John Wheatley Cigarette Card: Never Hit A Home Run, Only Created Social Housing

An artist' partly colored drawing of a middle aged man

Have you got a cigarette card of John Wheatley like the one above? Collecting cigarette cards of British politicians probably never had the the attraction of owning baseball cards in the United States. Still, it’s not too late to honour Wheatley for his contribution to social housing. Though not quite as earth-shaking as the excitement of a Babe Ruth home run, John Wheatley’s struggle to create housing for the poor is undoubtedly worthy of a cigarette card in the eyes of many.

Born in 1876, Wheately was the son of a Scottish miner who started working in the pits while he was still a child. He grew up in a single room miner’s cottage shared with seven siblings, his parents and often borders. Active as a Catholic churchgoer and a socialist, he became a Glasgow printer and, among other things, a fierce advocate for the right of the poor to live in affordable housing. In this he anticipated current worldwide crusades, which still struggle to achieve the same assurance for all.

For a retrospective of John Wheatley’s life and achievements on behalf of British social housing, read more in the GlasgowTimes:  Remembering Glasgow hero who fought for social housing 100 years ago