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Ottawa To Ormskirk
Sir Arthur Stanley (1869 – 1947) was elected MP for Ormskirk Division in 1898 , The constituency, officially designated as South-West Lancashire, Ormskirk Division consisted of the town of Ormskirk and a number of surrounding parishes, namely, Aintree, Aughton, Bickerstaffe, Croxteth Park, Dalton, Downholland, Halsall, Kirkby, Knowsley, Lathom, Litherland, Lunt, Lydiate, Maghull, Melling, Netherton, Ormskirk, Orrell and Ford, Prescot, Scarisbrick, Sefton, Simonswood, Skelmersdale & Upholland.
Sir Arthur held the seat for twenty years, although there was a close challenge in 1910 from William Lever, the Bolton born Industrialist and creator of Port Sunlight and Rivington Park.
Before Arthur Stanley became the Ormskirk MP however, he had been living with his family in Canada from 1888 until 1893, where his father, the Hon Frederick Arthur Stanley, (later to become the 16th Earl of Derby,) was the 6th Governor General of Canada. The whole family became great fans of the sport of Ice Hockey whilst living in the Official Residence in Ottawa and two of the sons and a daughter all played in the amateur Ice Hockey league, the first women’s amateur final was played on March 8th 1889 and one of the players was Isobel Stanley, Arthur’s sister, who was to influence her father more than anyone to create the famous Stanley Cup. In 1892, her father gave Canada the treasured national icon, (the Stanley Cup). He originally donated the trophy as a challenge cup for Canada’s best amateur hockey club, but in 1909, it became contested by professional teams exclusively. Since 1926, only teams of the National Hockey League have competed for the trophy. This now famous cup bears Derby’s name as tribute to his enthusiasm and encouragement for the development of the sport. In 1945, as further recognition of Lord Derby’s work, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the “Honoured Builders” category‘. This was the same Lord Derby who donated the land to build the Coronation Park in Ormskirk for the enjoyment of the town’s young people. After her marriage, Lady Isobel Stanley Gathorne-Hardy’s role as a pioneer of women’s ice hockey in Canada was acknowledged with the Isobel Gathorne-Hardy Award. The award is given to an active player (at any level) whose values, leadership and personal traits are representative of all female athletes.
Arthur and his brother William played at amateur level at the The Rideau Rink, named after the Governors Residence Rideau Hall, which was opened in 1889, playing for the Rideau Rebels, a team made up of Government staff and parliamentarians.
On his return to England Arthur lived at Knowsley Hall with his father and family, working as an MP for Ormskirk Division.
Arthur Stanley was knighted in 1917, he was the Chairman of the British Red Cross Society throughout the years of the Great War, and his last contribution to Parliamentary debate as the Ormskirk Division MP was in 1918, when MPs debated the Lotteries Bill in relation to fundraising for the war effort and the donations made by ‘rich ladies’ of their jewellery for raffle prizes to raise funds, Sir Arthur is recorded as commenting…..’ I take my own Constituency in Lancashire, and I say that at practically every one of these bazaars I have been asked to take part in at least a dozen raffles. Does not every Hon. Member when he goes to bazaars provide himself with a pocket full of silver in order that he may take tickets or raffles when asked? I say this does not introduce the spirit of gambling. Is morality in any way harmed by this very harmless amusement of raffling, and if no harm has been caused when it has been practised in pre-war times, is harm going to be done because it happens to be on a rather bigger scale?’
He went on to add: …… I would point out that many of these ladies are very far from rich. They gave that which to each of them was most precious, and they gave it in order to help what they felt was even more precious. They felt that they were giving these pearls for the relief of suffering, which they themselves would willingly have laid down their lives to avoid. Out of these pearls have been formed a necklace. Some Members have spoken of that necklace as though it had a price, but it has no price. It is a necklace formed of pearls given by women in this great War, and it is something which cannot be priced; it is something above all price. That is not all. When you have an object like that in your possession, an object which was placed in the possession of the Red Cross to be used for a most sacred purpose, how are you to dispose of it in the best way? Is it the best way to sell it to a jeweller or to sell it to a rich man? May it not possibly be the best way to sell it in such a manner that even a man who can only afford to give a shilling may have an opportunity of securing that necklace? I only ask the question. I do not expect hon. Members opposite to agree with me, but I do ask them to put to themselves the question which we have put to ourselves, what, when you have a great trust like this confided to your care, in order to help those who are suffering for their country, is the best way to realise it? I own myself I should think that that necklace had been more properly and more worthily bought by the poor man who managed to pay the shilling than by anyone who could afford to buy it.
Sir Arthur Stanley died on the 4th November 1947 in Eastbourne, having never married nor had issue and his estate valued at £133,000 was administered by his brother Frederick Arthur Stanley.
Arthur’s father Lord Derby, along with the Countess, attended a bazaar held in the Drill Hall in 1904 to raise funds for the rebuilding of St Paul’s Church, Skelmersdale.