[ROGER THIS FILE FOLLOWS ON FROM SL22]
Last updated: October 2008
At 2.30pm on Tue 18 July 1922 the houseboat Summerholme, plus extras, was sold at auction by Collins and Collins of 37 South Audley Street at the well-known estates auction room The Mart, 155 Queen Victoria Street, EC. The lot consisted of the six-bedroomed boat itself including the furniture, linen and crockery and landing boards; a launch; a boat-house; and a patch of land at one end of Corporation Island, Henley, on which was a garden and a tennis court. Although I have no direct evidence, I am fairly certain that Henry Norris was the successful bidder that day. Later in the day, he was in the House of Commons again for a long debate on estimates of expenditure on the navy. He took part in two votes, at 22.25 and at 22.58.
He may not have been in Parliament between Wed 19 July 1922 and Fri 21 July 1922; he did not take part in any of the voting. However, he was in the House of Commons on Mon 24 July 1922 for a debate on whether to lift the ban on imports of cattle from Canada where there had been an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. At 23.00 Norris voted to lift the ban.
At the end of July 1922 the House of Commons was working to clear unfinished business by the time it went on its summer vacation.
On Tue 25 July 1922 Henry Norris was probably in the House of Commons to hear business begin with a statement from the Leader of the House about the case of Horatio Bottomley MP, who had just been sentenced to seven years for fraud. Norris may have known Bottomley on the London councils official meetings circuit; but I don’t think he knew him well. Norris took part in a vote at 17.07; it wasn’t about Bottomley, just normal business. Later in the evening he voted at 20.30 on the Electricity (Supply) Bill; at 22.02 he voted to give the bill its third reading. Then the House of Commons went on to discuss the Criminal Law Amendment Bill. A series of votes took place. Norris didn’t vote at 22.34; maybe he’d slipped out for something to eat because he did vote at 01.10 (on Wed 26 July 1922). There was a last vote on the bill’s amendments at 02.06 but Norris had gone home by that time, he didn’t vote in it.
Wed 26 July 1922 Henry Norris was in the House of Commons for a long day voting on sums for civil service expenses; the first vote was at 10.05 the last at 00.43 (on Thur 27 July 1922) and Norris voted all 13 times. MP’s finally went home at 00.54 (on Thur 27 July 1922) but were back later on Thur 27 July 1922 to vote on sums to be allocated to Treasury business. Norris took part in two votes on this, at 19.43 and at 19.50. Unusually, sittings on Government-introduced business continued into Fri 28 July 1922 but it looks like Norris wasn’t in the House of Commons: a lot of votes were taken that day but he didn’t take part in any of them.
On Mon 31 July 1922 the House of Commons had a series of votes on amendments to the Safeguarding Industries Act 1921. A long debate was finally ended with a series of votes, beginning at 23.15; Norris voted this time and at 23.30 but then may have gone home because he missed the rest of the series, which didn’t end until 02.45 on Tue 1 August 1922. So the sitting of Mon 31 July 1922 may have been Norris’ last in the House of Commons.
Henry Norris doesn’t seem to have been in the House of Commons in the afternoon of Tue 1 August 1922 when first business was the Speaker reading a letter, and two court reports, on the situation Horatio Bottomley was now in: a convicted criminal, and a bankrupt as well. Norris did not vote at any time on Wed 2 August 1922 so he may not have been at the House of Commons that day either.
Fri 4 August 1922 was the last day before Parliament’s summer recess. No voting was done that day so I can’t tell whether Henry Norris was there. If he was, it was not for long because those who did attend went home just before 4pm. Parliament was meant to resume on Tue 14 November 1922 but the Coalition collapsed in October and a general election had to be called instead.
During August 1922 I don’t know where Henry Norris was but I presume he was on holiday with his family.
On the evening of Wed 23 August 1922 the Conservative Party in Fulham East chose a candidate to replace Henry Norris; he was Sir Harry Greer, already MP for Wells but wanting to move to a constituency nearer London. Henry Norris doesn’t seem to have been at the meeting. Commenting on the decision on Fri 25 August 1922 the Fulham Chronicle said that Henry Norris hadn’t yet decided whether or not to seek another constituency to stand in - something that contradicts what Norris had told Fulham Conservatives in his latest letter.
Between his selection, 23 August 1922 and 20 October 1922 Greer dropped out, on grounds of ill-health, and Fulham East was left without a Conservative candidate again.
During football season 1922/23 the fixture list often had both Arsenal and Spurs at home on the same afternoon. The season began on Sat 28 August 1922 and already Arsenal had an injury crisis, which showed in Liverpool 5 Arsenal 2. At 6pm on Mon 28 August 1922 their first home game kicked off in poor light: Arsenal 1 Burnley 1. Arsenal director Charles Crisp had some guests at the game, : Joan Gamper, founder of Barcelona FC, and other friends from Cataluña. Henry Norris didn’t attend the match.
On Sat 2 September 1922 Henry Norris went with Arsenal’s third team, to Wealdstone. There, he opened the new football ground and dedicated a war memorial built to honour players at Wealdstone who’d died in World War 1. In reporting the afternoon’s events in the Islington Daily Gazette Arthur Bourke/Norseman mentioned that ex-Arsenal player Joe Shaw was now coach in charge of Arsenal’s third team; in the absence of more information I take it that his appointment was very recent. On that afternoon, Sat 2 September 1922 at Highbury, Arsenal 1 Liverpool 0 was a good result against the reigning champions.
On Fri 8 September 1922 the Fulham Chronicle reported some remarks made by the man recently adopted to fight Fulham East for the Liberals: he had accused Henry Norris of not keeping election promises about the treatment of ex-servicemen; though from the Chronicle’s coverage I’m not clear whether Norris was being accused personally or as a representative of the governing Coalition.
By the end of Sat 9 September 1922 Arsenal were back in a familiar place, second from bottom of Division One: Cardiff City 4 Arsenal 1 had happened after Arsenal had scored first.
On Fri 15 September 1922 Arsenal Football and Athletic Company Limited issued its annual report, showing a huge drop since last time in the amount owed to its biggest outside creditor, Humphreys Limited. The debt to them was now only £317; debts to other creditors had also dropped, to £5043, these creditors weren’t named but presumably include both Henry Norris and William Hall. The club still had a big overdraft, however: £14071.
Though Spurs were at home as well on Sat 16 September 1922 the biggest crowd of the day was at Highbury for Arsenal 2 Cardiff City 1 after Cardiff had taken the lead. Arthur Bourke/Norseman, in the Islington Daily Gazette, thought it a “famous victory” and regretted that Henry Norris had (again) not seen it.
Probably during week-commencing Mon 18 September 1922 Henry Norris donated a cup for a tournament at the Drive Tennis Club - the only contact I have seen between Norris and tennis.
Between Fri 22 and Thur 28 September 1922 Fulham Chronicle approached Henry Norris asking for his comments on the problems he’d encountered at Fulham East Conservative Party. Norris agreed to do so. Between Fri 22 and Thur 28 September 1922 but not on Sat 23 September, the interview was given; after Norris had kept an appointment in the City - I mention this to show firstly, that Norris was still busy and secondly, that I don’t know the half of his business appointments. During the interview Norris showed the Chronicle’s reporter letters from Conservative Party members; he allowed them to be printed as part of the interview, which appeared over two issues, on Fri 29 September and Fri 6 October 1922.
Sat 23 September 1922 was the notoriously bad-tempered north London derby in which the crowd at White Hart Lane unduly influenced a referee’s decision-making. Spurs’ forward Walden had to go off injured after only 10 minutes; so Spurs played 80 minutes with only ten men. There was a level of bad feeling noted by all the match reports and a number of unpleasant incidents before the big one; Arsenal played typically spoiling tactics with continual long balls out of defence. With ten minutes to go it was 0-2 and then Spurs scored a goal which the referee initially disallowed for offside before changing his mind. Arsenal’s protests to the referee, and the jubilation of Spurs’ players and fans, ended with Arsenal’s Alec Graham punching Spurs’ Smith. The disputed goal stood and the result was 1-2. In week commencing Mon 25 September 1922 the press was full of it and the FA began an inquiry into what had gone on. In north London, of course, each set of fans blamed the other team for starting the trouble. I’m not sure whether Henry Norris was at the match; but I suppose he was because he was summoned to the FA inquiry.
On the evening of Wed prob 27 September but possibly 20 September 1922 the Conservative Party in Fulham East held a meeting to endorse Sir Harry Greer as its new candidate.
On Fri 29 September 1922 Fulham Chronicle printed the first of its two-part interview with Henry Norris; as an exclusive. In it, the Chronicle made public what Henry Norris had said in his final letter to his constituency party: that he and Edith would withdraw completely from Fulham’s public life. Norris’ argument in the interview was that his decision not to stand again in Fulham East was not his own but had been forced on him. He also talked about the threats he had received during the passage of the Ready Money Football Betting Bill (see my file on 1920 for that and his interview with the representative of the betting companies) [ROGER I NEED A LINK HERE TO 1920]. Also on that day, Fri 29 September 1922, Norris wrote a letter in reply to an enquiry from Fulham councillor Mr Patterson, in which he stated his views on the Licensing Act of 1921. But the letter never appeared in print, so I don’t know what they were!
Between Fri 29 September and Fri 6 October 1922 Henry Norris was pursued by other newspapaer, all wanting interviews. He gave several, with the result that it became widely
understood - quite erroneously - that he’d been ousted as MP for Fulham East because he’d refused to give up his Ready Money Betting Bill. Henry Norris was obliged to give a public statement denying these interpretations. Also between those two dates Councillor Patterson replied to Norris’ letter about the 1921 Licensing Act, asking for more clarification.
After the tempestuous match at White Hart Lane, the return at Highbury, on Sat 30 September 1922 drew a huge crowd - 55000 - but was a meek affair. Spurs had to re-jig their forward line because of injuries but still played “extremely well” (according to the Times) while Arsenal’s forwards were (like too often) “not at all convincing” and the result was Arsenal 0 Spurs 2. In his match-day programme, George Allison, writing as The Gunner’s Mate, blamed Spurs’ crowd for the uproar at the end of the game at Spurs and said that stuff had been thrown from the crowd at Arsenal’s Blyth and Bradshaw. This match ended in a more friendly manner, however; Arthur Bourke/Norseman, writing in the Islington Daily Gazette, said that the two captains shook hands at the final whistle after Bradshaw had made the first move to do so. In all the excitement, most readers of the match-day programme probably missed entirely the news that I think was in it that day although I haven’t actually read it: the club announced that Sir Samuel Hill-Wood had recently joined Arsenal’s board of directors; beginning the family’s association with the club which has lasted over 80 years despite all that has gone on in the meantime.
On Tue 3 October 1922 Bromley UDC passed a planning application from Kinnaird Park Estate Company for one house in Park Avenue Plaistow. KPEC made no more applications until July 1924.
On Thur 5 October 1922 the Feltmakers’ Company held its main meeting of the year, the one at which its Master and senior officers for the next 12 months took office; but Norris missed it and so did fellow-member William Hall, probably because they were still at the FA headquarters in Russell Square. On the afternoon of Thur 5 October 1922 Norris, Hall, Charles Crisp, John Humble, Leslie Knighton, most of the Arsenal players and all their equivalents from Spurs gave evidence to the FA Commission of Inquiry into the north London derby of Sat 23 September. The resulting FA report censured several Arsenal players and suspended Spurs’ Smith for one month; it reminded crowds that they had to accept referees’ decisions, however poor. Spurs were warned about the behaviour of their crowds, which the report stated had influenced the referee’s decision-making. The referee seems to have got off scot-free though; as far as I can discover, he didn’t even give evidence.
On Sat 7 October 1922 wrote a second letter to Councillor Patterson, after the councillor’s request for further information; in the midst of a discussion in opening hours, Norris told Patterson he would not be taking any part in campaigning for the forthcoming local elections. The letter was published in Fulham Chronicle on Fri 27 October 1922.
After the usual shaky start, Arsenal were doing rather better. After Sat 7 October 1922, Arsenal 3 West Bromwich Albion 1, they were seventh from bottom.
By Wed 11 October 1922 a general election was widely expected soon; and there was a flurry of candidate selections.
Between 23 August 1922 and 20 October 1922; but most likely very close to 20 October 1922 Henry Norris wrote to the new chairman of the Conservative Party in Fulham, Edward Reed Armfield. The letter was not published, and the only account I have of what was in it is Norris’ own - he said that he’d told Armfield that it wouldn’t have surprised him at all if the new prospective candidate changed his mind before they got as far as adopting him; Norris implied that both Percy Gates (who’d never actually been selected) and then Greer had “declined to continue” as a candidate charged with representing Fulham East.
At 2pm Thur 12 October 1922 Henry Norris attended one of the few non-football events he went to in the London Borough of Islington: with Charles Crisp, Prince Henry, local MP Baldwin Raper and the mayors of Islington and Hornsey, he was at the Finsbury Park Empire (later the Rainbow, now a religious sect’s HQ - oh! The changing times!) for a matinée in aid of the local British Legion.
On Sat 14 October 1922 West Bromwich Albion 7 Arsenal 0 was beyond embarrassing. Arthur Bourke/Norseman in the Islington Daily Gazette could only rage, “Someone will have to suffer for this, and the sooner the better”.
Thur 19 October 1922 was the day the Coalition Government fell, via a meeting at the Carlton Club at which the Conservatives decided they would no longer be a part of it. Henry Norris was certainly a member of the Junior Carlton Club. Is that the same thing? - my knowledge of gentlemen’s clubs is virtually nil. In any case, I don’t know whether he attended the all-important meeting; or if he did, how he voted. By 6.30pm several Tory cabinet ministers had resigned from the Government, making Lloyd George’s position untenable, and he had gone to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister, suggesting an immediate general election. Although there had been rumours of impending upheaval for several weeks, the Coalition’s final collapse was so sudden that King George V had to rush back from Sandringham to receive Lloyd George’s resignation. This day, 19 October 1922 was the last in Henry Norris’ rather short Parliamentary career.
The following day, Fri 20 October 1922 Fulham East Conservative Party met to choose a candidate to fight the election. The chosen man this time was rather more local than Greer: Kenyon Vaughan Morgan was the chairman of Morgan Crucible Company Limited of Battersea. He was decidedly Norris’ social superior, being the son of the company’s founder and having gone to public school at Charterhouse. It was third time lucky for Fulham East Conservatives: Vaughan Morgan stayed as the MP at least until the 1930s.
By Tue 24 October 1922; probably a few days before the Conservative Party in Islington West chose a new candidate to replace Henry Norris’ acquaintance from the Metropolitan Water Board and on the London mayors’ circuit, Sir George Elliott. Elliott’s constituency party had fallen out with him for exactly the same reason - at least on the surface - that Norris’ had fallen out with him: refusal of the MP to contribute to local party funds to the extent that the party thought was required.
Tue 24 October 1922 was the day the Coalition government officially left office. From this day, 24 October 1922 Henry Norris was no longer an MP. And - given that he and Edith had refused to be involved any longer in Fulham’s local affairs - this day marks a big break with the past, both for him - and for me, because of course he doesn’t figure in the papers so much from now on. This is not to say he didn’t have anything to do - he did - but not so much and not so much in public. His appearances in minutes of proceedings, and in newspaper accounts of public meetings, are rarer and harder to spot. Except in football of course, but even here I’m rather disturbed by how he described football in his entry in Who’s Who: he said Arsenal FC was his recreation. I interpret that as him not giving football the attention it requires! I don’t think he started going regularly to matches again. I think he probably thought of himself as all-but-retired from now on; he spent more time enjoying his wealth.
He didn’t drop completely out of sight:
At 15.30gmt on Wed 25 October 1922 he was at the Royal Albert Hall as a past assistant grand sword bearer, for a great occasion in freemasonry: the investiture by the United Grand Lodge of England, of the Prince of Wales as Senior Grand Warden. Then he didn’t attend another Grand Lodge meeting until April 1924.
On Fri 27 October 1922 the Fulham Chronicle reported that the influence of Henry Norris in Fulham was lingering even after his departure. There was dissension and division amongst the Tories in Fulham East. They were disorganised, too, so that they might not be able to hold onto the seat for their new candidate. The Chronicle said that there were still “pro-Norris-ites” who would vote Liberal, not Tory; which might even let the Labour Party in. It was clear that the Conservative Party in Fulham did still fear Norris’ power: on Mon 30 October 1922 Mr Vaughan Morgan, and Edward Armfield called on Norris at his home in Richmond, and asked him and Edith to give public support to Vaughan Morgan’s campaign. This might be the reason why, on the evening of Wed 1 November 1922 Henry Norris went to Fulham Town Hall to attend the vote count in the local elections. When asked outright whether he would stand as an independent in Fulham East in the general election, he refused to give any definite answer.
After Mon 30 October 1922 Henry Norris wrote to Vaughan Morgan, setting down in writing what he had presumably said in person when they had met: why he would not offer the public support Vaughan Morgan and Armfield had asked for. As back-up for this stance, he enclosed copies of two letters: his own to Fulham East’s constituency party, dated 5 April 1922 and their reply of 7 April saying they had changed their minds and wanted a new candidate in Fu East. In this latest letter Norris told Vaughan Morgan that pressure had been brought to bear verbally on both him and Edith over the last few weeks to come out in his support.
The morning of Sat 4 November 1922 was nomination day in the general election. Mr Vaughan Morgan was the Conservative Party candidate in Fulham East. Henry Norris did not stand. Vaughan Morgan was elected as MP.
By Sat 2 December 1922 Arsenal FC’s position in Division One was grim; and the Times noted that it had been several weeks since any Division One club in London had won a match. Birmingham City 3 Arsenal 1 kept them rooted to the bottom yet again. Arthur Bourke/ Norseman felt that Christmas was going to be crucial for them. He urged that some of the reserves be allowed into the first team in its current hour of need. On Sat 16 December 1922 some of them were allowed in - Mackie, Kennedy, Milne and John - for Arsenal 1 Huddersfield Town 1, Arsenal having a goal disallowed because the whole of the ball hadn’t crossed the line.
The decision to let some reserves have their day may have been Henry Norris’s; team selection was not yet the sole responsibility of club managers. It didn’t work so well the next week though: Sat 16 December 1922 brought Huddersfield Town 4 Arsenal 0. Nor on Christmas Day, Mon 25 December 1922 when it was Bolton Wanderers 4 Arsenal 1 including an early appearance and goal by David Jack for Bolton who later played so wonderfully for Chapman’s Arsenal. The last game of the year was better though: Sat 30 December 1922 was Arsenal 3 Stoke City 0, the Times reckoning that Arsenal were at their best on heavy pitches, being so used to them at Highbury. Whether Henry Norris saw any of these matches I don’t know; my main source for his appearances at Highbury (Arthur Bourke) doesn’t mention him; he and his family were probably abroad because this period - after October 1922 was the most likely time for Henry Norris to have built his villa at Villefranche in the south of France.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE SOURCES OF ALL THIS INFORMATION, SEND ME AN EMAIL AND I’LL SEND YOU THE SOURCES FILE.
Copyright Sally Davis March 2008