THE POLITICS AND LEGAL PRACTICE OF LIVERPOOL
THE BACKGROUND TO 65 YEARS OF EUROPEAN FREEDOM
The only son of two teachers, Edinburgh-born David Maxwell Fyfe came to Liverpool in 1922 to be a barrister on the
Northern Circuit. His chambers were at 25 Lord Street, and here he forged a career until he became Kings Counsel in 1934.
Although his legal work then took him to london, in the same year he became MP for the West Derby constituency, which he represented until he became Lord Chancellor in 1954.
Liverpool therefore provided the vibrant backdrop to his work in opposition in the late 1940s.
First he was prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials
and he then championed and drafted the
European Convention on Human Rights.
English Cabaret performed DREAMS OF PEACE & FREEDOM at The Museum of Liverpool and
The International Slavery Museum during The Big Year for Freedom 2015 to mark David Maxwell Fyfe's contribution to securing our fundamental rights and freedoms in law after the Second World War.
They returned for Holocaust Memorial Day in the year of IMT Nuremberg's 70th anniversary.
Our Liverpool Adventure
Written, Presented and Edited by
Robert Blackmore and Lily Blackmore
English Cabaret broadcast the first of a series of livestreams of Dreams of Peace & Freedom from Liverpool on 24th February 2015.
You can hear an excerpt here, sung by Lily Blackmore, Sue Casson and Jessica Holgate.
This project, now sung in Dreams of Peace & Freedom, was triggered by the discovery of letters exchanged between David and Sylvia Maxwell Fyfe when he was a prosecutor and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. These were love letters exchanged every coupld of days as they dealt with their post-war separation. However, they also told the story of their lives, one aspect of which was the management of Maxwell Fyfe's West Derby constituency.
Liverpool born and bred, Sylvia, sister of actor Rex Harrison, moved to London in 1935, when her husband became a KC and MP. She was ideally placed to stand in for him in his year long absence from his duties. The exchanges below illustrate that role.
'It was magical'
Julia Bryan, Senior Education Manager, National Museums, Liverpool
Liverpool apparently went quite well. I did a women's meeting for Tommy in the afternoon and visited all three of our wards in the evening. I saw all the councillors and read your message at each meeting. It was received with great enthusiasm and I explained that you had just left so all is under control for the moment... There was a letter from the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union asking you to be Vice President. I have written saying you are in Nuremberg but I am sure that you would be honoured to accept. I will post it when you 'OK it' - as you would say!
I could not be more grateful than I am to you for your work in Liverpool. I told Goshenin the A.G. of the Soviet Union and he was most impressed. He said, "That is a partnership. We have not that in Russia. Women take part for themselves but not for their husbands. Lady Fyfe would be excellent." That means a lot from them.
I am going up to Liverpool again next Tuesday. It is the annual meeting of the Belmont women, and I am also going to Green Lane. I shall not go until the 2.40 as they rang from Foreign News talks at the BBC and offered to let me hear your cross-examination of Goering on Tuesday morning...
I must say it will be a joy when you put on your old mantle again! What you - and the Russians - say. I genuinely love doing what I can to keep this end floating till you come home. The trouble is I feel so terrifyingly inadequate.
I told you I 'stood' the British delegation (which included the Judge's dinner parties) the VE party. I left at 9.45 after a heavy evening with Jackson, Elsie and an American admiral who obviously disliked me because I disliked German admirals who murdered Liverpool sailors.