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Before the Wars

Churchill as Reformer (1910 – 1911)- With a Foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert


Alan Baxendale

Winston Churchill will be forever known as the great statesman who bravely led Britain through the war years, but what led the young Churchill down this path to greatness? What motivated him to become the future leader?
Delving into documentary records in the Home Office archive, Alan S. Baxendale brings to light the young Churchill’s war at home while Home Secretary from February 1910 to October 1911. Passionate about reforming prison treatment and sentencing, Churchill engaged with his senior Home Office staff and His Majesty’s Prison Commissioners in a daily discussion of the business of criminal justice. With a focus on his working methods and relationships with his staff, Baxendale offers a new look at Churchill as a young and talented politician whose leadership led to innovative reforms that are still influential today.
This book makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the criminal justice system, providing a crucial addition to our understanding of the history of prison reform. It also gives us valuable insight into Churchill as a person, shedding light on his formative years as a minister and providing us with important clues to how he became one of the most successful politicians of modern times.


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Acknowledgements xiii


Acknowledgements It is with pleasure that I record my gratitude to the following people and institutions for the valuable assistance they have freely offered. To Professor Seán McConville, I am first and foremost indebted for supervising my research, for his advice on its interpretation, and for his thoughts on the drafting of its outcome. Our exchanges of view and his great patience have helped immensely with the organisation of the mate- rial I have accumulated over the years. To my retired senior Home Office colleague, Terry Weiler, I am like- wise indebted for his advice on the technicalities of Home Office and Prison Commission administration, on the wording of the earlier drafts of my text, and on sharing with me the burden of proofreading. With him I should also like to associate another of my retired Home Office colleagues, Kenneth Neale, who first interested me in the history of the prison system in England and Wales. Further, I have much appreciated the help of two individuals who have provided me with their personal recollections. Sir John Ruggles-Brise kindly allowed me to visit his home, where I was able to inspect some of the library books and papers which had once belonged to Sir Evelyn Ruggles-Brise, Chairman of the Prison Commission (1895–1921). The bulk of Sir Evelyn’s archive is now located in the Essex County Record Office, where the staff were very helpful to me in my exploration. Richard Waller is the son of Sir Maurice Waller, who became...

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