The early years
The London branch was one of the first branches to be formed after the setting up of the SNP in 1934. Tom Maxwell was a founder member in 1934 and joined the branch in the 60’s after a spell working in Africa. He had been a very active member of the Young Nationalist Association (1936 to 1946) in Edinburgh, leafletting and plastering slogans on walls throughout Edinburgh.
These were lonely years to be a member of the SNP in London, but somehow the branch managed to hang on through the war. To reinvigorate the branch they leafletted outside Westminster Abbey to have the stolen Stone of Destiny returned to Scotland.
The William Wallace memorial at Smithfield was conceived by a very diverse group of individuals including Scottish MPs, Scottish Aristocracy and members of the Scottish diaspora. On the 8th April 1956 the Earl of Dundee presided over a gathering of several hundred people, while his wife the countess unveiled the plaque, which adorns a wall of St Bartholomew’s hospital. It is unlikely that any members of London branch were on the founding committee.
However a number of London branch members were involved in the refurbishment of the plaque in time for the 700th anniversary of his execution. There was a march from Scotland headed by David Ross concluding at the memorial with a service of remembrance at Great St Bart’s church, which was founded in 1123 and was used at the time of Wallace’s execution. Jim Mclean was a London branch member who took a very active part in this remembrance and refurbishment.