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Northampton, Northants: Julius Gottschalk

Hannover-born Julius Gottschalk was effectively forced out of Northampton because of public concern that a German was in charge of the town’s tramways.

Mr Gottschalk had run the tramways for years and newspaper reports suggest he had carried out his job very effectively. But on the outbreak of war public opinion turned on him, with concern that his knowledge of bridges and roads was a security risk.

He was supported by employee trade unions and his position as a council employee became the biggest local political issue of the summer of 1914. A vote at the council chamber on his future in the job ended as a tie 20 votes each. After heated public meetings his resignation was accepted and he was given £300 in compensation.

Kate Wills is from the Western Front Association in Northampton and has researched the story. She explains how the issue came to a head.

Location: Northampton, Northants NN1 2BA
Image shows Julius Gottschalk

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