The Info List - Nicholas Freeman

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NICHOLAS FREEMAN (25 July 1939 - November 1989), OBE (1985) was the Conservative Party leader of the London Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
from 1977 until 1989; he was also its mayor in 1988.

He was educated at Stoneygate School, Leicester
, and King\'s School, Canterbury , and admitted a solicitor in 1962. In 1968 he was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
, and practised thereafter at the Criminal Bar. He was appointed a Recorder in 1985.

Living in Harrington Gardens , South Kensington
South Kensington
, he became Chairman of the Courtfield Ward Committee of the Chelsea Conservative Association, which gave him a position on the association's Executive Committee. A fine speaker with a powerful personality and strong political ambitions, Freeman was elected to Chelsea Borough Council in 1968. He became Chairman of the Borough Planning Committee shortly after being elected to the council, and made a particular effort to clear up what he called "the sore thumb in the Royal Borough", the sometimes seedy area around Earls Court
Earls Court
Underground Station.

He stood as the Conservative Party candidate for Hartlepool
in both the February 1974 and October 1974 general elections, and when Sir Brandon Rhys Williams , Conservative Member of Parliament for Kensington, died suddenly in 1988, Freeman had high hopes of succeeding him. He failed to secure a nomination, which was no doubt partly explained by a number of previous controversies: the Old Town Hall crisis, his virulent opposition to the Community Charge (also called the "poll tax"), and by dubious rumours of his involvement in a plot to unseat the late incumbent.

Nicholas Freeman had long been a controversial figure: in 1982 he had provoked a storm of opposition amongst people of all political persuasions by using his powers as council leader, without consulting colleagues, to order the overnight destruction of Kensington's fine century-old Italianate
Town Hall on Kensington High Street. The building was due to be given special Listed Status on the Monday, but at 3 a.m. on the day before the fa├žade was smashed to pieces by demolition experts. The Royal Fine Art Commission condemned the action as "official vandalism... decided upon covertly, implemented without warning and timed deliberately to thwart known opposition".

At constituency level also he met outspoken opposition, particularly from Conservative Monday Club
Conservative Monday Club
activist Gregory Lauder-Frost, his Wa