Oxford educated and a student of T.H. Green, Alden was the first Warden of Mansfield House in Canning Town and a member of West Ham Council where he supported the ruling Independent Labour Group. In 1903 he joined the Rainbow Circle, a progressive discussion group of liberals and socialists, and was also a member of the Fabian Society. In the 1900s Alden travelled around Europe looking at how countries dealt with unemployment. His book The Unemployed: A National Question (1905) shaped the thinking of Liberals working on the welfare reforms for the new government. Out of parliament after 1918 Alden joined the Labour Party and briefly served as MP for Tottenham South (1923-24) under his new colours. However, following the failure of the 1924 Labour Government and attracted by Lloyd George’s unemployment policies he re-joined the Liberal Party in 1927. In later life he chaired the Save the Children fund and was knighted in 1933. Alden was killed in June 1944 when a German V1 flying bomb exploded in Tottenham Court Road.