Election poster

In 1907, eight years after his retirement from the police force, Jerome Caminada launched a political career by standing for nomination as an Independent candidate, to represent the Openshaw Ward on the Manchester City Council. At the hustings in Whitworth Hall he vowed to stand for the ratepayers of Openshaw, especially in relation to the mismanagement of Manchester Corporation. According to the Manchester Guardian, the meeting was ‘somewhat lively’ and Caminada was interrupted several times by the rowdy crowd. He stood his ground and the resolution was passed that he was a ‘fit and proper’ person for nomination, even though ‘many hands were held up against it’. A Labour candidate, Joseph Bevir Williams, secretary of the Amalgamated Musicians’ Union, was also selected.

A manufacturing district, Openshaw was known for radical politics and was home to supporters of socialism and trade unionism. Strongly opposed to socialism, Jerome Caminada canvassed for votes as a trade unionist. Billing himself as a ‘practical man’ and a ‘friend and neighbour’, he sought to use his pragmatism and no-nonsense attitude to gain the support of local residents. An article in the Daily Despatch gave an account of a public meeting in Openshaw during which Caminada was beset by socialists, demanding to see his credentials. Under attack he produced a book confirming his membership of a trade union, which he triumphantly passed around the audience. At the election he won by a large majority and was duly appointed to take his seat on the Manchester City Council.

Election handbills

For the following three years Jerome Caminada was actively involved in council business. His time as a city councillor was characterised by his criticism of the organisation of the police force and advocacy of economy in council spending. In 1910, at the end of his first term on the council, Caminada sought re-election, advocating lower rates and fair competition in the awarding of municipal contracts. His opponent was Labour candidate, G. F. Titt. The outcome of election was a dead-heat between the two, each receiving exactly 1,482 votes. In an unprecedented move, the returning officer cast the deciding vote against Caminada and he lost his seat. He did not stand again.