ALFRISTON resident Lord Healey of Riddlesden travelled extensively while former leader of the Labour Party and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Although his official schedules were always busy, he found time to slip away and indulge his favourite pastime, photography. Now the results of his astonishing creativity and painterly eye can be seen at an exhibition in The Coach House Gallery, Alfriston. Called ‘People and Places - a Photographic Journey’ the display covers Lord Healey’s forays into the often dangerous streets of the USSR and China.
Photographs are imaginatively composed and moving. There is one of pre-1974 Cyprus showing a young girl pictured in a no-man’s-land environment with an Orthodox church in the background. Another shows very self-aware French girls apparently reading their books on the banks of the Seine in summer - trying very hard to be unaware of the camera. China and Russia feature, as do idyllic Swiss valleys and the effervescent liveliness of street markets across Europe. A caption to one advises would-be photographers to hold their cameras at waist-level so the subjects don’t realise anyone is taking their picture.
Lord Healey was born in London but moved to Yorkshire when he was five. Interestingly for a Labour politician his middle name is Winston - in honour of Winston Churchill.
He served with the Royal Engineers in World War II, in the North African campaign and was military landing officer for the British assault brigade at Anzio.
He joined the Labour Party, was elected to the House of Commons in 1952, was appointed Shadow Chancellor in 1972 and Chancellor in 1974. He is regarded by some people as ‘the best prime minister we never had’ but his famous catchphrase ‘Silly Billy’ was in fact first coined for him by impressionist Mike Yarwood.
The exhibition opened last Friday with a charity private view in support of the Chaseley Trust for Disabilities. It is dedicated to the memory of Lord Healey’s beloved wife Lady Edna Healey.
by Susan King.