Author Archives: Peter Nicklin

New T-Shirts Available from the International Brigade Memorial Trust

The International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT) is a registered charity that keeps alive the memory and spirit of the 2,500 men and women from Britain and Ireland who volunteered to fight fascism and defend democracy during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.

The IBMT looks after memorials to the volunteers, 526 of whom were killed in Spain, including 35 from the North East. It organises educational and commemorative events and works with schools and trade unions to teach new generations this inspiring story of anti-fascism and international solidarity. 

 Proceeds from the sale of these t-shirts will go to the International Brigade Memorial Trust in order to support their work and can be ordered at

 With thanks to Marie-Therese and Paul Mayne for this information.

Calendar now Available: African Lives in Northern England

Note from Sean Creighton:

The calendar which I was involved in producing with an informal group of historians and community activists mainly based in the North East has been posted up on the website of the Newcastle Society for Antiquaries.

The Society has devoted a special section of its website to the calendar including resources information including the link to my The Involvement of People of African Heritage in the North East.

Pamphlet and School Resource Chart

The project group is now working on a pamphlet with fuller detail about many of the people in the calendar and about some people who are still living. It will be published later this year.

It is also preparing a school resource chart with funding by Historic England which will have questions, activities and resources for teachers on its website.

The Unite History Project

Your union needs you! Your history is our history and to this end, Unite Education together with the Marx Memorial Library are putting together thoughts, feelings, recollections, triumphs and losses, through the eyes of those who were there – you our members. This ambitious project is called the Unite History Project and we’re asking you to join us in this quest to record forever the deeds of the past and present.

Unite education director, Jim Mowatt says. “All too often ‘history’ has been about the winners – kings and queens – with little or even no focus on the participants.

Unite’s History Project is about the women and men who often unwillingly, live through history. We want to capture these experiences, understanding impacts and contributions to the making of Unite’s past and present.”

Get involved at:

New Issue of North East History, Number 51: 2020

Volume 51 of North East History is now available. Details from the NELHS Secretary.


  • 1931 Labour’s defeat and NE England
    • Back in ’83: A General Election Revisited
    • ‘Memory Lingers Here’: Are Newcastle’s Monuments Sites of Collective memory?
    • A Time of Heroes: How we will be remembering the International Brigaders from Stockton
    • ‘Socialists and the Drama’: The Dodds sisters and the Gateshead Progressive Players between the wars
    • The Scammells are coming, hoorah, hoorah
    • A passion for miners’ welfare: two generations of Ashington’s Minoughan family, 1872-1969
    • Crowley’s Crew: From Royalists to Radicals
    • Experiences of place and loss at Newcastle West End Foodbank
    • The Primrose League on Tyneside, 1883-1901
    • Schools & Labour History

Volume 50 (2019) can now be downloaded from the Journal Pages of this website.

Podcasts: Lives on the Left: A Labour History Project hosted by Paul Simpson, Academic Tutor in History at the University of Sunderland

Each episode features a guest discussing the life of a key figure in labour history and those of specific regional interest include: John Tomaney on Peter Lee, Lewis Mates on Will Lawther and Sarah Hellawell on Marion Phillips.

Other talks in the series are on: Clement Attlee, Fenner Brockway, Jennie Lee, Keir Hardie, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Sylvia Pankhurst, Mick McGahey, James Maxton, Will Thorne and Peter Kropotkin.

You can access these talks at – an excellent series, essential listening.

New Articles and Reports on This Site

We have recently added a couple of new articles on our Articles and Reports Page:

So Much has been Lost; Change and Continuity; the NUT in 1970 and the NEU in 2020. Peter Sagar contrasts the state of the education system in the 1970s to the current commodification and rigid control of the curriculum. He discusses the perversions caused by the league tables such as exclusions of weaker pupils to improve exam grade averages. The late 19th century serves as a benchmark for a narrow, arid view of the role of public education, a place we are being taken back to.

In The Newcastle Sailor Who Ended Up An American War Hero Thomas Bagnall tells the story of Sunderland born George H. Bell who served in the US Navy during the American Civil War and, injured in the line of duty, was awarded the United States of America’s highest military honour.

There are also reports on last year’s Peterloo commemorations,  John Charlton’s excellent pamphlet on the Great Newcastle demonstration that followed Peterloo and Dave Temple’s history of the miner’s struggles “From Jarrow to Orgreave”.

History For Change Network

The ‘History for Change’ conference took place in 2018 as part of the Heritage Lottery funded ‘Homeless History of Newcastle’ project. The event celebrated local history projects with a ‘radical’ aim or theme, bringing together speakers from a range of projects across the North East and beyond.

Many attendees expressed surprise about the breadth and diversity of projects happening across the region and the social relevance of many local history projects, as well as regret that they often had been unaware of other groups’ work.

Northern Cultural Projects has been active in the fields of community history and heritage in the North East for over a decade.

In 2020 we want to set up a network of like-minded groups, organisations and individuals with an interest in community-driven history/heritage projects that challenge existing perceptions and focus on ‘hidden’, contentious and diverse histories in the North East, including projects that use history to shed new light on current social issues and to gain a better understanding of the present.

Membership will be free, and meetings will take place in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The network wants to

• Act as a hub and offer regular meetings to share ideas and exchange knowledge.
• Foster new collaborations.
• Invite experts from universities, funding bodies etc. to provide advice.
• Provide mentoring for groups and organisations to develop project ideas and funding         applications.
• Encourage the use of unused public and private space for events and exhibitions.
• Share findings and stimulate exchange and dialogue through a conference.

At this stage we are trying to establish if there is enough interest to go forward.

Please let us know if you / your organisation would be interested in becoming involved by replying to this message or by emailing <>.

We have also put together a short survey at
to find out in more detail what people would expect from this network.

Please feel free to share this information.

The Unite Oral History Project

Have you or someone you know been active, even for a relatively short time, in UNITE or one of its legacy unions?

Interested in having your experience recorded?

The Unite Oral History project would like to hear from you. Click here for more information.

Contact at this address:

New Book: Professor Kenneth Warren, A Victorian Powerhouse

In mid-Victorian years, the development of Teesside and the associated boom in the coal and iron ore economies of south west Durham and the Cleveland Hills were wonders of an era of great achievements. This book examines this expansion in the basic industries of the North East and the accompanying transformation of the areas society and landscape.

The author lived in the North East for 14 years. Earlier on in his career he lectured in the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, before moving to Jesus College, Oxford. He is an acclaimed authority on the steel industry of the United States as well as having written on various aspects of North Eastern economic development, including Armstrong Whitworth, Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company, and the Consett Iron Company.

Underlying this book, and all his work on the North East of England, has been a deep love for the people, places and history of the region.