Oral History List: items deposited at the British Library Sound Archive
This is a list of audio items, very largely interviews with British political radicals, which are deposited at the British Library Sound Archive - where the audio has been posted elsewhere on this site, that is indicated in the list.
Oral history recordings relating to British communist, anarchist, socialist, radical and right-wing movements
Deposited at the British Library Sound Archive, C1377 with the title:
‘Andrew Whitehead oral history interviews with political radicals’
These interviews with British political activists and others were conducted to gather material for BBC radio documentaries, or more often out of personal interest. In all cases, the interviewees knew that their comments were likely to be in the public domain. Only a few of the interviews have been transcribed – and the deposited transcripts are not necessarily checked and verbatim records. The recordings are available for consultation without restriction, and short extracts (up to 200 words) can be published with an appropriate acknowledgement. Any publication of longer extracts, or use of interviews for broadcast or as part of any public performance, requires my prior written permission.
Some of the interviews deposited were conducted by Shen Liknaitzky, and are included in this collection with her specific permission.
The radio programmes included in this archive are the copyright of the BBC.
ANDREW WHITEHEAD December 2008
COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN
CD1: Bill Alexander interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at National Museum of Labour History in Limehouse, 1986 – 4 minutes
covers involvement with International Brigade in Spain – recorded at exhibition to mark fiftieth anniversary of the IB
Bill Alexander (1910-2000), political commissar with the IB in Spain and later honorary secretary of the International Brigade Association. Joined CPGB in 1932.
CD2: Frieda Truhar Brewster interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Wanstead, 3rd October 1992 - 80 minutes
covers early life in Croatian immigrant family in Pittsburgh, and memories of impact of Russian Revolution. Recounts how her husband, Pat, was deported from US, and moved with him to Fife, then London, and to Moscow in 1933 on behalf of the party - she worked for Comintern first as a typist, then as a courier, going mainly to Berlin and occasionally to Shanghai. Describes looking after Comintern safe house in Shanghai with secret wireless transmitter, and escaping by sea to Vladivostok. And life in the Luxe hotel in Moscow - including women's naked protest for better shower facilities.
CD3/1: Frieda Truhar Brewster 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Wanstead, 19th January 1993 - 40 minutes
covers life after moving to a coal mining area of Fife, and CP life there, and role of women in the party. Memories of Willie Gallacher, Harry Pollitt, Johnny Campbell, and of working in King Street - including 'Olga' the spy - and women 'doing all the donkey work'. Discusses awareness of Soviet purges, and impact of 1956, and other issues.
CD3/2: Frieda Truhar Brewster 3 interviewed by Shen Liknaitzky at Wanstead, 19th January 1993 - 37 minutes
covers CP attitudes to Second World War, women's role within the party, and attitudes towards feminism. Discusses Comintern women in Moscow, and working as a courier. Life in Shanghai, and escape from there. The shower protest at the Hotel Luxe, and sexual mores there. Views of party women on marriage.
Frieda Brewster, nee Truhar (1911-), born in Pittsburgh, worked for Comintern in Moscow 1933-5 including secret trips as a courier to Berlin and Shanghai, also for a time worked in the CPGB headquarters at King Street. Later worked as a teacher. She wrote an unpublished autobiography, 'A Long Journey'. At one time, she was married to the Communist activist Pat Devine - and was also widely known as Frieda Devine.
CD4/1: Dora Cox interviewed by Andrew Whitehead over the phone, 1st July 1990 - 20 minutes
covers her attendance at Socialist Sunday School in London, joining the Communist party, party activity, the general strike, attitudes to the Soviet Union, the Second World War and her reflections on Communism
CD4/2 + CD5/1: Dora Cox 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Tal-y-waun, south Wales, 10th March 1993 - 85 minutes
covers family history and east European ancestry, enrolment in BSP-inclined Socialist Sunday School, and family response to Russian Revolution. Discusses membership of Communist party and later of YCL, work for Soviet Trade Delegation in London, memories of the young Harry Young, and role of women within the movement (including early party women's groups in south Wales, and women's participation in 1934 hunger march). Also covers life in Moscow at trade union school, and mores there - attitudes to Stalin - the Rose Cohen case - and 'the misguided sense of loyalty' to the party and the Soviet Union'. Memories of Harry Pollitt ('Harry liked women, let's put it like that'), and other leaders of CPGB - and of 1956 ('I could never stop crying ... I couldn't believe it').
Last few minutes deleted from master recording.
Dora Cox, nee Roberts (1904-2000) was a lifelong Communist, joining the party in 1920, a few months after its foundation. She lived in Moscow, 1927-30, and in the early 1930s moved to south Wales with her husband, Idris Cox, a full-time Communist Party organiser for 27 years.
CD5/2: Alys Faiz interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Lahore, Pakistan, 11 October 1995
covers becoming involved in CP in London and getting to know Indian Communists there, coming out to India to visit her married sister in 1939, meeting and marrying Faiz, and memories of Partition in 1947
Alys Faiz nee George (1914-2003) joined the CPGB in the mid-1930s, and in 1941 married the renowned progressive poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, living subsequently mainly in Lahore
CD6/1: Eddie Frow interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Salford, 6 January 1992 – 49 minutes
covers joining the CPGB in 1924, and activity in the CP in the 1920s and 30s – including 1929 change of line, visit to Moscow in 1930, and 1939 change of line on WW2, 1956 secret speech (‘one reaction was it’s time I got to know more about Britain and less about Russia’). Memories of Tom Mann, Saklatvala, Harry Pollitt.
Eddie Frow (1906-1997) was an engineer and CPGB militant and with his wife Ruth Frow founded the Working Class Movement Library in Salford
CD6/2: Denis Healey interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Pimlico, 13th December 1991 - 11 minutes
covers his joining of the Communist party while a student at Oxford in 1937, the temper of political activity at the time, the intellectual attraction of Communism, and why he drifted away from the party Transcript available Audio and transcript posted - click on this link
Lord Healey (1917-2015) was a member of the Communist Party, 1937-40. He was later Chancellor of the Exchequer and Defence Secretary in Labour governments. He has written an autobiography, The Time of My Life (1989).
CD6/3: Rose Kerrigan interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at the CPGB Congress in London, 25 November 1989 – 8 minutes
covers joining the CP in 1921, selling ‘Daily Worker’ on first day it came out in 1930, personal political history
CD7/1: Rose Kerrigan 2 interviewed by Shen Liknaitzky in London, 10th September 1992 – 52 minutes
covers going to Socialist Sunday School as a teenager, anti-war politics in Glasgow in WW1, association with the SLP and membership of the new CPGB; living in Moscow with her husband Peter Kerrigan, and his service in Spain
Rose Kerrigan nee Klasko (1903-1995) was a lifelong Communist. She was born in Dublin into a Russian Jewish immigrant family and moved to Glasgow as a young girl where she joined the CP in 1921. She married Peter Kerrigan, who went on to be one of the CPGB’s personalities and national officials, in 1926. They spent several months in Moscow in 1935.
CD7/2: Gordon McLennan interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at the CPGB Congress in London, 25 November 1989 – 14 minutes
covers declining fortunes of CPGB and ‘deformation of socialism’ in eastern Europe, and the Gorbachev phenomenon
Gordon McLennan (1924-2011) was general secretary of the CPGB, 1975-89, and some time after the CPGB dissolved joined the Communist Party of Scotland
CD8: George Matthews interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, 2 December 1991 – 63 minutes
covers CPGB membership and activity from late 30s to late 50s, including recollections of Pollitt and other party personalities, and drafting of 1950 ‘British Road to Socialism’ and Khruschev’s ‘secret speech’ and the ‘Daily Worker’ coverage of Hungary. Soviet subsidies to CPGB, and ‘bugging’ of King Street.
CD9: George Matthews 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, 20 May 1992 – 55 minutes
covers reminiscences about international Communist movement including the Sino-Soviet split, including anecdotes about becoming aware of the split, and links with Indian and other colonial parties and politicians
George Matthews (1917-2005) was a prominent member of the CPGB, joining in the late 1930s. He became an assistant general secretary in 1949, attended the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956, and was editor of the Daily Worker/ Morning Star from 1959 to 1974. He was later the key figure in organising the CP archive.
CD10 + CD 11/1: Mick Mindel interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Stoke Newington, 13th March 1988 – 123 minutes Audio and transcript posted
covers family history in eastern Europe, growing up in Rothschild Buildings in Spitalfields, his father's Bundist sympathies, anarchist activity and cultural endeavour in the Jewish East End before the First World War, including the Workers Circle and the Yiddish political press. Discusses the growth of the Communist movement, its organisation, Cable Street and attitudes to the Soviet Union, and Piratin's victory in 1945. Also covers labour organisation, and workshop organisation, in the mainly Jewish tailoring and garment industry, and the decline of the Jewish East End after the Second World War. Transcript available.
CD 11/2: Mick Mindel 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Stoke Newington, 14th Dec 1992 - 36 minutes Audio posted
covers membership of the United Ladies Tailors' trade union, expulsion in 1936, election of vice-chairman in 1937, and political association in the East End with Sarah Wesker. Also discusses local Communist Party activity, attitudes and sexual mores.
CD12/1: Mick Mindel 3 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Stoke Newington, 20th Dec 1992 - 39 minutes Audio posted
covers family history, and parents' reaction to the Russian Revolution of 1917 ('I have very vivid memories, because meetings were held in our house ... great excitement ... the problem of anti-semitism is solved, the future is ours'). Also discusses visiting Germany in 1932-3, trade union activity from 1938 and changes in the garment industry, reflexions on post-war issues such as the 'Jewish doctors' issue and the electricians' union ballot-rigging scandal. Reflections on Communism.
Mick Mindel (1909-1994) was for many years a leading trade unionist in the garment industry in the East End of London, and a member of the Communist Party until the 1950s. He refers in passing to Jerry White's Rothschild Buildings. His life story and political activism is recounted in Jonathan Freedland’s Jacob’s Gift (2005).
CD12/2: John Peck interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at the CPGB Congress in London, 25 November 1989 – 8 minutes
covers election to council in Nottingham, and personal political history
John Peck was a Communist councillor in Nottingham, first elected in 1987, and a leading advocate of a Red-Green alliance; joined the CPGB in 1944.
CD12/3: Phil Piratin interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in north London, 9th April 1986 - 32 minutes Audio posted
covers 'The Battle of Cable Street' of October 1936, Communist organisation to prevent Mosley marching through the East End of London (including the tale of how the "wrong" lorry was used to barricade Cable Street and the intelligence operation to get information about BUF plans), Communist and anti-fascist activity in the area at that time, the strength of Communist sympathies among Jews in the East End, electoral politics in the area in the late 1930s, and first-hand account of Oswald Mosley
CD13/1: Phil Piratin 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in north London, March 1989 - 33 minutes Audio posted
covers the long decline of the CPGB, the international influence of Gorbachev, and the then current controversy about 'Marxism Today'. Moves on to Mosley and BUF activities in the East End in the 1930s, including a local agreement reached between the fascists and local Communists in the Victoria Park Square part of the East End 'not to interfere with each other'.
CD13/2: Phil Piratin 3 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in north London, 28th February 1990 - 41 minutes Audio posted
covers the attraction of the CPGB to East End Jews - mainly because of the threat of fascism but also because of its involvement in housing issues - the composition of the party in Stepney in the late 1930s, and the secular nature of East End Jewish Communists. Background to the Communist victory in Mile End (over a sitting, Jewish, Labour MP) in the 1945 general election - 'I never competed for the Jewish vote ... I never spoke as a Jew' - and candidates in 1946 London County Council elections. Changing political allegiances of Anglo-Jewry. Jewish representation in the 1945 Parliament. Attitudes to the Zionist movement. (Recorded for a World Service programme, 'Anglo Jewry: from socialism to Thatcherism').
Phil Piratin (1907-1995) was Communist Member of Parliament for Mile End, 1945-50, and before that was a Communist councillor and activist in Stepney. He was one of the organisers of the anti-fascist protest which became 'The Battle of Cable Street' and wrote an autobiography, Our Flag Stays Red. Some of his comments in the interview are in response to points raised in an autobiographical writing by Joe Jacobs, Out of the Ghetto.
CD14: Betty Reid interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Highgate, 25 February 1993 – 75 minutes Audio posted
covers political activity in the late 1930s, Gollancz and the Left Book Club, working at King Street from 1942, and official attempts at penetration of the CPGB including the revelation that Betty’s nanny had been an MI5 plant
Betty Reid (1915-2004) was born in Ipswich and was active in the Labour League of Youth. In 1937, she moved to London and worked for the Victor Gollancz and the Left Book Club, as did her future husband, John Lewis. She worked for many years in the party headquarters at King Street and had responsibility for security – though it turned out that her nanny was a security services plant.
CD15: Ralph Russell interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, 24 June 1992- 35 minutes
covers joining the CP, getting to know Indian communist students, being put in charge of Indian left students while at Cambridge, and then travelling to India in 1941. Comments on the ‘quite improper’ deference of Indian Communists to CPGB-trained comrades. Audio posted - click on this link
Ralph Russell (1918-2008) was a lifelong Communist and an expert in Urdu poetry in which he taught for many years at SOAS.
CD16: Sam Russell (aka Lesser) interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Brixton, 13 July 1992 – 70 minutes
covers joining the CP in the 1930s and fighting in the Spanish Civil War; the CPGB’s 1939 change of line about WW2; Khruschev’s 1956 ‘Secret Speech’ – and how the story broke; Cuba in 1962, the missile crisis, and interviewing Che Guevara at length ‘very impressed … although I thought he was crackers at the time’
Sam Lesser (1915-2010), who used the professional name Sam Russell, joined the CP as a student in 1935 and went to Spain to fight with what became the International Brigades the following year. He was later a foreign correspondent for and foreign editor of the ‘Daily Worker’.
covers joining the CPGB in first term at the LSE in 1934 and party activity; working with leading figures in the Indian Communist movement at the end of WW2 - ‘I thought P.C. Joshi had an enormously attractive personality’; publishing ‘The Reasoner’ and leaving the CPGB in 1956.
John Saville (1916-2009), born Orestes Stamtopoulos, was a historian. He was active in the CPGB from 1934 to 1956, when he was co-editor of ‘The Reasoner’ with E.P. Thompson. He saw military service in India during an after WW2.
CD18/2: Jack Shapiro interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at his home in Hampstead Garden Suburb, 21 April 2002 – 75 minutes
covers recollections of the Stepney Tenants’ Defence League and CP activism in the East End in the 1930s and memories of prominent CP’ers
Jack Shapiro (1916-2010) was born in Stepney into a Jewish immigrant family. He joined the YCL in 1931, and was active in the Stepney Tenants’ Defence League. He left the CPGB c1949, and was later prominent in the Maoist movement.
CD19: Alfred Sherman interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in central London, 20th Feb 1990 - 50 minutes Audio posted
covers the attraction of the Communist party in Hackney, ('we lived in a semi-ghetto, and the Communist party was an intellectual, emotional ghetto of its own') and why so many Jews became Communists, and the decision to fight in the Spanish Civil War. The bulk of the interview is about the changing political allegiance of Anglo-Jewry, and the preponderance of Jews in Mrs Thatcher's cabinets. Returns at the end to why Jews joined the Communist party in the 1930s
Sir Alfred Sherman (1919-2006) was brought up in Hackney, and was a member of the Communist party c 1936-48. He fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. Later, he was an adviser to Mrs Thatcher and wrote speeches for her.
CD20/1: Dorothy Thompson interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Worcestershire, 1 December 1991 – 26 minutes
covers joining CP while still at school at end of 1930s, party discipline, and recollections of leaders such as Palme Dutt and Harry Pollitt; role of women in the party, esp during WW2; CPGB activity; leaving the party in 1956; recites ‘Harry was a Bolshie’, song about Jubilee Audio posted - click on this link
Dorothy Thompson nee Towers (1923-2011) historian of Chartism and married to E.P. Thompson. YCL/CPGB member from 1939-56.
CD20/2: E.P. Thompson interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Worcestershire, 1 December 1991 – 43 minutes
covers joining the CP because of its anti-fascist activity in 1942; emotional commitment to the party, and activity including by-elections – “We may be losing in South Croydon, but we’re winning in China”; Yorkshire District Committee and party member in Halifax - ‘these people did represent authentic British working class traditions’; ‘The Reasoner’ and the party upheavals of 1956. ‘One still has never found again a group of people bound together by common, deeply-held convictions – except that they were wrong convictions’. And feeling of ‘fury’ against international Communist leadership and the British party’s complicity. Transcript available Audio and transcript posted - click on this link
Edward Palmer Thompson (1924-1993) was a member of the CPGB from 1942 to 1956, when he was co-editor of ‘The Reasoner’. He was a historian of international renown and a peace campaigner. He was married to Dorothy Thompson.
CD21: Bill Whittaker interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Barrowford near Nelson, 6 January 1992 – 69 minutes
covers early involvement with left, dual CP/Labour membership, and particularly membership of the central committee of the CPGB in 1939 at the time of the party’s ‘About Turn’ about the nature of WW2
Bill Whittaker (?1908-2004) was a militant in the Lancashire cotton industry and at the time of the interview the last surviving member of the party’s 1939 central committee on which he supported the ‘imperialist war’ line.
CD22 + CD23/1: Harry Young interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Sudbury, 3rd January 1992 - 85 minutes
covers early involvement in socialist movement, joining CPGB in 1920 and working as an office boy for party HQ, and prominent role in founding of the Young Communist League. Describes Moscow in mid-1920s, hearing Lenin speak, and recollections of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev and Ho Chi Minh, as well as of British colleague working in Moscow - and how he was present at seevral key events in the history of the CPSU. Talks about party-related work on return to London, and eventually joining SPGB Transcript available
CD23/2: Harry Young 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Sudbury, 21st April 1992 – 53 minutes
covers memories of Tom Bell and other early leaders of CPGB. Discusses influence of secularism on his family, and his membership of an SDF-aligned Socialist Sunday School, the London branch of the IWW, and the BSP. Memories of years in Moscow - including Trotsky, Stalin, the Zinoviev letter, Comintern's British Commission and Chinese Commission, and awareness of secret agents. Reflections on the Communist movement.
Harry Young (1901-1995) joined the Communist Party very shortly after its foundation, went to Moscow to attend a Comintern Congress in November 1922, got a job working for the Young Communist International, and finally returned to London in 1929. He left the CPGB in the 1930s, joined the SPGB in 1940, and remained a member until the closing years of his life. He wrote a typescript autobiography, and there are some further details of his life in an article by Andrew Whitehead in the 'New Statesman', 6 Nov 1992, pp28-9.
CD24/2: What’s Left of Communism: the first 75 years – 29 minutes BBC World Service radio programme, compiled and presented by Andrew Whitehead, produced by Tanya Motie and researched by Shen Liknaitzky. First of a series of five programmes, broadcast on 6 November 1992. Audio posted - click on this link and scroll down
CD25: Lou Appleton interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in north London, 6 March 1988 – 69 minutes Audio posted
covers memories of his mother’s involvement in the Jewish anarchist movement in London, of modern schools, and of the Workers’ Circle and Jewish inter-war radicalism, ‘Cable Street’, and growing affinity with Zionism.
Lou Appleton was born in London of Jewish immigrant parents, Nathan and Helena Applebaum. He was prominent particularly in the Workers’ Circle, a radical Jewish friendly society.
covers the mainly Jewish anarchist movement in London, Rudolf Rocker, the Jubilee Street Club, the ‘siege of Sidney Street’, and the modern school movement. Dubbed from tape. Transcript available
CD27 + CD28: Nellie Dick 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Oyster Bay, New York, 6 January 1993 – 154 minutes Audio posted
covers early life in the Ukraine, London and Leeds; involvement in the East End anarchist movement, memories of Rocker, and her Jubilee Street Sunday School, memories of Malatesta, Kropotkin and the siege of Sidney Street; the Russian revolution of 1917; travelling to the Soviet Union in the 30s; the Modern School movement in the US. (Occasional voice of her son Jim Dick Jr in the background).
Nellie Dick (1893-1995) was born Naomi Ploschansky in Kiev in May 1893. Partner of Jim Dick, active in modern school movement in London and more particularly in the US. She features in Paul Avrich, Anarchist Voices. Also an article in the ‘New Statesman’ to mark her hundredth birthday, 14 May 1993.
CD29 + CD 30/1: Leah Feldman interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Stoke Newington, 7 October 1985 – 88 minutes Audio and transcript posted
covers the Jewish anarchist movement in London immediately before and during WW1, including Rudolf Rocker; the attraction of the Russian Revolution, and living in Moscow and attending Kropotkin’s funeral. Transcript available
CD30/2: Leah Feldman 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Stoke Newington, 6 April 1986 – 27 minutes Audio posted
covers the anarchist movement in London and particularly the Freedom group and recollections of anarchist activity
Leah Feldman (c1899-1993) was born in Warsaw, and moved to London shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. She became active in the anarchist movement, went to Russia in 1917 and worked in the Kremlin and also was involved in the Makhnovist movement. She also spent some time in Palestine before settling in London again, where she was active in the anarchist movement until her death.
covers his father Rudolf Rocker, memories growing up in the East End and of the Jubilee Street Club and the anarchist milieu, anarchist luminaries such as Kropotkin and Malatesta, and his parents’ internment during WW1. Dubbed from tape. Transcript available
Fermin Rocker (1907-2004), an artist, was the son of Rudolf Rocker and Milly Witcop. He was born in London lived in the city until 1918, and move back in his later years. He was enormously proud of his father, and broadly shared his libertarian outlook. His childhood memoir was entitled The East End Years (1998). Andrew Whitehead’s obituary of him appeared in ‘The Guardian’, 26 October 2004.
CD32: Omnibus: Rudolf Rocker – 28 minutes BBC World Service radio programme compiled and presented by Andrew Whitehead, broadcast 4 March 1986. Accompanying article in ‘The Listener’, 13 March 1986. Audio posted - click on this link
including memories of Guy Aldred
CD33/1:Keith Bovey interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Glasgow, 6 November 1988 – 20 minutes
covers personal memories of Guy Aldred and his political activity in Glasgow from the late 1940s
Keith Bovey (1927-2017) was a prominent lawyer and Scottish nationalist, and the unsuccessful SNP candidate in the renowned Glasgow Garscadden by-election of 1978
CD33/2:John Taylor Caldwell interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Glasgow, 6 November 1988 – 46 minutes
covers memories of Guy Aldred, his personality and style of propaganda, and their common endeavours in the anarchist movement in Glasgow
John Taylor Caldwell (1911-2007) was a follower and close friend of Guy Aldred and wrote Aldred’s biography Come Dungeons Dark, as well as two volumes of autobiography, Severely Dealt With and With Fate Conspire.
CD33/3:Donald Dewar Interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, 27 January 1989 – 5 minutes
Covers memories of Guy Aldred in his closing years
Donald Dewar (1937-2000) became Scotland’s first First Minister in 1999 and was a Labour MP 1966-1970 and 1978-2000
CD33/4:Monty Finniston interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, 29 November 1988 – 8 minutes
covers memories of Guy Aldred’s street propaganda in Glasgow between the wars
Sir Monty Finniston (1912-1991) was a Glasgow-born industrialist
CD34/1:Maria Fyfe interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, 29 November 1988 – 5 minutes
covers memories of Guy Aldred in Glasgow
Maria Fyfe nee Maria O’Neill (1938-) was Labour MP for Glasgow Maryhill 1987-2001
CD34/2:Annesley McCurdy interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Westcliff-on-Sea, 25 February 1989 – 13 minutes
covers memories of her grandfather, Guy Aldred
Mrs Annesley McCurdy was the daughter of Guy Aldred’s only child
CD34/3:Victor Rose interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Bromley, 8 July 1989 – 62 minutes
covers memories from childhood on of Guy Aldred and the anti-war and anarchist movements
Victor Rose (born 1911) was an anti-war activist and associate of Guy Aldred
CD35/1:Walter Ross interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Glasgow, 6 November 1988 – 18 minutes
covers memories of Guy Aldred and his politics in Glasgow from the late 1930s. Name not to be used without specific permission.
Walter Ross was a one-time follower of Guy Aldred
CD35/2:Gordon Stott interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Edinburgh, 26 January 1989 – 16 minutes
covers working with Aldred on behalf of conscientious objectors during WW2
Lord Stott, born as Gordon Stott (1909-1999) was a lawyer, pacifist and several times Labour parliamentary advocate. He was a Lord Advocate in Harold Wilson’s government, 1964-67.
CD35/3: Against the War: Guy Aldred – 14 minutes Broadcast on the BBC World Service, 10 September 1989. One of a series of two programmes compiled and presented by Andrew Whitehead.
BRITISH SOCIALISM AND RADICALISM
CD36/1:Tariq Ali interviewed by Shen Liknaitzky in London, 30 July 1992 – 28 minutes
covers growing up in a Communist family in Pakistan, the anti-Vietnam war movement of the 60s and mood of that time, and defining events internationally for the left: ‘the period in the world that opened up with the Russian revolution of 1917 came to an end in the ‘80s’
Tariq Ali (1943-), Pakistan-born writer and activist and the leading figure in the anti-Vietnam war movement in the UK and the ensuing Trotskyist movement.
covers Brockway's recruitment to the Social Democratic Federation in Kentish Town, SDF activities there, and his subsequent involvement with the ILP in Finsbury, all in the first decade of the century (Poor audio quality - dubbed from dictaphone-style mini cassette)
Lord Brockway (1888-1988) was a senior figure in the Independent Labour Party, and later a distinguished Labour Parliamentarian. He wrote several works of autobiography.
CD36/3:Norman Le Brocq interviewed by Clare Bolderson in Jersey, May 1992 – 10 minutes
covers founding of Jersey communist party during WW2 and anti-Nazi resistance on the island
Norman Le Brocq (1922-1996) was Jersey’s most prominent Communist. Being elected to the island’s assembly in the 1960s
CD37/1:Tony Cliff interviewed by Daniel Lak in London, early 1992 – 12 minutes
covers how family roots in Palestine, and personal and political history
Tony Cliff (1917-2000) was born Yigael Gluckstein in Palestine in 1917, moved to Britain in the 1940s, and became a Trotskyist and the leading force behind Socialist Workers Party
SPANISH CIVIL WAR VETERANS CD37/2:Max Colin, Jerry Shirlaw, Wilfred Roberts, David Marshall and Fred Thomas interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at exhibition in London, 1986 – 20 minutes
covers memories of the Spanish Civil War from veterans of the International Brigade, and their supporters – recorded at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the conflict
Max Colin at the time in Young Communist League; Dr. Jerry Shirlaw; Wilfrid Roberts (1900-1991), Liberal MP 1935-50, later joined the Labour party; David Marshall (1916-2005) poet and IB veteran; Fred Thomas, IB veteran, wrote autobiography
CD37/3:Patience Edney interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at National Museum of Labour History in Limehouse, 1986 – 4 minutes
covers work as a nurse with International Brigade in Spain – recorded at exhibition to mark fiftieth anniversary of the IB
Patience Edney nee Darton (1911-1996), veteran of Spanish civil war where she served as a nurse. Married IB veteran and communist Eric Edney.
CD38 + CD39/1:Patience Edney 2 interviewed by Shen Liknaitzky in London, 10 February 1993 – 95 minutes
covers early involvement in politics, training as a midwife and nurse, going to Spain to nurse Tom Wintringham, meeting Hemingway in Valencia, and then serving as a nurse with the IB in Aragon and Catalonia, and coming across anarchists. Death of German boyfriend there. Attitudes towards women.
CD39/2:Michael Foot interviewed by Andrew Whitehead at Westminster, 12 November 1990 – 18 minutes
covers historical reflections on Charles Bradlaugh, and personal affection for the Liberal and land reform anthem ‘The Land’
Michael Foot (1913-) was a Labour cabinet minister and parliamentarian and leader of the Labour Party, 1980-83, and writer. His father was a Liberal MP.
RADICAL AND LAND REFORM SONG CD39/3:‘The Land’ recording of song at a Liberal Democrat conference ‘Glee Club’, c1991 - 47 seconds Audio posted
CD39/4: Political Song Radio feature by Andrew Whitehead broadcast on ‘People and Politics’ on the BBC World Service, 10 January 1991 Audio posted
MOSLEYITE MOVEMENT AND EXTREME RIGHT
CD40/1:Jeffrey Hamm interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Tooting, 19th July 1989 - 31 minutes Audio posted
covers early involvement in BUF from 1934-5, describes Mosley and his character, and attitude of the movement to WW2, his detention during the War while working in the Falklands, and Mosley's political ideas.
Jeffrey Hamm (1915-1994) became involved in the Mosleyite movement in the mid-1930s, when working as a teacher at a private school. Later as a travelling teacher in the Falklands, he was detained under the 18B regulations in 1940, transferred to jail in South Africa, and after his release enlisted and served in the Tank Regiment. After the War, Hamm was Mosley's private secretary. He wrote an autobiography, Equal Distance, and another book, The Evil Good Men Do.
MOSLEYITE VETERANS CD40/2:Dan Harmston, Frederick Bailey, Sid Bailey and 'John Christian' interviewed together, in sequence, by Andrew Whitehead in Hackney, 27th February 1989 - 45 minutes in total
covers: Dan Harmston talking about joining Mosley in 1960s and his impressions of Mosley; Frederick Bailey on Mosleyite movement in the East End in late 1930s, and support for and lasting influence of Mosley; Sid Bailey on involvement in Mosleyite movement in the East End before the Second World War; 'John Christian' on joining the BUF in the early 1930s, wearing the blackshirt, and Mosleyite activity in London and the Jewish community in the East End, and the movement afted the outbreak of the War.
Dan Harmston, a porter at Smithfield meat market, joined the Mosleyite movement in 1962. Frederick Bailey (1924-) and Sid Bailey became associated with the Mosleyite movement in the East End of London in the late '30s. 'John Christian', apparently the pseudonym of John Warburton (1919-2004), joined the BUF in Lancashire in 1933, and wore the black shirt. All associated with the Friends of Oswald Mosley.
CD41/1:Lady Mosley interviewed by Andrew Whitehead on the phone to France, 24 February 1989 – 16 minutes
covers memories of husband, Oswald Mosley, and his personality and political activity
Lady Diana Mosley nee Mitford (1910 -2003), one of the renowned Mitford sisters, married Oswald Mosley in 1936, with Hitler among the guests
CD41/2:Bill Wood interviewed by Andrew Whitehead on the phone to Leeds, September 1986 – 20 minutes
covers BUF membership and style of propaganda and activism in the 1930s, including memories of Cable Street, and issue of anti-semitism
Bill Wood (c1911-) was a local BUF leader in Leeds, and was apparently detained under 18B regulations during the Second World War
CD42/1:Bill Wood 2 interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Leeds, 4 January 1989 – 60 minutes
covers BUF activism in Leeds, clashes with the ‘Red Front’, and prosecutions for assaulting the police and wearing a political uniform and later internment; blackshirt training as stewards, slogans shouted; recollections of Mosley
CD42/2: Against the War: Sir Oswald Mosley – 15 minutes Audio posted Broadcast on the BBC World Service, 3 September 1989. One of a series of two programmes compiled and presented by Andrew Whitehead.
AMERICAN LIBERTARIAN SOCIALIST CD43: Murray Bookchin interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, 22 May 1992 – 42 minutes
covers family history in Russian reovolutionary movements and personal political history including involvement in the communist movement until 1939
Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) was a prominent American libertarian socialist and thinker, born in New York the child of Russian Jewish migrants
LORD HAW-HAW AND IRISH PRISONERS OF WAR CD44/1: John Armstrong Darragh interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Kings Heath, Birmingham, 16 November 1989 – 52 minutes
covers encounter with William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) while a WW2 prisoner of war in Germany, and German attempts - with limited success- to get Irish PoWs to collaborate
John Armstrong Darragh (who asked to be identified on air simply as ‘John Armstrong’) was a PoW, notably at Friesach camp, from 1941. His articles on wartime exploits appeared in the Irish edition of ‘The People’ 6 May 1962 et seq.
ENOCH POWELL ON CHARLES BRADLAUGH CD44/2: Enoch Powell interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in London, c1990-91 – 5 minutes
covers reflections on Charles Bradlaugh and the oaths issue
Enoch Powell (1912-1998), Conservative MP 1950-74, and Unionist MP 1974-87, and notorious for his ‘rivers of blood’ speech.
REPORTING KHRUSCHEV’S 1956 ‘SECRET’ SPEECH CD44/3: John Rettie interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in Delhi, 24 June 1992 – 18 minutes Audio posted
covers his ‘scoop’ as a young Reuters reporter based in Moscow in 1956 in breaking the news of Khruschev’s ‘secret’ speech denouncing Stalin’s cult of personality
John Rettie has had a journalistic career notably reporting the Soviet Union, Latin America and South Asia with Reuters, The Guardian and the BBC. His detailed account of breaking the news about the secret speech was published in ‘History Workshop Journal’, Autumn 2006, no.62, pp.187-193.
POLICING THE 1936 BATTLE OF CABLE STREET CD45/1: Tom Wilson interviewed by Andrew Whitehead in west London, 19th September 1986 - 16 minutes Audio posted
covers the police role in 'The Battle of Cable Street' of October 1936 ('it seemed to me we were getting it from both sides ... I can't remember any other occasion when I used my truncheon during my service') and similar disturbances, and incidentally his policing of the hunger marches and his presence in Berlin during the 1936 Olympics
Tom Wilson was a Police Constable from 1932, and was involved in policing the hunger marches of 1932-3. He was stationed in Kentish Town in 1936, and was present at 'The Battle of Cable Street' and at some other incidents of disorder resulting from clashes between fascists and anti-fascists.
CD45/2: Omnibus: Charles Bradlaugh – 29 minutes Audio posted Broadcast on the BBC World Service in January 1991. A programme about the C19 radical, atheist, republican and Parliamentarian compiled and presented by Andrew Whitehead.
CD45/3: Omnibus: British Jews, from socialism to Thatcherism – 27 minutes Audio posted Broadcast on the BBC World Service, 20 March 1990. Compiled and presented by Andrew Whitehead.
ANDREW WHITEHEAD December 2008
More Political Voices:
There's an additional interview deposited at the British Library, and available on line: