The Sharpley Family

Arthur Henry Sharpley

Birth: 1865, in Louth, Lincolnshire, England

Father: Frederick Sharpley

Mother: Elizabeth Jones (Boughton) Sharpley

Married: Cecilia Lucy Chambers Stubbs in 1898, in Croydon district, Surrey, England

Occupation: Clergyman
Arthur worked in Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire, and Islington, London.

Death: 1945, in Cheltenham district, Gloucestershire, England, aged 80

1881: 184 Eastgate, Louth, Lincolnshire
1891: Arthur H. Sharpley, Boarder, is aged 25, born in Louth, Lincolnshire
1901: Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire: Arthur H. Sharpley is aged 35, born in South Linconshire and his occupation is Clergyman England
1911: Keynsham district, Somerset: Arthur Henry Sharpley is aged 45


Arthur Warden Sharpley

Birth: 1903, in Keynsham district, Gloucestershire, England

Baptism: 16 December 1903, in Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire, England

Father: Arthur Henry Sharpley

Mother: Cecilia Lucy Chambers (Stubbs) Sharpley

1911: Worcester, Worcestershire: Arthur W. Sharpley is aged 7


Cecil Herbert Sharpley

Cecil Herbert Sharpley
Cecil Herbert Sharpley
Birth: 1908, in Keynsham district, Gloucestershire, England

Baptism: 22 December 1908, in Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire, England

Father: Arthur Henry Sharpley

Mother: Cecilia Lucy Chambers (Stubbs) Sharpley

Married: Veronica Theresa Connolly.
Veronica was also a member of the Communist party. The two separated in May 1948, shortly before Cecil left the party.
1949: 516 Gilbert Street, West Preston, Victoria, Australia (Australian Archives A6119-188 p50)

Cecil began training in England for the Anglican ministry but, at Cambridge, abandoned both University and Church, and went out to Australia in 1928. He worked the land in Ballarat, Victoria, for two years, and then settled in Melbourne where he saw out four jobless years during the depression. During this time he made a few literary contributions to newspapers. Cecil joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1935 and rose to be one of the seven top executives in the party in Victoria. Cecil resigned from the Communist Party in December 1948, and wrote a series of six articles published in the Sydney Morning Herald in which he exposed the complete workings of the party, named names of party members and leaders, and described party activities including vote rigging of union elections. He was the the star witness in the 1949-50 Victorian Royal Commission on Communism to which he was deposed for 16 days. Isolated from, and vilified  by, his longtime friends in the party, and separated from his Communist wife, Cecil returned to England in December 1949. He wrote an autobiography, The Great Delusion, which was not a financial success and was, for a while, in demand as a speaker on communism, but this faded, and by 1953 he had settled down in Finchley, London making a living as an insurance salesman.

In the first article there is some autobiographical material describing Cecil's path from son of an English clergyman to Australian communist.
The Sunday Herald 17 April 1949 p4:
  I was reared in an atmosphere of social reform. My father was a Church of England clergyman at Mangotsfield (a village outside Bristol) and at Islington (North London).
  At 16 I was leading a prayer and Bible study group at my school (Weymouth College); at 17 I was preaching in North London mission halls; at 18 I was headed for Cambridge and the Church of England ministry.
ALTHOUGH it is more than 20 years ago, I can remember vividly the night I broke away from that course. It was an English summer night and I was looking out my window at Cambridge.
  I had just finished reading Bertrand Russell's "I Believe." It shook my beliefs.
  On that tranquil summer eve I decided to change my life before it really started. I abandoned the University and the Church.
  On January 10, 1928, I sailed for Australia in the Largs Bay as a "Little Brother." My "Big Brother," Archdeacon Hancock, met me in Melbourne.
  For two years I worked on the land, at Ballarat. I read and absorbed Ramsay MacDonald's "Socialism; Critical and Constructive."
  Then came the depression and four jobless years. What I saw in Australia in those cruel years, combined with my deep studies in politics and economics, made me more and more a radical.
  In 1931 I formed in Melbourne a Socialist propaganda group - the Bernard Shaw Society.
  In 1933 I joined the Melbourne branch of the Australian Labour Party. I found there a coolness toward those folk the A.L.P. deemed "intellectuals."
  I was disgusted by what I saw of the opportunism, incompetence and sheer laziness of some Labour politicians.
IN 1935, still bitter from depression memories, and disillusioned by the A.L.P., I became a Communist.
  Jack Blake signed me in at the old party rooms in Little Bourke Street (the Salvation Army is there now).
  I saw in Communism the path to true Socialism. And, after the A.L.P. Socialists, the Communists impressed me with their zeal, energy and enthusiasm.
  In the 14 years to come I was to suffer much disillusionment over Communist theory and practice.

Sharpley's Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) dossier is now open to the public (and part of it available online) at the Australian Archives.

1930: Henry Lawson. The Poet of the People (Sydney Morning Herald 13 September 1930 p11)
1931: Henry Kendall: Ninetieth Anniversary Reflectons (Sydney Morning Herald 18 April 1931 p13)
1931: Practical Hints for Hunters of First Editions  (Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) 13 June 1931 p2)
1949: I was a Communist Leader: How The Party Rules and Plots: 14 Years of Faith - Disillusion  (Sunday Herald (Sydney) 17 April 1949 p4)
1949: Ex-Communist Tells How Party Strives For Chaos (Sydney Morning Herald 18 April 1949 p2)
1949: "Legal Sabotage" On Destroyer In Naval Dockyard (Sydney Morning Herald 19 April 1949 p2)
1949: How Communist Party Rigged Union Ballots (Sydney Morning Herald 20 April 1949 p2)
1949: "Strike In Waves" Technique To Dislocate Industry (Sydney Morning Herald 21 April 1949 p2)
1949: Communist Plan To Control Powerhouse In War (Sydney Morning Herald 22 April 1949 p2)
1949: Sharpley Answers Eleven Vital Questions: Tells How To Deal With Communists (Sunday Herald (Sydney) 24 April 1949 p4)
1952: The Great Delusion: the autobiography of an ex-communist leader

Census & Addresses:
1911: Keynsham district, Somerset: Cecil Herbert Sharpley is aged 2
1941: Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria, Australia   (Australian Archives A6119-185 p129)
1948: Flat 19, 205 Flemington Street, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Australian Archives A6119-188 p54)
1949: 452 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Australian Archives A6119-188 p54)
1953: Flat 4, 341 Finchley Road, Hampstead, London (Australian Archives A6119-188 p15)
1955: "Pinehurst", 587 Finchley Road, Hampstead, London (Australian Archives A6119-188 p10)


Doreen Lilian (Sharpley) Main

Birth: 1902, in Keynsham district, Gloucestershire, England

Baptism: 16 May 1902, in Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire, England

Father: Arthur Henry Sharpley

Mother: Cecilia Lucy Chambers (Stubbs) Sharpley

Married: Stuart Main in 1933, in Winchcomb district, Gloucestershire, England
Stuart was born in 1903, in Plymouth district, Devon, the son of Ernest Augustus Main and Eleanor Elizabeth Drover.
1911: Stoke upon Trent, Staffordshire: Stuart Main is aged 7

1911: Keynsham district, Somerset: Doreen Lilian Sharple is aged 9


Esther Muriel (Sharpley) Raworth

Birth: 1900, in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

Baptism: 4 June 1900, in Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire, England

Father: Arthur Henry Sharpley

Mother: Cecilia Lucy Chambers (Stubbs) Sharpley

Married: Reginald Raworth in 1934, in Winchcomb district, Gloucestershire, England
Reginald was born in 1902, in Bridgwater district, Somerset, the son of Albert Edward Raworth and Claudia Maria Hellier.
1911: Bridgwater, Somerset: Reginald Raworth is aged 9

1901: Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire: Esther M. Sharpley is aged 1, born in Birmingham
1911: Bristol, Somerset: Esther Sharple is aged 11


Irene Cecilia (Sharpley) Henry

Birth: 1899, in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

Baptism: 5 May 1899, in St George's, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England

Father: Arthur Henry Sharpley

Mother: Cecilia Lucy Chambers (Stubbs) Sharpley

Married: Douglas G. Henry in 1926, in Islington district, London, England

1901: Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire: Irene Sharpley is aged 2, born in Birmingham
1911: Keynsham district, Somerset: Irene Cecilia Sharpley is aged 12

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