This film is part of Free

Wimbledon Election

A wonderful newsreel showing scenes at the 1916 by-election in Wimbledon, featuring charismatic challenger Kennedy Jones.

Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


Kennedy Jones was a journalist who entered politics at the 1916 Wimbledon election. This film opens with him speechifying to camera, to the bemusement of two tough-looking youths. It’s followed by terrific scenes from outside his campaign HQ, where there’s a busy crowd of men, boys, dogs and bikes, plus one policeman in a poncho. Then to the polling station – his car is decorated by a banner featuring his face between two union flags – where five soldiers accompany him inside.

Kennedy was known as KJ and had pioneered tabloid-style populist journalism. In Wimbledon, he ran an insurgent campaign against Conservative Stuart Coats. Kennedy opposed the wartime political truce and stood as an independent, in favour of “a more vigorous prosecution of the war, the equality of sacrifice for all and the destruction of German trade in home markets”. He lost by 1800 votes but entered Parliament later that year after winning an election in Hornsey. Jones died in 1921 of pneumonia.