William Gladstone - June 1889
June 1889 was a memorable day when the Liberal statesman William Gladstone addressed a mass meeting of a reputed 8000 people in the market house.
The procession from the station was an imposing site, for the yoemen of Mid Cornwall turned out in large numbers and in splendid form as the guard of honour. Cheering and enthusiastic spectators thronged the whole line of the route.Local leaders of the party met Mr and Mrs Gladstone at the Market Hall entrance. Mr Gladstone's appearance on the gallery was hailed with tremendous outburst of cheering from the assembled multitude to which he delivered a magnificent speech. Six local bands took part in the proceedings in the Market Hall. (Taken from the History of St Austell by Hitchins & Drew)
Winston Churchill - January 1910
Winston Churchill visits the Market House giving a contentious speech on free trade, it was reported the the Guardian on 28th January 1910.
Mr Churchill Delivers Speech in the Market House
Tariff Reform Fallacy Ocularly Demonstrated
Having first commended the Liberal candidate Mr Agar-Robartes to the public, The Right Honourable Winston Churchill, MP, President of the Board of Trade, then plunged into a simple argument on Free Trade and placing two glass tumblers on the handrail before him demonstrated how a tax to keep the foreign importer out would have the effect of sending up the price of the home manufactured article.
"I will take these two glasses" he said, "Let us assume that this is a German glass (picking up one) and it can be made at a shilling. Here is te British glass (holding up the other) which costs 1s 1d to make. We will assume that it costs that. Well, both these glasses are exactly the same in quality; and the German glass, being a penny cheaper, all other things being equal it will be bought instead of the British glass under the Free Trade System. ('Hear Hear').
Then comes along our Tariff Reform friend who says 'This is a great injustice to British labour. Why not shut out the foreigner's glass and keep the work for British hands? And so he puts on a tariff in order to keep out the German glass. We will put the duty at 6d, which will keep the glass out. (Laughter).
How much do you think the Bristish glass will cost when the German glass is kept out? One and two pence? One and three pence? One and four pence? One and five pence? One and five pence, three farthing? It will go up until it is just up to the level at which, if it went higher, it would again let the German glass in, in competition. (Cheers)."
He did not leave the argument ther, but showed how foreign competition, far from operating detrimentally to the interests of the people of this country, is actually the best friend the British consumer has got.