1922 - Henry Norris’ last year as an MP and the end of his links with Fulham

Last updated: October 2008


End of the coalition and the fall of Lloyd George.  Founded: the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the British Civil Aviation Authority, the BBC, the TGWU and the Irish Free State.  Horatio Bottomley MP was jailed for seven years for fraud.  Firsts: black MP, Communist MP - the same person, Shapurji Saklatvala, elected MP for Battersea;  production of the Austin 7; radio broadcast by a member of the royal family (Prince of Wales). Discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.  Published: The Waste Land (T S Eliot), Ulysses (James Joyce) and Just William (Richmal Crompton).  Mussolini.  First seen: Nosferatu.


Over the winter of 1921-22 there was another flu epidemic in the UK, not as serious as the terrible one of 1918-19 but serious enough.  Summing up the football season 1921/22 in May 1922, the Times said that results and league positions had been affected by the outbreak.


From late 1921 to uncertain date Henry Norris and his family were in Italy where he was recovering from an illness.


Also in late 1921 there was a great deal of discussion in Fulham about who should succeed Henry Norris as Conservative Party candidate in Fulham East.  The names of various possible successors were being banded about.


Until August 1922 Henry Norris’ main focus continued to be Parliament; according to his own accounts, he was at the House of Commons for most of its sittings.


Difficult to date this, but definitely by 1922 Henry Norris and his family had moved back to Richmond, from Bray.  They moved into Lichfield House, 24 Sheen Road, Richmond, a Queen Anne house with 1¾ acres of garden including an orangerie.


On the morning of Wed 4 January 1922 Fulham Conservative Party, already in a fairly turbulent state, was cast further adrift by the death of one of its longest-serving members, Mr G Adams.  His funeral took place on the morning of Sat 7 January 1922; Henry Norris didn’t attend it, he was probably still abroad.


On Mon 9 January 1922 the Feltmakers’ Company held its regular quarterly meeting at the Guildhall.  Henry Norris didn’t attend it.


By Sat 21 January 1922 the flu was making its way through Arsenal’s team; because so many players were ill, those in recovery were being rushed back to play too quickly.  Arsenal 0 Burnley 0 was played in “a quagmire”.


On the evening of Tue 24 January 1922 the second annual dinner of the Old Comrades Association of policemen who had worked in Fulham took place at the Clarendon Restaurant, Hammersmith.  Henry Norris didn’t attend it, possibly wasn’t even invited; but Percy Gates did.

By Fri 27 January 1922 Percy Gates had emerged out of the gossip to be named as the front-runner to succeed Henry Norris as Conservative Party candidate for Fulham East.  


Probably between Fri 27 January and Fri 3 February 1922 another grandee of the Fulham Conservative Party died.  James William Webb had been an important person in Henry Norris’ career as a local politian: he had been chairman of Sand’s End Ward Conservative and Unionist Association and of Sand’s End Ward Debating Society.  Henry Norris had represented Sand’s End in the London Borough of Fulham from 1906 to 1919.  Webb was seend as the “strong man”

of the local Conservatives although he’d never stood in any elections.  Webb was buried on Sat 4 February 1922; there was a big turn-out of Fulham Conservatives at the funeral but Henry Norris didn’t attend it.


On Mon 30 January 1922 sittings in the House of Commons began again, clearing up unfinished business, but Henry Norris was still abroad.


On the evening of Thur 2 February 1922 the annual dinner of Fulham Tradesmen’s Association was held at the Hotel Cecil in the Strand.  Henry Norris didn’t attend it.


Henry Norris missed the first visit of the Duke of York to Highbury on Sat 4 February 1922.  The Duke saw Arsenal 2 Newcastle United.  Dealing with the press that afternoon, Arsenal director Charles Crisp said that Norris was  “wintering in Nice” - so he’d moved on from Italy but hadn’t yet returned to England.


At 12 noon on Tue 7 February 1922 the new session of Parliament began with the traditional debate on the King’s speech.  Sittings continued until 4 August 1922; when - or even if - Henry Norris was in the House of Commons during that long period is difficult to ascertain, but even if he was there, he didn’t speak at all, either in debate or at question time, in all that time.   Also on Tue 7 February 1922 Bromley UDC approved a planning application from Kinnaird Park Estate Company for a garage at 10 Park Avenue Plaistow.


At the end of February 1922 campaigning began for the London County Council elections due on 2 March 1922.  Henry Norris doesn’t seem to have taken any part in it, either in Fulham or elsewhere.


Mon 6 March 1922 is the first definite evidence I have of Henry Norris being in England in 1922: he was in the House of Commons for at least part of that day, for the debate on the Irish Free State (Agreement) Bill which contained the arrangements for handing over the government of the southern counties to the new Eire; and setting up Northern Ireland as a very separate part of the UK.  Norris didn’t take part in a vote at 6.30pm; but he did vote at 8.5pm, 8.24pm; and at 10.10pm.  He had been elected as a Unionist - that is, a man who wouldn’t entertain the idea of a separate Irish state; or a partitioned one.  And - unusually for him - he voted against the Government in one of these votes, in a minority of  36 against the majority of 217 - v unus f him, I think.  He may have been uncomfortable with the position in which he found himself; or rather too ill still to attend the House of Commons regularly; because voting on this contentious bill continued for several days but Norris didn’t vote again until 14 March.


By Sat 11 March 1922 while Henry Norris had been abroad, Arsenal had got themselves rooted to the bottom of Division One.  At the Islington Daily Gazette its football reporter, Arthur Bourke/Norseman, was beginning to contemplate seriously the prospect that they would be relegated, saying “very little is left to be given away”.  But they gave it away anyway that afternoon: Manchester United 1 Arsenal 0 was a relegation battle.


On Tue 14 March 1922 Henry Norris was in the House of Commons, at least at 10.43pm when he voted in favour of more government money going to support the UK’s presence in Egypt.


By Sat 25 March 1922 even a surprise win, Arsenal 2 Aston Villa 0, couldn’t get them away from bottom position; relegation was between them, Oldham Athletic and Bradford City.  They had got off the bottom by Sat 1 April 1922 but by this time there was only so much a win could do for them: Arsenal 3 Middlesbrough 2 still left them second from bottom.


On Mon 3 April 1922 Henry Norris was at the Guildhall for the quarterly meeting of the Feltmakers’ Company.


On Tue 4 April 1922 a case was heard at a magistrate’s court in London, of a resident of Notting Hill charged under Henry Norris’ Ready Money Betting Bill - so it did catch at least one person!  The magistrate hearing the case criticised the use of the word “knowingly” in the Act - which was interesting as this was the word added against Norris’ better judgement in August 1920 on the day Bill was rushed through its last stages to get the Royal Assent before Parliament went on holiday.  For more on this see my file on 1920 [ROGER I NEED A LINK TO SL20 HERE].


Unknown date, between November 1921 and 5 April 1922 BUT I THINK IT’S LIKELY TO BE VERY NEAR 5 APRIL 1922 Henry Norris agreed to attend a meeting of his constituency party, to try to resolve the differences he had with them - and them with him; which at least on the surface were about money (see my file on the goings-on in the winter of 1921) [ROGER I NEED A LINK TO SL21].  The meeting took place at the house of Fulham Conservative Party member Mr Flew.  The result was a complete turn-around by Henry Norris, who agreed to do what he had refused to in the autumn: increase his subsidy of the local party by 50% to £300 per year.  He also agreed to stay on and fight any election as Fulham East’s official Conservative and Unionist Party candidate.  The day after this meeting at Mr Flew’s, however, therefore probably in early April 1922 Norris was phoned by one member of the local Conservative Party and agreed to another meeting, with three only of its members.  At the meeting these three men (I don’t know who they were) asked Norris to turn-about again - to retire as Conservative Party candidate to make way for a new man.


On Wed 5 April 1922 Henry Norris wrote to his constituency party confirming the decisions reached at the meeting at Mr Flew’s: that is, that he agreed to stay on as Conservative Party candidate and increase his payments ot the local party.  Because there’s no date for the meeting with the three men who asked him to resign, I don’t know whether this letter was written before or after it.


On Thur 6 April 1922 voting took place in elections to the local boards of guardians, who ran the workhouses and did a lot of what is now done by local authority social work departments.  Edith Norris had been a member of Fulham Board of Guardians for many years but she didn’t stand in this election.


On Fri 7 April 1922 the secretary of Fulham Conservative Party wrote to Henry Norris saying that the members wouldn’t accept his terms for staying on as their MP; they had decided instead to choose a replacement. 


Sat 8 April 1922 is the first definite date I have for Henry Norris at a football match that year; but it wasn’t an Arsenal match.  He was one of guests at a luncheon organised by FA in Birmingham before an international match. 


At 8.16pm on Tue 11 April 1922 Henry Norris was in the House of Commons; he voted against the Government proposals to spend nearly £1 million building some tennis courts at Hyde Park for public use.


By Wed 12 April 1922 all FA members had received a warning that, in the light of several legal cases being brought by players, at the forthcoming AGM the FA would consider enforcing a minimum wage, of 10 shillings per week.


Wed 12 April 1922 was the last day in the House of Commons before the Easter recess.


Easter 1922 was late, so the matches played over the weekend were going to decide championships and relegation.  On Easter Sat, 15 April 1922 Spurs 2 Arsenal 0 made both the Times and Arthur Bourke/Norseman in the Islington Daily Gazette think Arsenal were almost certain to go down.  But on Easter Mon, 17 April 1922 they got a desperately-needed win: WBA 0 AFC 3; Liverpool won Division One.  The following day, Tue 18 April 1922, they got a last-minute equaliser to make it Arsenal 2 West Bromwich Albion 2.  On Sat 22 April 1922 winning the north London derby (Arsenal 1 Spurs 0), with Bradford City losing, took Arsenal out of the relegation zone.  In the Islington Daily Gazette Arthur Bourke/Norseman described that one goal as “the most valuable ever scored at Highbury”; Spurs had had to play the whole of the second half with ten men but the goal had been scored before that.  Bourke thought that 2 wins out of the 4 games left would now keep Arsenal in Division One. I have no definite evidence that Henry Norris attended any of these crucial matches.


On Wed 26 April 1922 the House of Commons got back to work after its Easter break. 


On Thur 27 April 1922 the Duke of York made a second visit to Highbury to watch the final of the London Insurance Offices FA Cup.  I don’t know whether Henry Norris attended this game; the prime mover at Arsenal in getting the match staged at Highbury was probably director Charles Crisp, who worked for Norwich Union.


It was not until Fri 28 April 1922 that a vote was needed in the House of Commons; the lists of how MP’s voted are the only way I can tell whether Henry Norris was in Parliament.  He didn’t vote on this day so perhaps he was still on holiday.


Sat 29 April 1922 was FA Cup Final day.  Herbert Chapman’s Huddersfield Town won it, 1-0 with a much-disputed penalty.  A real crunch match in Division One ended Bradford City 0 Arsenal 2 and lifted Arsenal to sixth from bottom.  In the Islington Daily Gazette Arthur Bourke/Norseman described it as a great victory for “a team of triers and hard workers” who could not be described as “a team of talents”.  Bourke thought their manager, Leslie Knighton, could sleep soundly now; he didn’t mention Henry Norris.


On the evening of Wed 3 May 1922 there was a crunch fixture of a different sort: a top-of-the-table clash in the London Combination.  Spurs Reserves 6 Arsenal Reserves 1 lost Arsenal’s second string a chance of winning the London Combination championship; Spurs won it.


Sat 6 May 1922 was the last day of football season 1921/22 and Henry Norris was definitely at Highbury.  With all the other directors, he saw Arsenal 1 Bradford City 0 which sent City down; Manchester United were the other club relegated.  From looking dead and buried as little as three weeks before, Arsenal ended sixth from bottom.  The Times praised the team’s “brave play at the finish” and singled the ageing Rutherford out for special praise.


On the afternoon of Mon 8 May 1922 Henry Norris may have gone to New Cross to see the London FA Challenge Cup Final.  Arsenal 1 Crystal Palace 0 was followed by an evening at  the New Cross Empire at the invitation of its manager, Teddy Glanvill. 


At 10.12pm on Tue 9 May 1922 Henry Norris was in the House of Commons; he voted during the debate on the Juries Bill.


On Wed 10 May 1922 a party from Arsenal FC left for a European tour, going to Sweden and Norway via Köln and  Hamburg.  Henry Norris was definitely not with them: at 11pm on Wed 10 May 1922 he voted in a debate which had turned from something specific to a wide discussion of whether law and order had completely broken down in Ireland.  In the voting, a yes vote was said (by those who voted no) to be a vote for war in Ireland; Norris voted yes and the yeses won by 258 to 64.


By Mon 29 May 1922 Arsenal’s directors had announced that they would listen to offers from Scottish clubs for their long-serving player Alec Graham, who wanted to return home.


On the morning of Mon 29 May 1922 the AGM of the Football League was held at its usual venue, the Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden.  At the meeting Henry Norris made the first of several attempts to change the FL rules so that they would enforce a cap on transfer fees, of £1650; and to give the Management Committee powers to prevent any attempts by clubs to get round it.  Norris said in his speech in support of his transfer cap that he didn’t think any player was worth more than £1000. The influential Athletics News had been arguing for a top limit to transfer fees for several years, and before the AGM took place they had been hopeful that Norris would be successful.  However, the paper’s report on Norris’ speech said that it had been unstatesmanlike, showing no understanding of the position of small clubs who depended on transfers to help their finances.  Apparently, Norris had told those clubs that if they couldn’t manage their money better they ought to go out of business.  The Athletic News’ reporter also thought that the scheme Norris put forward had been too simplistic: he had argued for one top fee to apply across the board; Athletic News would have preferred a graduated scale of fees reflecting a player’s declining worth as he got older.  


Norris’ scheme was defeated - heavily.  Only five clubs voted in favour of it; one of those was Chelsea FC, chaired by Norris’ old football acquaintance Claude Kirby.  So Norris varied his approach by putting forward another motion, that no player who had been transferred could play against the same club twice in the same season.  But he couldn’t even get a seconder for that idea, so it didn’t even go to a vote.


After the AGM, Henry Norris went to the House of Commons where at 4.15pm on Mon 29 May 1922 he took part in a vote as part of the Government Business which began each sitting.  He voted again at 11.15pm that day but not in two later divisions.  On Wed 31 May 1922 Parliament’s Whitsun recess began.


Between 29 May 1922 and Mon 5 June 1922 Henry Norris gave an interview to one of Athletic News’ London reporters, the man writing as Achates.  A summary of this interview appeared in the paper on Mon 5 June 1922.  Norris told Achates that he had been disappointed at the lack of support amongst Football League members for his attempt to put a top limit on transfer fees; he wasn’t giving up, though, he’d be trying again at next year’s AGM.  Achates reported that Norris had said he’d been making a study of football transfer fees from the tax point of view, in case the Treasury decided to change its current stance of regarding the transfer of players as “proper items of expenditure” for football clubs.


On Wed 7 June 1922 Henry Norris wrote another letter to Fulham’s Conservative Party.  In it he said that he had decided to retire as MP for Fulham East, at the next election.  Further, he would be retiring from active participation in politics, he would not be standing as an independent against any candidate the party might choose to fight Fulham East.  And that both he and Edith Norris would withdraw completely from public involvement in events in Fulham or organised by institutions based in Fulham.


The evening of Fri 9 June 1922 was the first occasion on which Henry Norris could follow the decisions of his letter: the annual dinner of the Fulham Amateur Boxing Club.  His friend - possibly ex-friend by now - Walter Middleton was its president, and Norris had often attended this function in the past.  But he didn’t go to this year’s dinner; and neither did William Hall.


On Mon 12 June 1922 Parliament returned to work after its Whitsun holiday.


On Tue 13 June 1922 the secretary of Fulham Conservative Party wrote an official acknowledgement of Henry Norris’ resignation as MP for Fulham East.  But this wasn’t the end of the affair: it raised its ugly head this autumn and in late 1923.  See my files, on 1923, and on Henry Norris and Politics. [ROGER I NEED TWO LINKS HERE; NORRIS AND POLITICS ISN’T WRITTEN YET].


On Mon 19 June 1922 a House of Commons debate on the Finance Bill turned into an argument between protection of British livelihoods and free trade.  A series of votes took place through the evening, the last being at 00.50 (Tue 20 June 1922).  Henry Norris took part in all the voting.  Some votes were on substances (like tea or coffee) which already paid import duty; in each case, Norris voted to reduce the current rate of the duty.  Then there was a vote on whether to introduce new import duties; he voted in favour of introducing them.  The House of Commons went home after this long sitting, at 01.13 on Tue 20 June 1922.  Later that day, though, Tue 20 June 1922 the MP’s were back again for a series of votes on excise duty; Henry Norris voted to make UK-grown sugar pay duty.  At 21.34 Henry Norris voted to keep Entertainment Tax payable in a particular set of circumstances (not applicable to football clubs) the details of which I won’t bore you with.  The sitting then continued into Wed 21 June 1922; Norris was still there for its last  vote, at 03.54.  So he may not have been in the House of Commons mid-afternoon on Thur 22 June 1922 when news started to filter in and disrupt normal business that the consequences of Ireland had reached Belgravia.  At about 2.30pm on Thur 22 June 1922 Field-Marshall Sir Henry Wilson MP was shot dead while opening his own front door in Eaton Place, by two men from the IRA.  He had been particularly outspoken on behalf of keeping Ulster in the UK.  When it was finally confirmed that he had been assassinated, Parliament was suspended.


On Mon 26 June 1922 the House of Commons heard a statement from Winston Churchill on British policy in Ireland; the following debate turned into a commentary on the Government’s handling of the mess in Ireland.  At 22.56 the vote was taken; Norris voted against the Government, the only time he did so on the subject of Ireland; he helped to inflict a heavy defeat on the Government.  Criticism of the Government continued on Thur 29 June1922 with a debate to reduce the salary of the Secretary of State for the Home Office.  When the vote on that was taken, at 18.40, however, Henry Norris voted against the wages reduction: backing the Government.  He may then have gone out to dinner, or home; he didn’t vote at 22.59 on money to be allowed for Home Office expenses.


During July 1922, whisperings about Prime Minister Lloyd George’s conduct of Government finally became the (cash for) honours scandal, the beginning of his fall from power.


On the evening of Mon 3 July 1922 Henry Norris was at the Guildhall to attend the quarterly meeting of the Feltmakers’ Company.


On the morning of Wed 5 July 1922, if he read the Times, Henry Norris will have seen an advert for the auction of Summerholme, a 120 foot long, six-bedroomed houseboat, moored on the Thames at Henley.  The auction would be taking place in London on 17 July.


Tue 11 July 1922 was another of the few occasions when Henry Norris voted against the Government.  The vote took place at 22.07 and it was on what seems to be rather a minor issue: civil service stationery and printing costs.


On Mon 17 July 1922 Prime Minister Lloyd George was obliged to make a statement to the House of Commons, following the putting of a motion to set up a committee of both houses to investigate exactly how people were being selected to receive Honours.  The debate went on to 11pm but I can’t tell whether Henry Norris was in the House of Commons to hear it.  He did not make a speech during it; and despite calls for one, there was no vote on the motion.






Copyright Sally Davis March 2008