The North East Labour History Society is pleased to announce that it has just published transcripts of the personal memories of sixty people from the North East. You can find these on our website at: http://nelh.net/oral-history/
These oral histories are from people who have spent their lives in the cooperative movement, the mines, other industries, the unions and political activity. We think these transcripts are a valuable permanent record of peoples’ recollections of their lifetime experiences.
The material we have here draws on a range of activities undertaken by North East Labour History Society members and others.
Do take a look and tell us what you think. If you have transcripts or notes from interviews with people who have been involved in the labour movement in the North East we would be delighted to provide space for them on our site (). As well as the name of the interviewee and a photograph, it would be helpful to have their dates, where they lived and worked, the name of the interviewer and, if applicable, the project or organisation through which the interview was done. It is important to get permission from the person who has been interviewed to put their information on this site.
The Thomas Spence Birthday Event was held at the Newcastle Quayside on 21st June 2016.
Poems and Songs from are now available from the Northern Voices website.
Sunniside History Society will shortly publish a pamphlet about the research they have done into Fugar House in Sunniside and the area surrounding it.
The project has sought to uncover the rich hidden heritage within an area of about ¾ mile radius of the site of Fugar House and share it with those who may only know the area as an attractive rural landscape. Key participants in the project have been children at nearby Washingwell Community Primary School. Consultation meetings with the general public have been held together with guided walks of the area at which emerging information has been shared. This has led to much discussion of things that lie hidden beneath the ground, either just below or many feet below such as layers of coal seams worked over a period of seven centuries but for which there is scant evidence above ground, and making sense of what can be seen but for which there is currently no explanation. In this way adults and children alike have learned to understand the remnants of history covering many centuries that lie on their doorstep and to appreciate the impact of historical events on the local topography. They have also come to know some of the main characters associated with Fugar House and the part that they played in history, both within the area and, in the case of Ralph Swinburn, more widely across the world. One thing that emerged was just how much the area was at the forefront of industrialisation.
- A Home Rule Hotbed
- The Cult of the Savoury Succulent
- Welfare Work and Women’s Rights in Newcastle upon Tyne during the Great War
- Radical Voters in the 1835 Newcastle Parliamentary Election
- The Genteel Militant. Elizabeth Spence Watson’s Work for Women’s Suffrage and Peace
- We Need to Talk about the Secondary Moderns. A Conversation about a Local History Project
- Heroes all at the Royal Albert Hall
- Campaigning for Craigielea
- NUPE in the North, Union Organising and Activism
- Ruskin College, Oxford 1956-58
- Terry Conway, Folksinger, Songwriter and Working Man, 1943-2013
The late Tom Marshall was the local studies librarian at Gateshead whose enthusiasm for labour history ensured that the Library there has some important resources. These include microfilms of the early Communist, Suffrage, and local ILP papers; also local labour movement material such as the Gateshead Labour Herald for the 1930s and the Gateshead Trades Council and Labour Party Monthly Circular for the 1920s. Included too are several volumes of interviews with people who went through the miners’ lockout of that year. Another interesting item is the photo album of Jim Ancrum, the Communist councillor in Felling during the 1930s who was a leading figure in the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement.
The collection covers women at work during the First World War, particularly in munitions, shipbuilding and engineering; also how those large workplaces produced women’s football leagues in the North East. Women’s football emerged again in the region as a means of raising funds for the soup kitchens during the miners’ lockouts of 1921 and 1926. The efforts by colliery communities to sustain themselves during the industrial disputes of the 1920s form a common theme. There is a comprehensive amount of material on the Chester le Street Board of Guardians and their dispute with the government in 1926.
Volunteers from the Popular Politics Project sorted a great deal of this material into broad overlapping categories and entered the items into the Library’s online catalogue.
Information about the material can be found via www.gatesheadlocalstudies.com – follow the link to the local studies catalogue and then the link to the collection. If you are intending to visit the Library to consult the material please contact them beforehand.
The Newcastle Daily Chronicle is now available digitally on the British Newspaper Archive. This is very good news for local history researchers. In the second half of the 19th Century the paper was owned by Joseph Cowen whose editors gave extensive coverage to political and trade union issues. BNA is a subscription site but is available free at Newcastle Central Library (British 19th Century Newspapers).
A Bibliography of Issues 1 to 14 of North East History (1967 to 1980) is now available on this site: Bibliography
Many thanks to Sean Creighton for his work in putting this together. If anyone would like to do similar work on Issue 15 and onwards, please contact the Society, E-mail:
We have been privileged to sort and file the papers of recently deceased labour movement activists Len Edmondson and Eric Walker. Their material is now available for researchers at the Tyne and Wear Archives, Blandford Street, Newcastle. We would be happy to discuss with anyone the destination of any such material.