2, Swan Court, Market Street, Manchester: William Hough & Sons, 1 January 1906. First edition, only printing. Leaflet. This extravagantly rare leaflet publication – potentially unique thus – is the first edition, only printing, of Winston S. Churchill’s Address to the Electors of North-West Manchester, published on 1 January 1906 in the run up to the first election he contested as a Liberal.
Of the three copies known to us, this is the only privately-held copy and the sole example to retain the canvassing leaf insertion inviting “the undersigned” to declare intention “to support the candidature of Mr. WINSTON S. CHURCHILL at the forthcoming General Election.”
The leaflet consists of a single 16.5 x 10.625 inch (41.91 cm x 26.99 cm) sheet folded once vertically to form four 8.25 x 10.625 inch (20.96 x 26.9 cm) panels. The upper left of the front panel features the same iconic image of a stern and earnest young Churchill later featured on the dust jacket for Liberalism and the Social Problem (1909) and the wraps edition of The People's Rights (1910). To the right of Churchill’s image is the statement “NORTH-WEST MANCHESTER | PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION, 1906.” and the titular “TO THE ELECTORS OF NORTH-WEST MANCHESTER”. Churchill’s address, with bolded sub-headings, fills the lower half of the front panel, two inner panels, and two-thirds of the rear panel, terminating in his printed name and “Colonial Office, New Year’s Day, 1906.”
The single-sheet, perforated leaflet insert is clearly meant to accompany Churchill’s message. The upper two thirds is a message from the local Liberal committee introducing Churchill as a “Free Trade and Liberal Candidate”, urging support for him, and stating “Mr. Churchill’s views… will be found in the accompanying Address…” The bottom 2.75 inch (6.99 cm) portion is perforated, meant for detachment, signature, and submittal in declaration of support for Churchill’s candidacy. Both the leaflet and insert state “Printed and published by Wm. Hough & Sons” of “Swan Court, Market Street, Manchester.”
The rarity of these two items rather eclipses normal considerations of condition. Nonetheless, condition is quite good. Both leaflets are complete, with faint horizontal and vertical creases from having been previously folded and some light wear and soiling. They are protected within a clear, removable mylar sleeve and housed in a rigid crimson cloth folder.
On 31 May, 1904, Churchill left his father’s Conservative Party, crossing the aisle to become a Liberal, beginning a dynamic chapter in his political career that saw him champion progressive causes and branded a traitor to his class. On 2 January 1906 he published his two-volume biography of his father. Immediately thereafter, he campaigned for eight days in North-West Manchester, hoping to win his first election as a Liberal. Churchill’s party defection was on the minds of the voters. His father’s history was much on his own mind. “…I have changed my Party… I am proud of it. When I think of all… Lord Randolph Churchill gave to… the Conservative Party and the ungrateful way he was treated… I am delighted that circumstances have enabled me to break with them…”
Churchill arrived at Manchester on 4 January 1906 to campaign; this election address had already been published on 1 January. “It was a sober and realistic statement of the Government case and of the general failure of the Tories in the previous Parliament. His strongest arguments turned on the case for Free Trade”. (RS, Vol. II, pp.114-5)
Manchester had been a Conservative Party stronghold for nearly fifty years. Nonetheless, on 13 January 1906 Churchill, at the age of 31, won the traditionally Conservative seat with 5,639 votes out of a total of 10,037 votes cast with 89 percent of the electorate voting. “His efforts… helped… other Liberal candidates to overturn Conservative seats” in what became a Liberal landslide.
Churchill’s Address was published the same day in The Times and the Manchester Guardian, but this is the only stand-alone publication.
Reference: Cohen A16, Woods A9/2. Item #007210