Scottish Labour History Society Newsletter

November 2022

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The 2022 Edition of Scottish Labour History
Volume 57 of Scottish Labour History will be out in late November and includes a transcript of the inaugural Ian MacDougall Memorial Lecture given by Professor Lynn Abrams of Glasgow University, on the value of oral histories in the study of working-class history. There is also material from the conference honouring Ian MacDougall, and marking the 60th anniversary of SLHS and 30th anniversary of the Scottish Working People’s History Trust, ‘Hard Work, Ye Ken’, held at the National Library of Scotland last November. There are pieces on Patrick Dollan, James Maxton and the Scottish Socialist Party, and on the Reverend Richard Lee, who buried John Maclean, by, respectively, Danny Carrigan and Gerard Cairns. Other articles include the concluding part of De-Provincialising 1820, by the late Neil Davidson and Jamie Allinson; a consideration by Marion Henry of the role of brass bands in mining districts during deindustrialisation (c1950-1984); an account of the life and socialism of Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean by Stewart Maclennan; and an extract from the life of Harry Lauder, introduced by Robert Laurie. As well as the usual review and other sections, there is a symposium on the 125th Scottish TUC anniversary publication, ‘Mon the Workers.

Sell and Be Damned Launch Event
The latest SLHS Occasional Publication, Sell and Be Damned, will be launched in Glasgow at the Unite the Union headquarters (5th floor meeting room), John Smith House, at 145-165 West Regent Street on Thursday 24 November (6pm-8pm). It will be a hybrid event – both in person and via Zoom. The booklet is an account of the Glasgow strike against a threatened sale of public housing in 1951. Written by two shop steward leaders of the action, Ned Donaldson and Les Forster, for the 40th anniversary of the strike, it has been revived for the 70th anniversary by Ned’s daughter, Anni Donaldson, and published by crowd-funding. The text is augmented by an overview of housing struggles by Dr Valerie Wright, and profiles of the authors by Anni Donaldson and James Kelman. SLHS members will receive a copy with the 2022 journal. Proceeds from sales will go to the Living Rent campaign. Copies will be on sale at the launch for £5.00 (cash only).

Christopher Hill and the English Revolution
The Institute of Historical Research at the University of London is holding an event to mark the 50th anniversary of Christopher Hill’s The World Turned Upside Down on Saturday 26 November (9.30am-5pm) at Senate House, Malet Street, London. The full day’s programme can be viewed on line and tickets purchased via…. More details from John Rees ( and Waseem Ahmed ( Tickets are £17 waged and £6 for students.

Glasgow Launch of A New Scotland: Building an Equal, Fair and Sustainable Society
The free Glasgow launch of the new Jimmy Reid Foundation book, A New Scotland: Building an Equal, Fair and Sustainable Society, will be held at the STUC offices at 8 Landressy Street, Bridgeton, G40 1BP, on Tuesday 22 November from 4pm-6pm. The editor and several contributors will be in attendance. To reserve a place click….

Engels Week Events @ WCML and the Marx Memorial Library
During the last week of November, to mark Engels' birthday on 28 November, the Working Class Movement Library (WCML) is running several events to engage people with his work and explore his relevance today. Much of last year's WCML Engels' events, including the 2021 Engels Lecture organised by WCML, with Amelia Horgan (…), are available on the WCML website and YouTube channel. This year the Marx Memorial Library is organising the Engels Memorial Lecture on 30 November. The speaker is John Bellamy Foster, who will give his lecture 'Engels and the Second Foundation of Marxism' online. You can find out more and register at….

Working-Class History in Dumfries: Friday/Saturday 18/19 November
Any SLHS members within striking distance of Dumfries may be interested in Culture in Society, a two-day Book Week Scotland event at the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre, which will feature the launch of a new book about the history of the organised C19 working class of Dumfries by SLHS member Ian Gasse, and also include screenings of films featuring Raymond Williams, and the political theatre movement of the 1960s and 70s, with Edward and Dorothy Thompson. There is also a performance on the evening of Saturday 19, by Banner Theatre of its latest production, Saltley Gate to Partygate. More details and booking at