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File:1929 Alfred Critchley.jpg

Alfred Critchley in 1929 by Lafayette (Lafayette Ltd) © National Portrait Gallery, London

Newly appointed Director-General of British Overseas Airways Corporation A.C. Critchley (right) meets Air Marshal Sir John Linnell, Deputy Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East (left) at an airfield in the Middle East, 1943

Brigadier-General Alfred Cecil Critchley, CMG, CBE, DSO (1890 – 9 February 1963) was an entrepreneur and politician in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK). He served as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) from 1934 to 1935.

Critchley was born in Calgary, Canada in 1890 and brought to England at the age of nine.[1] His first career was a military one, initially in a Canadian military regiment and towards the end of the First World War, in the Royal Flying Corps whose training he organised. By the end of the war he had become the youngest Brigadier-General in the British Imperial armies at the age of only 27 and had married Maryon Galt, the cousin of the wife of the press baron Sir Max Aitken, later Lord Beaverbrook.[1]

After the war Critchley involved himself in a number of business ventures in Central America before returning to the UK where he became a director of Associated Portland Cement. In 1926 he formed the private company, the Greyhound Racing Association. Under the auspices of this company he became a significant sporting entrepreneur in the UK. He introduced greyhound racing to the UK in Belle Vue, Manchester in 1926. The success of this initial trial led Critchley to purchase the White City Stadium in London. He subsequently built both the Harringay Stadium and Harringay Arena.[1]

He was married for a second time in London to Miss Joan Foster of Mount Street, London on December 22, 1927.[2]

Critchley contested the 1929 general election as a Conservative in the Manchester Gorton constituency, a safe seat for the Labour Party where he was heavily defeated.

In February 1931, he contested the Islington East by-election as a candidate for the Empire Free Trade Crusade and the United Empire Party, which both sought to make the British Empire a free trade bloc. The Empire Crusade had won the Paddington South by-election in October 1930, and hoped to repeat its success. Critchley came second, with 27.2% of the votes, and the Empire Crusade never won another seat.

He rejoined the Conservative Party, and won the Twickenham by-election on 22 June 1934. Nevertheless, he did not contest the 1935 general election.

He was a director general of BOAC from 1943 - 1946.[3]

In 1953 he suffered a severe infection which caused him to go blind. In 1954 he was involved in the publishing deals of Robert Maxwell.[1]

Further reading

Critch! The Memoirs of Brigadier General, A.C. Critchley, London, Hutchinson, 1961


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ticher, Mike (2002). The Story of Harringay Stadium and Arena. Hornsey Historical Society. ISBN 0-905794-29-X. .
  2. The Guardian, December 23rd, 1927
  3. Obiituary in The Guardian, February 10th, 1963

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hylton Murray-Philipson
Member of Parliament for Twickenham
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Keeling

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