David McFall R.A. (1919 - 1988)


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           1954/6 Alderman Frank Sheppard

Portrait Bust


Height 20" excluding base

For the Bristol Council House

(commissioned by Bristol City Council)

Exhibited Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1955 Catalogue No. 1347

Alderman Frank Sheppard C.B.E., M.A., J.P. (1863-1956); member Bristol City Council 1893-1956. First Labour Lord Mayor of Bristol

Obituary 14/7/1956 The Times


Alderman Frank Sheppard, father of Bristol City Council and the first Labour Lord Mayor of Bristol, who spent a life- time in the service of the city, died yesterday in a local nursing home at the age of 93. He was a freeman, had taken part in almost every big event in Bristol for the Past 50 years. and had been on the City Council continuously since 1904. He had been an alderman since 1910. A man true to his principles yet endowed with a rich vein of toleration, Alderman Sheppard made friends in every walk of life. Born at Weston-super-Mare, he was orphaned at the age of nine. He left school about his tenth birthday and started a colourful career by becoming an apprentice boot and shoe maker at Langford, Somerset. Going to Bristol at the age of 15 he joined the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives. Later he was a member of the executive of the union for 22 years and, for a period, President. From the day he went to his adopted city his life became part of the history of that city. He was active particularly in friendly society and trade union work. In 1893 he was elected to the City Council for the St. Paul's Ward. Shortly afterwards he was co-opted to the Board of Guardians  and so great was his dissatisfaction with conditions and so keen his interest in reform that he gave up his council work in 1896 to concentrate on poor law activities. In 1910 he unsuccessfully contested Bristol East for Labour, and in 1918, out of courageous conviction for the Coalition, declined Bristol Central, which was fought by his close friend the late Mr. Ernest Bevin.


It was in 1917 that Frank Sheppard became the city's first Labour Lord Mayor. Characteristically he regarded this as primarily a tribute to organized labour in the city. For 45 Years he led the Labour Party in Bristol and for 20 of these headed the City Council Labour Group. His Year at the Mansion House was marked with unprecedented approval. The Dockers' Union, the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, and friends in all walks of life presented to him full mayoral robes. So great was the response to the appeal that with the surplus contributions a silver tea and coffee service was presented to the Lady Mayoress and a car provided for use during Alderman Sheppard's year of office. After the 1914-18 War his civic service increased still further and in 1932 all Political parties joined in holding a civic reception in his honour. With the advent of the 1939-45 War he was appointed to the South- West Tribunal to deal with conscientious objectors. The close of 1951 marked the completion of 50 years' service on Bristol City Council and, although he had celebrated his eighty-ninth birthday he was still taking an active part in civic affairs. In November, 1954 came the celebration of 50 years' unbroken service to the council. In over six decades of public work he was chairman of the governors of Bristol Royal Infirmary and its house committee for over 15 years, regional director of the Bristol branch of the British Red Cross Society for over 15 years, and chairman of the War Pensions Committee for over 18 years. A member of the Kingswood Boot Arbitration Board, vice-president of Bristol Sunday Society, and an assessor under the Clergy Discipline Act of 1892, he was also one of the founders of Bristol Association for Industrial Reconstruction. He was a governor of Queen Victoria's Jubilee Convalescent Home, a member of the Borstal Committee of Bristol Prison, a Municipal Charity Trustee, a governor of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Bristol Grammar School, and the Red Maids' School Alderman Sheppard was a member, too, of Bristol Savages, vice-president of Bristol Sailors Home, president of the Colston Research Society, chairman of Dr. White's Charity, and a member of the executive of the Lord Mayor's Hospital Fund.

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