A User Guide to materials on radical North East history

This is intended to help users to become acquainted with material on North East radical history (labour, socialist, radical, feminist). It could include books, archives, film, photography and web sites. Users are invited to submit their own special likes. Brief annotations are especially welcome.

This is a brief and slightly idiosyncratic selection of books I have enjoyed and found useful. It is a slightly amended version of the list for The Radical Ramble.

  • S Middlebrook, Newcastle upon Tyne: Its growth and achievement, Newcastle, 1950. (1968) Still the best general history of Newcastle, not radical, but surprisingly good at relating political, social and economic factors (given its age and authorship).
  • Robert Colls & Bill Lancaster, Newcastle Upon Tyne: A Modern History, Chichester, 2001. An excellent new book with lots of valuable essays.
  • K Wrightson & D Levine, The Making of an Industrial Society: Whickham 1560-1765, Oxford 1991. On the early period a wonderful book! Big and dense but rewarding. Includes the story of the Guildhall Riots of 1740.
  • Thomas Bewick, My Life. Available in reprinted versions. Just marvellous as an evocation of the 18th/early 19th century craftsman’s world!
  • Malcolm Chase, The People’s Farm, Oxford, 1988. Includes a lovely chapter on Tom Spence by one of our Society’s members. Highly readable.
  • Thomas Ainge Devyr, The Odd Book of the 19th Century, New York, 1870. Extremely rare copy in City Reference Library. Excellent on Newcastle Chartism and early Irish agitation.
  • Nigel Todd, The Militant Democracy: Joseph Cowen and Victorian Radicalism, Whitley Bay,1991. Nigel’s homage to an earlier guy who would not keep his mouth shut!
  • E Allen et al, The North East Engineers’ Strikes of 1871, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1971. A bit dry but excellent material.
  • David Neville, To Make Their Mark, 1997. The women’s suffrage movement in the north east. Lively account by a society member published by the society.
  • Nigel Todd, In Excited Times, Whitley Bay, 1996. A stirring tale of how our grandfathers kicked the Nazis out of town.
  • Don Watson & John Corcoran, An Inspiring Example, Newcastle, 1996. The north east and the Spanish Civil War, also by a society member.

John Charlton.