Scottish Labour History Society Newsletter

June 2021

Blog category
Opening text

As members will know from the notice sent out several weeks ago, the Society is holding a Special General Meeting, followed by an overdue AGM (via ‘Zoom’) on Wednesday 2nd June at 1pm. Anyone wishing to participate should send a request for an invitation to the meeting to committee vice-chair Carolyn McAllister at to arrive no later than 6pm on Tuesday 1st June. Anyone wishing to be considered for the committee should indicate this in their email.

60 Years of SLHS and 30 Years of SWPHT – plus Honouring Ian MacDougall
On 30th November SLHS will be joining the Scottish Working People’s History Trust and the National Library of Scotland in a day-long online event to mark the 60th anniversary of SLHS and the 30th anniversary of SWPHT. The day will comprise three separate elements. The first, from 11am, will feature presentations about SLHS and SWPHT, plus a Q&A session; the second, at 2pm, will be a film presentation showcasing NLS working people’s and labour history collections, including the William Gallacher Archive, again with a Q&A session; the third, at 5pm, will feature a panel discussion on working people’s oral history, and another Q&A session.
Meanwhile, an inaugural Ian MacDougall Memorial Lecture is being arranged for April 2022 – more details in future newsletters.

New Lanark 2021: From Robert Owen to World Heritage and Beyond
To mark the 250th anniversary of Owen’s birth, the 20th anniversary of New Lanark’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and the restoration of the millworkers’ housing in the village, New Lanark Trust will host a three-day interdisciplinary conference to explore Owen’s extensive legacy. Running from 12-14 October, the conference will reflect on the relevance of Owen’s legacy today, exploring how heritage sites address UNESCO’s sustainable development goals, the value of culture and heritage, industrial democracy, workers’ rights and co-operation. Also being celebrated will be the many partnerships which have helped develop the site, including with the hundreds of people who have supported its regeneration. More information from

Researching Joseph Shaughnessy
SLHS member Thomas Davidson has begun revising his 2018 booklet on Joseph Shaughnessy (1850-1906), a left-wing Liberal Party member, town councillor, Irish nationalist, and founding father of Celtic FC. He would be grateful if any SLHS members have information on the Independent Labour Party in the Rutherglen area in the 1890s, and specifically about a Mr Walsh, a publisher of various pamphlets, including work by James Connolly. Although Shaughnessy was a longstanding councillor and well known far beyond Rutherglen, an ILP member defeated him in a town council election, despite Shaughnessy having the support of the local newspaper and their politics being almost identical. Any information should be sent to

North East (England) Labour History
The latest issue of North East History (Vol. 51, 2020) from the Newcastle-based North East Labour History Society (NELHS), has much to offer SLHS members. Articles include Labour’s 1931 defeat in the NE, an account of the 1983 General Election in Newcastle Central by the narrowly defeated Labour candidate, and an account of the Gateshead ILP theatre group of the 1920s/30s. The century-long efforts for miners’ welfare in a Northumbrian village are described, and a family’s experience of World War II in County Durham and Egypt, with a piece on the Conservative party’s Primrose League’s efforts on Tyneside, 1883-1901. Subscription details are at (where some older journals are freely available) or from Treasurer Judith McSwaine, 12 Whitfield Rd, Forest Hall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE12 7LJ. The full rate is £20 (£10 for students/unwaged).

Continuing PayPal Problems
As noted before, access to PayPal from the SLHS website is not currently working. Consequently, we would remind members of other ways to pay subscriptions – via online banking, by setting up an standing order, or by cheque through the post. For online transfer, the Society’s bank account details are: Scottish Labour History Society; sort code: 08-92-99; account no: 65474464. The subscription remains £15 waged and £10 unwaged. To pay by post, please send cheque, payable to Scottish Labour History Society, to Robert Laurie, SLHS Treasurer, 201 Alberta Avenue, East Kilbride, G75 8HU. Members wishing to set up a standing order can use the bank details above. We will announce here and on the website when the situation is resolved.

Any items for future newsletters should be sent to