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Jonathan Edward Hodgkin (1875-1953)

Darlington Quaker and Durham Prison Chaplain

J.E. Hodgkin’s old school magazine recorded that he undertook the following war work:

Dec 1914
Member of Darlington executive committee for War Relief
Organiser of transport for wounded in Darlington district

Jul 1916
supporter of Conscientious Objectors before theTribunals
organiser of transport for wounded in Darlington district
Chairman Y.M. Committee on War and the Social Order
Treasurer London Peace Society
on the council of the Union of Democratic Control and the Friends’ Service Committee

According to the book “Conscription and Conscience: A History, 1916-1919″, Jonathan Edward also acted as Quaker prison chaplain for Durham Prison. The Society of Friends do not have ministers or clergy but it felt that it was important to offer support to Conscientious Objectors (COs) in military and civil detention so members of Friends Meetings volunteered to these posts.

In June 1918 he wrote the following about one of his visits to the gaol:

“Visiting the prison after five or six weeks’ absence, I am struck by the marked effect which the continued confinement and low diet is having on the men. Several spoke to me of feeling depressed, and as if there were a cloud over them. They do not respond or take the same share and interest in the service as they used to do a few months ago…I am uneasy about the mental condition of [name blanked]. He assured us today that he knew the war was over and that this information was being withheld purposely by myself and the warders; and in other ways behaved very curiously and made erratic irresponsible statements.” (p. 298)

When the COs were released from Durham Prison Hodgkin arranged a “farewell supper” to which he invited all the COs and their warders. “All the warders at liberty accepted, and they had a cordial time together – a unique incident.” (p. 272)

The “Leightonian” School magazine also recorded in July 1916 that J.E.Hodgkin had given supportive written evidence as part of the Auckland Rural Tribunal. The tribunal concerned a Leighton Park School pupil, Joseph Bigland Fryer, from Howden-le-Wear, Durham.

Sources (includes photograph)
“Conscription and Conscience: A History, 1916-1919″ by John W Graham (London, 1922)

Civil Parish: Darlington

Birth date: 1875-Nov-4

Death date: 1953-Dec-19

Armed force/civilian: Civilian

Residence: “Shellys”, Abbey Road, Darlington (1911 census)

Education: Bootham School, York (later Governor)
Leighton Park School, Reading (nicknamed “The Quaker Eton”)

Religion: Society of Friends

Organisation membership: Institution of Electrical Engineers, Associate Member (1901), Member (1902-1930 last available list)
UK, Electrical Engineer Lists, 1871-1930,

Founder of Darlington Society of Arts

Founder member of North East Automobile Association (Honorary Secretary and Treasurer)

President of Old Leightonians Club (1911)

Chairman of Governors at Leighton Park School

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Employment: Electrical engineer (1911 census)

Family: Wife: Elspeth Lillian Hodgkin (nee Backhouse), married 15 July 1902 (Shields Daily Gazette, 16 July 1902)
Children: Neville Backhouse Hodgkin, Oliver Henry Hodgkin, Brian Maurice Hodgkin (1911 census)

Gender: Male

Contributed by Durham County Record Office | Jane Wilson