Obituaries: Andrew Betts-Brown, Kenneth Alexander

Andrew Betts-Brown
Andrew Betts-Brown
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TRIBUTES have been paid to two former city councillors, Kenneth Alexander and Andrew Betts-Brown, who died recently.

Ken Alexander was Conservative councillor for Tollcross from 1980 until 1984 and served as convener of the council’s building repairs sub-committee and chairman of the licensing board.

Kenneth Alexander

Kenneth Alexander

Senior Tory councillor Allan Jackson said: “Ken served his time as a butcher with the Co-op and went on to open his own shop, but later switched to hairdressing and opened House of Hair at the West End. Eventually, he sold up and moved to Fife where he spent his retirement.

“He was a good guy and got on well in the group.”

He was chair of Edinburgh Central Conservative Association when he was selected as candidate for Tollcross in 1980 and went on to win the ward with a majority of 160 over Labour’s Sheila Gilmore, now MP for Edinburgh East.

During the campaign, Mr Alexander called for a public inquiry into plans to demolish 11 tenement flats in Valleyfield Street to make way for an extension to the backstage at the King’s Theatre.

Once elected, he quickly found himself in charge of the building repairs sub-committee, which took a more active role in the city’s statutory repairs system than now.

Cllr Jackson recalls: “People would be told what work was needed and if they didn’t get it done, they would be called before the committee. If they didn’t have a good explanation the committee would order it to be done on their behalf..”

Mr Alexander voiced concerns when the then Tory government proposed to strip the council of many of its property repairs powers.

He stood for re-election in 1984, but was defeated along with many fellow Conservatives as Labour took power at the City Chambers.

He died on November 14, aged 73, and is survived by his wife Lilias, son Raymond and daughter Shirley.

Andrew Betts-Brown was a prominent Conservative in Edinburgh in the 1970s. He worked in the insurance business and served four years as a councillor in the city. Cllr Jackson says: “I joined the Young Conservatives in 1968 and he was chairman of the North Edinburgh Conservative Association at that stage.”

He was first elected to the old Edinburgh Corporation in 1973 as councillor for St Andrew’s ward, which covered much of the New Town, winning by 58 votes, and served until the council was abolished in 1975.

In the meantime, he won election to the new Edinburgh District Council for Churchhill ward in Morningside and served there until stepping down in 1977.

He died in September, aged 92, and is survived by his wife Dorothy and children Andrew and Carolyn.