Labour Leader from 1910-11, George Nicoll Barnes CH PC (2 January 1859 – 21 April 1940) was a Scottish politician and a leader of the Labour Party. Barnes was born on 2 January 1859 in Lochee, Dundee, the second of five sons of James Barnes, a skilled engineer and mill manager from Yorkshire, and his wife, Catherine Adam Langlands. The family moved back to England and settled at Ponders End in Middlesex, where his father managed a jute mill in which George himself began working at the age of eleven, after attending a church school at Enfield Highway. He then spent two years as an engineering apprentice, first at Powis James of Lambeth then at Parker's foundry, Dundee. After finishing his apprenticeship he worked for two years at the Vickers shipyard in Barrow before returning once again to the London area, where he experienced unemployment during the slump of 1879. He had a number of short-term jobs before settling for eight years at Lucas and Airds in Fulham. In 1882 he married Jessie, daughter of Thomas Langlands, with whom he had two sons and a daughter. Barnes had a long and active retirement, continuing to support the International Labour Organization, serving as chairman of the Co-operative Printing Society, and publishing several books, including his autobiography, From Workshop to War Cabinet (1923), and a History of the International Labour Office (1926). He was a pleasant-looking, mild-mannered man, but little is known about his private life; his youngest son was killed in action in France while serving as a Second Lieutenant with the Seaforth Highlanders during the First World War. He died in 1940 at his London home, and was buried in Fulham Cemetery.
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