AN author from Colwall has written a biography of Britain's longest-serving Home Secretary.

Stephen Hart's new book tells the story of James Chuter Ede, who was home secretary between 1945 and 1951, longer than anyone else.

The book, entitled James Chuter Ede: Humane Reformer and Politician, has been published by Pen and Sword and is the first biography to be written about the former MP.

Chuter Ede is the only member of Clement Attlee's 1945 cabinet not to have yet had a biography written on them, and Mr Hart said he wants to tell the relatively unknown story.

He said: "It has been a fascinating experience studying the life of Chuter Ede, who left several books of diaries and numerous boxes of papers when he died. Many of these have hardly been looked at previously, and never by anyone writing a complete life.’

"I find so many people have no idea who Chuter Ede was, or how much he achieved – in contrast to many of those in the 1945 government, like Aneurin Bevan with the NHS, Attlee himself, Stafford Cripps, or Ernest Bevin with NATO.

"I think of this book as an introductory biography, as other researchers may want to spend more time investigating this interesting man.

"In several respects, knowing about him helps us understand how our contemporary country has turned out as it has – from reorganising public services after World War II, and establishing comprehensive secondary education, to paving the way for abolishing capital punishment, and designing the “one person one vote” Parliament we know today."

Local artist Michael Noakes, who lived in Malvern Wells, painted Chuter Ede’s portrait sixty years ago.

Shortly before he died in 2018, Mr Hart was lucky enough to meet Michael, who recalled painting him, and received a photo of the two of them together after he had seen the portrait itself at Surrey County Hall.

Stephen Hart originally hails from suburban Surrey like his subject, but has been long settled in Colwall.

He has been chair of both the Colwall Probus Club and a local charity, a school governor, parliamentary candidate and parish councillor.

He worked as a solicitor specialising in commercial law, from which he retired five years ago.

He spent the first years of his retirement researching Chuter Ede’s life, and is now looking into his next writing project.

James Chuter Ede: Humane Reformer and Politician is available in all good book stores.