Jim Addington – 14th November 1924 – 21st June 2007


Jim Addington who died last Thursday was an ardent campaigner for peace and justice.  He was an enthusiastic writer to the papers and other periodicals, exhorting, encouraging and criticising.  Jim was capable of becoming impatient and warm in argument, but we will remember him more for his great charm, his thoughtful intelligence and his passion for peace making work.  He seemed equally happy with a pen or a placard in his hand.



Jim was a North Surrey man, born in London, brought up in and around Surbiton and Walton with his three sisters and living nearly all his life in the area.  He won a place at Tiffin School in Kingston, but his school days were not very distinguished and he left at 16.   Following a spell of factory work, he joined the RAF late in the second World War but saw no action.  After the war he did a variety of jobs in the area including working in youth clubs.  Someone spotted his ability and suggested that he apply for Ruskin College in Oxford where he took a diploma in Economics and Political Science.  Jim was happy at Ruskin, finding a taste for learning and discovering his ability as a long distance runner.  Jim’s natural distance was marathon and 10,000m  and he ran as a member of Walton Athletic Club for many years. 


After Ruskin, Jim started teacher training, but decided that this was not for him.  He took a variety of commercial jobs in and around the South East before setting up the successful soft furnishing business, Addingtons of Tolworth, that bore his name for many decades.  He and Rosemary developed Addingtons from its small beginnings in 1969 into a well known and respected local business.  How they contrived to do this with their level of activism is something of a mystery to many of us.  In 2005 they decided to reduce their commitments and work from home, with Jim continuing to measure for carpets until shortly before he and Rosemary left on his last holiday. 


In his early working years Jim showed no sign of his later left wing commitment and activism.  Indeed, he was a member of the Young Conservatives although he said that it was mainly for social reasons.  The Thatcher years started the change, but Rosemary says that it was watching a recording of the film The War Game that really triggered Jim’s change of political direction, together with the arrival of cruise missiles on British soil.  Another formative influence was Joe and Joan Cheek, committed communists who were close friends with Jim and Rosemary.


Jim developed into a committed and very effective campaigner against nuclear weapons and for the UN and international peace movement.  He  was on CND National Council for many years, also was Chair of Action for UN Renewal, long serving member and former Chair of London Region CND, an active member of UNA, Chair of Kingston Peace Council and several other significant roles including being a board member of the Stop the War Coalition. He wrote regularly in the Morning Star on UN reforms and international affairs and his letters to national papers were regularly published.  He was a regular lobbyist of Parliament, participant in conferences and meetings on peace and international affairs. 


Although activism was his passion, Jim enjoyed a wide range of cultural experiences – concerts, theatre, travel, country walks and a good argument. He was a keen member of Kingston Choral Society.


His many friends and admirers will remember Jim Addington’s enthusiasm, his gentleness and the pleasure of his civilised company.   


He and Rosemary loved Polperro and spent happy holidays there for almost 35 years.  Jim was taken ill while he was on holiday in Cornwall and died in hospital after a short illness.