Dudley MP Ian Austin is meeting the relatives of a Dudley Councillor who pioneered free school meals.
Henry grew up on Birmingham Road in Dudley and left St. Edmund’s School aged 11 to work in a chain shop as a beer carrier. After taking further work in local foundries and the railway he was elected to Dudley Council in 1932.
In 1933 he started a radical campaign for poor children to be provided with free school meals to ensure they were fed properly and could concentrate on their studies. After two years his campaign finally paid off, and Dudley Council finally introduced a free school meals scheme.
Austin is celebrating his work after writing to Ministers and speaking up in Parliament for all schoolchildren to receive free school meals. The Government has now announced plans to extend free meals, but there are concerns that a third of councils will not have enough money to fund the policy.
Ian Austin said:
“I remember the hot meals I had as a young child at St Edmunds and Russells Hall, and it’s thanks to Henry that poor children in Dudley were first able to get a square meal to help them concentrate, learn and make a good start in life.
“I’m really pleased to meet Henry’s relatives and celebrate his work just as my own campaign for all children to get free school meals has finally paid off.”