolidated his interest in politics and led to his joining the Communist Party. George Brown’s tireless work at all levels in the Labour Movement saw him gain widespread recognitionas a champion of the working class and, almost as a natural progression, he was, in 1935, elected to the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain.