THE PRIVATE FACE- INFLUENCING POLICY AND BUYING FAVOUR
Look deeply into those who founded chemical companies over time and you will find political and business connections for mutual gain, be they in trade federation lobbying, university or union links, you will find them.
Right from the very start, members of the Albright and Wilson family could buy their way into positions of power to influence legislation to their commercial favour, smoothing the way for financial gain. The money obsessed Quakers knew the power of making “Friends” in high places. This appears to have continued throughout the Twentieth Century even after all members of the original architects of the firm had severed their links.
The following connections illustrate the “Rotten borough” of Oldbury which they shaped, influencing matters of legislation,” justice” and life for the inhabitants of the borough in general.
Kenneth Wilson- Grandson of co founder John Edward Wilson – JP and Oldbury’s first charter mayor of 1935
John William Wilson MP 1879-1932 Son of Wilson – An MP for 27 years holding the seat for North Worcestershire. Also on the Oldbury board of Health from 1885. Director of the Great western railway and 43 years as a magistrate.
George Edward Wilson 1860-1927 A Worcestershire county councillor for 22 years and Alderman.
Post world war two you only have to take a look at “The West Midland Group on Post-war reconstruction and planning” to see that Albright and Wilson had good friends. In fact it reads like a book of them.
The University of Birmingham has always had close links with the Trinity Street polluters, and still does. The Chairman of this committee was Dr Raymond Priestley– vice chancellor of the University of Birmingham at the time. Also on the committee from this university were Vice chair Professor Thomas Bodkin “barber professor of fine arts”, Professor Phillip Sargant Florence– dean of faculty of commerce, Sydney Vernon, Pro-chancellor of the university of Birmingham, Professor J.G Smith (formerly vice-principal of the university of Birmingham).
The honorary secretary of this group Paul S. Cadbury- (well known quakers of the chocolate variety from Bournville.) Also on the committe was George Cadbury. G.W Cadbury and C.Bertram Parkes (chief architect to the Bournville Village Trust.)
And last but by no means least AW’s old time associates and neighbours Sir Hugh Chance, of the former “Chance and Hunt” family. There were also many sub committees within this group that read similarly.
This group published the landmark “Conurbation” a planning survey of Birmingham that would shape the proposals for land simulation for the second half of the twentieth Century.
We have looked at the landscapes they shaped as a company and scarred but behind the scenes is where the real rot sets in. Directors of the rotten Albright and Wilson regularly rubbed shoulders with their political friends, collaborating on new legislation and “consultations”. Some of the stories below illustrate the links between business, politics and university science- the axis of avarice.