The Acland Connection

It seems that I am 'unofficially' related to the Aclands (on my mother's side from the 19th Century)....  Sir Richard Acland is perhaps best known for 'giving' the KILLERTON and HOLNICOTE Estates in Devon/Somerset to the National Trust in 1947 and helping found the 'COMMON WEALTH' Party at the start of World War II.  But he was also a founder member of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).  According to Anne Acland within A DEVON FAMILY the Story of the Aclands (Phillimore & Co., London, 1981), Sir Richard's father, "...was an acknowledged elder statesman of the by then tiny handful of Liberals who formed the parliamentary party in the 1930s. Francis soon became very much attached to Killerton, with a special affection for the forest and garden. He economised so as to subscribe handsomely to Kingdon Ward's plant-hunting expeditions to the Himalaya, and in consequence many new species of rhododendrons made their appearance.  He liked nothing better than to take flowers to his friends at Westminster, on whichever side of the House they sat...... 

A lovely clump of ARISEAMA ERUBESCENS growing in the rock garden at Killerton




Acland was a talented polemicist (art or practice of controversial discussion - especially verbal or written attacks on political opponents).  His first book, UNSER KAMPF (Our Struggle), an answer to Hitler's MEIN KAMPF, was according to his Obituary in 'THE DAILY TELEGRAPH' (November 27th, 1990), "..a runaway success on its publication in 1940 - selling 132,000 copies - and earned its author a place in the NAZI BLACK BOOK, listing those who were to be killed or put in concentration camps when the Germans invaded".......

The Obituary continued, "The Aclands had long enjoyed a reputation for contrary temperaments.... The family characteristics led Asquith to remark that 'mankind is divided into three species: Men, Women and Aclands'".  Whilst I have never been a Member of Parliament, let alone "strode the corridors of power" but a number of people who have encountered me during assorted episodes in my life, might well agree that I qualify as belonging to a different 'species'!

Sir Richard had a lot to say on many topics, having WE TEACH THEM WRONG: RELIGION AND THE YOUNG, first published in 1963 by VICTOR GOLLANCZ LTD, London.


The purpose behind PUBLIC SPEAKING was to help others present the case for socialism and living democracy more effectively from public platforms.  Whilst his advice primarily referred to speeches made in support of socialism, he commented that those who do not feel any sympathy for such ideals, will still find the advice itself equally relevant to any speech on any subject.  It was also published by VICTOR GOLLANCZ LTD, London, in 1946.

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