Scottish Labour History Society Newsletter

July 2021

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PayPal Problems Resolved
At long last the Society’s problems with PayPal functionality on the website have been resolved (18 June), thanks to the perseverance of treasurer Robert Laurie, with assistance from committee member Chris Miller and secretary Carolyn McAllister. Members can now once again renew their subscriptions via the website and purchase back issues and other publications, and new members can now join once again via the website. We hope we have not lost many members along the way.

New Constitution, AGM and Changes
The Society at last held an annual general meeting – using Zoom technology – on Wednesday 2 June, following a special general meeting on the same date, which unanimously adopted a new constitution reflecting the changed reality of life post-Covid. Stewart Maclennan was re-elected as chair, Robert Laurie as treasurer, Gregor Gall and Jim Phillips as journal editors, and Ian Gasse as website administrator, with Carolyn McAllister becoming the new secretary, and Pat Kelly the new vice-chair. The new committee also includes Ewan Gibbs, Diarmaid Kelliher, Richard Leonard, Chris Miller, Malcolm Petrie, David Raw, Gordon Scobie and Valerie Wright. Nineteen members attended the SGM and AGM, with six apologies.

Subscription Increase
It was agreed at the AGM that SLHS subscriptions should be increased, as the annual production for the journal and website maintenance costs now exceed our unwaged subscription, and almost equal the waged subscription. The new rates, which will take effect from 1st September, are £20.00 for waged members and £13.00 for unwaged & student members. This is the first increase since 2008. Members wishing to renew their 2021 subscription at the existing rate should do so by 31st August.

Neil Davidson Library Project
Neil Davidson was a leading Scottish Marxist historian and sociologist; his seminal works being The Origins of Scottish Nationhood and Discovering the Scottish Revolution. His early death has left a large intellectual legacy and this project seeks to raise £10,000 to provide an infrastructure for his books, periodicals and other materials, and a space for Scottish working-class and socialist movements. His library contains a huge number of books and much rare material that will be of use to scholars and activists in Scotland and elsewhere. The project aims to make them available in one location. More details at

1920s Communist Party History
Prosopography – the investigation of the common background characteristics of a closely defined group of historical actors by means of a collective examination of their careers and lives – has proved a useful additional tool for scholars researching diverse areas of historiography. In this context, two recently published papers extend research into 74 revolutionary socialists who comprised the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) leadership from 1920 to 1928. The articles are: (1) John McIlroy & Alan Campbell, ‘The leadership of British Communism, 1923–1928: pages from a prosopographical project’, Labor History online at:… and (2) John McIlroy & Alan Campbell, ‘The “core” leaders of the Communist Party of Great Britain, 1923–1928: their past, present and future’, Labor History online at:…

‘Sanny’ Sloan Booklet
This booklet about Alexander Sloan, former Labour MP for South Ayrshire – written by his great-granddaughter, Esther Davies – is available to purchase (£8.00 inc postage) via the SLHS website. An introductory blog, outlining his life and work, is available on the website at…

Ron Curran
SLHS  has learned of the sad death of Ron Curran at the age of 94. A pioneering Scottish National Officer of the National Union of Public Employees, Ron was also a stalwart supporter of SLHS, and authored several works of labour and social history: a full obituary will appear in this year's Journal.

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