James Dixon Murray
Early life and education
James Dixon Murray was born in East Howle, County Durham, on 17 September 1887 to William Murray and Amelia Murray née Dixon. He was a member of a family of 12 brought up in a miner's three-roomed cottage at 27, Front Street, Browney Colliery. He began work in a Durham pit at 13, and at 16 was hewing coal. He had an elementary education, educated at East Howle Elementary school, but was anxious to improve himself, went to evening classes and twice won WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) university scholarships.
Early political career (1925–1942)
He was a miners' union official, was elected to Durham County Council in 1925, and in 1937 became an Alderman of Durham City.
He was elected unopposed as Member of Parliament (MP) for Spennymoor at a by-election in July 1942, following the resignation through ill-health of the Labour MP Joseph Batey. He held the seat at the 1945 election, and when the Spennymoor constituency was abolished for the 1950 general election, he was returned as MP for the new North West Durham seat.
An urban myth surrounds his maiden speech. It is popularly believed that it took him years to make his maiden speech, finally rising to his feet during World War II to complain about "the shortage of dum-tits at Meadowfield Co-op". In fact he made his maiden speech, entitled "Coal Situation" on 1 October 1942, a little over two months after his election to parliament. His speech about the "Soothers" was actually made during the closing months of World War II, almost 3 years after his entry to Parliament.
Prior to his election to Parliament, he ran a shop and lived in a house opposite it at 11 Frederick Street, North Meadowfield until he died. He was an Independent Methodist Minister and President of the Browney Independent Methodist Church in Brandon Lane. When the chapel closed, he founded and opened the new Murray Independent Methodist Church on 11 October 1958 on the new Saw Mills Estate, at Grove Road, Brandon which is locally known as "Jimmy Murray's chapel". He died at Dryburn Hospital, Durham and left an estate valued at £14,769 and was survived by his wife and their three daughters.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1983) . British parliamentary election results 1918-1949 (3rd edition ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. ISBN 0-900178-06-X.
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
- Golden Browney Northern Echo, 1 July 2004 Retrieved on 2012-09-29
- Spinning yarns of yo-yos Northern Echo, 7 July 2004 Retrieved on 2012-09-29
- Fighting a peculiar prejudice Northern Echo, 14 July 2004 Retrieved on 2012-09-29]
- From the chapel to the clarts Northern Echo, 21 July 2004 Retrieved on 2012-09-29]
- Gadfly Northern Echo, 28 July 2004 Retrieved on 2012-09-29
- Hansard, 1 October 1942 vol 383
- Hansard, 5 June 1945 vol 411
- Time Magazine, 17 March 1947
- http://www.ancestry.co.uk England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations),1858-1966
- Northern echo, Pit boy who became M.P. left £14,000, date unknown
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by James Murray
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Spennymoor
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for North West Durham
| Succeeded by|