Sir Bede Edmund Hugh Clifford

On arrival in Mauritius, Clifford stimulated research for the improvement of the sugar and pineapple industries. In case of war, he laid in large stocks of coal, so that the railways could be maintained. He developed the hydroelectric and irrigation resources: a lasting contribution. He provided machinery for the regulation of wages and working conditions. His handling of industrial disputes was unorthodox but effective. When the docks were picketed to prevent the loading of sugar for export Clifford had a labour force recruited from the plantations. The men were transported in closed railway wagons into the port area with sufficient equipment and supplies to be self-supporting, and the strike was broken.

Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery

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by Stephen Luscombe