Scottish Labour History Society Newsletter

June 2022

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SLHS Occasional Publications
We hope all SLHS members have received and enjoyed their exclusive advance copy of Diverse Voices, Challenging Injustice: Banner Tales from Glasgow, issued with Scottish Labour History Volume 56. A public launch is now being planned and the publication will soon be available from our website, price £8. Another new Occasional Publication is currently at the printers and will be available shortly. Sell And Be Damned reprints Ned Donaldson & Les Forster's account of the Merrylee housing strike of 1951, with contributions from James Kelman, Anni Donaldson (Ned's daughter) and the SLHS's Valerie Wright: both Ned and Les were leaders of the strike. Again, this new publication, an excellent example of crowd-funding by trade union and community groups, will shortly be available from our website.

Glasgow Doors Open Festival
For many years, SLHS has been a participant in Glasgow Doors Open, offering heritage walks on labour movement topics, and we will be there again this year. Having "walked" through World War I, Red Clydeside and George Square 1919, the focus this year is on "Clydeside to Landslide" and the historic Labour victory in Scotland at the 1922 General Election. The walk is at 11am on Sunday 18 September, starting from the south entrance to the Clyde Suspension Bridge on Carlton Place.

A New Scotland
Scottish Labour History joint editor Gregor Gall is the editor of a new book published jointly by the Jimmy Reid Foundation and Pluto Press, which uses the analysis of recent Scottish history to inform a consideration of Scotland’s future. A New Scotland: Building an Equal, Fair and Sustainable Society poses the question of how, with or without independence, Scotland can create a ‘brighter future’ for itself. After 20 years of devolution, Scotland continues to experience significant levels of inequality and unfairness, and the book comprises blueprints for radical reform, put forward by various leading activists and academics. It is available from Calton Books for £14.99 at…

New biography of England’s lone Socialist MP
Colne Valley MP Victor Grayson has been an enigma since his short meteoric rise to fame at a 1907 West Yorkshire by-election, won without ILP backing, and his subsequent defeat in January 1910, after suspension from the House of Commons for attempting to address the unemployment problem. His disappearance in 1920, after fighting with an ANZAC regiment during World War 1 and suffering ‘shell-shock’, has added to the mystery. Harry Taylor’s new biography builds on those of Reg Groves and former Colne Valley MP David Clark, and attempts to answer the questions about Grayson’s origins, his fall from grace, and disappearance. The book, Victor Grayson: In Search of Britain’s Lost Revolutionary, has a foreword by Jeremy Corbyn, and can be purchased (price £16.99) via Pluto Press at

The Scottish Enlightenment and the reform of civic ethics in the nineteenth century
This one-day symposium, on Friday 10 June (9:30am-5pm), has been convened by Dr Ian Cawood of the University of Stirling, and will take place at the Yudowitz Seminar Room 1 at the University of Glasgow, but can also be attended via ‘Zoom’. A keynote presentation by Professor Gordon Graham on Philosophical Research and Civic Education in the Scottish Enlightenment will be followed by seven papers, on topics ranging from Adam Smith, abolitionism, race and Empire to gender, the Edinburgh Review, and Walter Scott and Henry Brougham. To register, visit; to join via ‘Zoom’, go to

Invisible Histories talk: Growing Up Communist in the Netherlands and Britain
The next of the Working Class Movement Library Invisible Histories talks is on Tuesday 21 June (2-3.30pm) at the library and online. The speaker is Dr Elke Weesjes of City University, New York, who will present her comparative analysis of the Dutch and British Communist Movements in the 20th Century. Her talk will focus on respondents' political and cultural upbringing and their parents' prescriptions and aspirations. The online talk can be accessed on the day and will be available as a recording later. Join the ‘Zoom’ meeting at… (Meeting ID: 847 7429 6941; passcode: 957275).

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