Robert Alexander Basford (1881 – 1955) – founded Independent Labour Party
Grantham-born, Robert Basford was an outstanding personality in both the local Labour Party and Trade Unions.
He studied political economy and developed a broad knowledge of home and international affairs.
Both he and his wife Lilian (she was Grantham Mayor in 1946) were founders of the Independent Labour Party and of the constituency Labour Party which they began in 1918.
He was variously chairman and secretary of the CLP as well as agent.
When he became unemployed in the 1920s he was spokesman for the Grantham deputation to the old Public Assistance Committee and in 1931 won a considerable improvements in benefits for the town’s jobless.
On the union front, he was branch secretary of the former ASE (later AEU) no 2 branch, district referee and other offices.
He began work as an apprentice with Richard Hornsby & Co, but following the depression worked at Newcastle, Nottingham and Derby. In the years leading to his retirement, he worked at BMARCo.
He was a one-time county council, but had to resign as working away from home disqualified him.
In his early days he had been a religious worker and was choirmaster at Commercial Road Primitive Methodist chapel. He was also a Sunday school teacher and lay preacher there.