Archie Potts 1932-2021

This is an initial appreciation of Archie which will be supplemented by a fuller peice in North East History. See also Joan Allen’s appreciation on the Society for the Study of Labour History website.

From Brian Bennison

It is with sadness that I pass on the news of the death of my colleague, friend and comrade, Archie Potts. Archie was a founder of the NELHS in 1966 and latterly its president.

Born in Sunderland, Archie left school without any formal qualifications and became a railway clerk, before doing national service. He took advantage of the education facilities in the RAF to pick up the equivalent of seven ‘o’ levels. When he returned to the railways, he began to take an active part in the Labour party and his trade union. Like many labour movement activists of his generation, Archie enrolled at Ruskin in 1956.

 After Ruskin, Archie embarked on a career in tertiary and then higher education. He joined Rutherford College, soon to become Newcastle Polytechnic, in 1965. I came to know Archie when I joined the Poly in 1974. As an academic, Archie wrote many articles for labour history and socialist history journals and directories. In 1981 he co-authored for the Library Association a bibliography of Northern Labour History.

 Away from the Poly, Archie was very active in the Labour Party. He stood as a Labour & Cooperative Party candidate in a parliamentary election and had a distinguished career on the old Tyne & Wear County Council.

 Archie was something of an expert on North East boxing and boxers and wrote several books on the subject and another on wrestling.

 Archie took a keen interest in politics to the end and was equally enthusiastic about debating the fortunes of Sunderland FC. Phone calls or visits to his flat on NELHS business soon moved on to more important matters. On many occasions I would tell my wife I was nipping out for a paper, only to return almost one hour later. She learned not to panic. She knew I’d bumped into Archie and we would be involved in serious and exhaustive discussion about the state of the region’s football teams.

 Archie, an old school Labour man, will be missed by many.