HE was the chimney sweep who became a social activist.

Harry Cowley, who was born in Brighton in 1890, got involved in grassroots social activism in the 1920s.

He remained an activist until he died in 1971.

He helped organise the unemployed, moved homeless families into squatted buildings after both of the world wars and was a key figure in confronting fascism in 1930s’ Brighton.

He also campaigned for cheap food and became the leader of the Barrow Boys, the group of traders who pitched up to sell goods in Bond Street and Gardner Street.

This tradition led to the founding of the Open Market in Brighton. Harry mobilised pensioners, ran social events and social centres and organised practical aid for the poor and disadvantaged.

The Cowley Club in Brighton was named after Harry, and bus company Brighton and Hove named a bus after him.

Harry is pictured here talking to Stanley Theobald, chairman of the housing committee in Brighton, who believed that more low-cost homes should be built.

During his tenure, Stanley built more council homes than anyone else.

Harry is also pictured compering the Old Time Music Hall and Variety Show in aid of the National Federation of Old Age Pensions Association in 1965.

He is pictured again at a function in 1961 and with his wife in 1968.

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To see more of our fantastic pictures from yesteryear go to theargus.co.uk/photoarchive.