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Voluntary Work, and Grassroots Activism

Ideology, Institutions and Causes: the Committed Activist Life of a Durham Miner

La Vie engagée d’un mineur de Durham, Henry Bolton
Lewis Mates

Abstracts

Drawing inspiration from Kevin Morgan’s recent study of trade unionist A.A. Purcell, this article analyses the activist commitment of Durham miner Henry Bolton; his changing ideology, and how this informed his political interventions in numerous contexts and through multifarious institutions and positions. Beginning his political journey as a Methodist and Liberal before converting to socialism, Bolton was particularly significant as a key example of a neglected but undoubtedly significant phenomenon; an influential left Labour Party activist whose politics were largely indistinguishable from that of Communists but who was only actually a party member (open or otherwise) for a very short period. Bolton’s causes were numerous and interlinking. Working through the union, Labour Party and local council he advanced the interests of the miners and their communities, controversially harnessing the resources of the council itself during the 1926 general strike and lockout (he remained under long-term police surveillance). A firm believer in working-class education, Bolton was a leading figure in the regional Labour college movement and founder of a Socialist Sunday School branch. The latter formed the nucleus for local conscientious objectors during the Great War. In the 1930s, Bolton used his positions in both the council and region-wide peace council to propagandise on foreign affairs, including supporting the Spanish Republic. Studying Bolton’s activist life throws considerable light on the complex and diverse political culture of the British left, richly demonstrating the vast number of different ways in which an activist could intervene in the political world, and the complexities of the ideologies on the Labour left.

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Introduction

  • 1 D. Cope, Bibliography of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Lawrence and Wishart, 2016).
  • 2 K. Morgan, Bolshevism, syndicalism and the General Strike: The lost internationalist world of A.A. (...)
  • 3 Instructive too is the burgeoning work on syndicalist and anarchist activism under the rubric of th (...)

1The rich and voluminous literature on British communism has been enhanced recently by the greater attention paid to support for its doctrines among mainstream Labour Party figures.1 Particularly pertinent is Kevin Morgan’s study of A.A. Purcell’s career path in the labour movement.2 With a militant, syndicalist background, Purcell became a leading trade unionist in the early 1920s; a Labour MP, he also helped found the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). A central (though ultimately uninfluential) figure during the 1926 general strike, Purcell was edged out of influence in the aftermath of its defeat, part of a wider process of eliminating “non-party communism” from the later 1920s.3

  • 4 I would like to acknowledge the generous help of Jack Fletcher (Bolton’s grandson), Emmet O’Connor, (...)

2Trade unionists operating at lower organisational levels of the mainstream labour movement, however, remain underexplored. Such activists could exert considerable influence for what were militant (and/or) communist causes by ensuring at least elements of the machinery of the mass movement were harnessed to promote them. Indeed, there remained a vast array of potential vehicles that influential local or regional labour movement activists could use to propagate their politics. These vehicles could be both from within the official machinery of the trade unions and Labour Party or unofficial institutions that sprang up in specific circumstances with often rather more focussed aims in mind. Using Morgan’s work as a point of departure, this article explores the complexities of ideology and praxis through focussing on the life of Henry Bolton, a Durham miner and committed left activist, from the Edwardian period to the 1940s.4

Methodism and (militant) socialism

  • 5 L. H. Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp. 49–52.

3Henry Bolton was born in April 1874, in a Durham mining village just south of Chester-le-Street. The second sibling of a North Walian immigrant miner, after an elementary education, Bolton started work down the mine. While Chester-le-Street was a political storm-centre, there is no evidence that any of Bolton’s family were especially politically active. It was religion, and specifically Methodism, that played the major role in Bolton’s early cultural formation: in a sense, it was Bolton’s first “cause”. This was hardly surprising, as the various strands of Methodism were strong among the coalmining communities of the “Great Northern coalfield” (Durham and Northumberland) in this period. The Methodism of the Durham miners’ late Victorian leaders underlay their economic and political Liberalism, emphasising miners’ self-reliance, fostering coal owner paternalism, and informing the notion that master and men had shared interests in maintaining the wellbeing of the coal industry, achieved through conciliation and arbitration.5

  • 6 “Independent Order of Rechabites, Salford Unity, Friendly Society. Declaration of Candidate”, 4 Sep (...)
  • 7 L. Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.; Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp.60–61, 63–64.
  • 8 Newcastle Journal, 15 March 1955.

4By the time Bolton signified his commitment to Wesleyan Methodism by signing the abstinence (from alcohol) pledge, in 1908, he was head of his own family and living in Chopwell, in the north-west Durham coalfield.6 With a modern colliery, Chopwell was a boom-town, attracting migrant coalmining families from across the region and further afield. The colliery’s owners, the Consett Iron Company (CIC), were major industry players, turning large profits and paying generous dividends. Industrial relations were strained from the late 1890s, and Chopwell lodge (local union branch) was controlled by socialists of the ILP. The potential for the importation of radical ideas into this community in flux was high, and Bolton’s conversion to socialism in this context was hardly aberrant, although by no means a given.7 Will Lawther, an active socialist from the age of fifteen whose own mining family had moved to the Chopwell from Northumberland in 1905, claimed to have converted both Bolton, and another ardent chapel-goer, Vipond Hardy, to socialism at a Chopwell ILP meeting.8 Though Lawther was fifteen years Bolton’s junior, this event marked the birth of an important political alliance lasting to the late 1930s.

  • 9 Blaydon Courier, 13 March 1953; Newcastle Journal, 8 March 1955; Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

5In one crucial and fascinating sense, though, Bolton remained different from many of his new socialist comrades. In the wake of joining the ILP, Hardy moved away from Methodism, and began deploying his deep knowledge of the Bible to advocate a new-found militant atheism. Similarly, Lawther, though from a chapel attending family, also rejected religion early in life, as his socialist politics developed. Bolton, by contrast, retained his Christian faith. Again, though, this apparently rather idiosyncratic ideological standpoint was not entirely inexplicable. In the last years of the nineteenth century, Welsh minister Hugh Price Hughes developed and popularised Christian socialist ideas within the Wesleyan tradition, and Bolton certainly nurtured a friendship with him.9

  • 10 L. H. Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp.147–286.
  • 11 National Library, Dublin, William O’Brien mss, MS 15679 (1), Henry Bolton letter to Jim Larkin, 19 (...)

6Other young ILP Durham miner militants were similarly active Methodists in this period: Jack Lawson, for example, whose conversion to Wesleyan Methodism immediately preceded his joining the ILP, in 1904, aged twenty-three. After summer 1911, Lawson became the leading figure in the Durham miners’ minimum wage movement, galvanising its mass meetings with his aggressive class-based rhetoric.10 Bolton’s own (private) attitude to industrial militancy was starkly evident in a letter to the militant Irish trade unionist Jim Larkin, in July 1914. Bolton praised Larkin’s recent speech at Morpeth (Northumberland); “I think you rung the bell. […] Your ridicule at the simple trust of the workers in obsolete methods and stage-coach leaders was excellently stated... [it was] a speech brim full of wise and daring statements. […]”11 Yet, while Lawther was similarly enthusiastic about Larkin, Bolton did not appear to have been actively involved in Lawther’s syndicalist (and then anarchist syndicalist) grouping in Chopwell.

Working-class education and war resistance

  • 12 L. H. Mates, “The Limits and Potential of Syndicalist Influence in the Durham Coalfield before the (...)

7A Methodist desire for self-improvement, like that of many of his ILP-Methodist contemporaries, was evident in Bolton’s passion for working-class (self) education. There were abundant opportunities for political education in Chopwell available through the libraries in both working men’s clubs and the colliery institute, as well the Cooperative library, and the collections of individual activists. Bolton’s first two causes, Methodism and socialism, thus combined to find practical expression in the third; education. This was manifest when Bolton established a Socialist Sunday School branch in 1913, which met at Lawther’s non-sectarian “Communist (or Anarchist) Club”, established in November 1913 and itself the product of Lawther’s commitment to working-class education.12 The British Socialist Sunday School movement had begun in London in 1892, with Chopwell’s branch forming part of a wider Tyneside network; all adopted the socialist “ten commandments” based upon mutual respect, tolerance and international fraternity.

  • 13 Blaydon Courier, 30 September 1916; Challinor, R., “Jimmy Stewart and his Revolting Children”, Bull (...)

8Like many in the ILP, Bolton adopted an anti-war position in August 1914, and he began to use the Socialist Sunday School as a vehicle for fomenting anti-war resistance. After compulsory conscription was introduced, Bolton appeared at least two tribunals supporting local men applying for total exemption from war service on grounds of conscience. These included Will Lawther and his brothers Steve and Eddie. An apparently successful hearing in March 1916 saw all applicants granted exemption from combatant service. Eddie Lawther was not as fortunate six months later, however when Bolton’s testimony that Eddie had been an active antimilitarist failed to help. The tribunal dubbed Lawther’s objection simply “pernicious political propaganda” and he eventually served two years’ hard labour in Wormwood Scrubs.13

  • 14 Blaydon Courier, 11 March 1916; 30 September 1916; “Henry Bolton” in “The Pearce Register of Britis (...)

9The struggle against conscription also brought Bolton into new nationally-based organisations; the Union of Democratic Control and the No-conscription Fellowship. He was branch secretary of both in Chopwell and through them forged new alliances, most notably with Northumberland aristocrat C.P. Trevelyan, a former junior Liberal minister, radicalised by the war. Chopwell consequently became a significant coalfield centre of anti-war activity, attracting national speakers like the son of Lord Buxton who spoke there in 1916. But, with hardly a family in the village not directly affected by the war –over two hundred from Chopwell were killed– the local environment was predominately hostile to the peace campaigners.14

  • 15 Newcastle Journal, 17 March 1955; Jackson, T.A., Solo Trumpet: some memories of socialist agitation (...)
  • 16 Blaydon Courier, 1 May 1920.
  • 17 T. A. Jackson, Solo Trumpet, p.156.

10The difficult context did, however, offer impetus to the working-class education movement, not least because it was easier and safer for socialists to propagandise within study classes than through more public means. In 1915, the North-east Labour College –an association of miners’ lodges, trade union branches and socialist societies conducting study classes– was established.15 By 1919, Bolton was on its organising committee and that winter it ran sixteen classes in Durham and ten in Northumberland, chiefly on industrial history and economics.16 An incident that year encapsulated the confluence of Bolton’s Methodism, his zest for working-class education and his politics, now further radicalised by the October 1917 Bolshevik revolution. In his capacity as Labour College organiser, Bolton met T.A. Jackson, a widely reputed working-class educator recruited to the North-east College in autumn 1919. Jackson described Bolton as a “splendid type, he combined never-failing revolutionary ardour, with equally untiring practical work for a (Methodist) Brotherhood”.17 The unintended result of a joke, Bolton brought Jackson to preach a sermon at his Brotherhood on “Isaiah the Bolshevik”. The provocative title brought a packed house and a rapturous reception. The impact secured Jackson an increasingly inadequately sized venue for a lecture series on socialism in Chopwell.

  • 18 H. Bolton, The Place of the Co-operative Movement in the Sphere of Adult Education (Pelaw-on-Tyne: (...)
  • 19 Blaydon Courier, 24 April 1920.

11Bolton’s religion, politics, and passion for working-class education was evident too in his involvement in the Co-operative Society’s adult education activities. In 1923 he won a prize for an essay on this very topic, rich with religious vocabulary and Biblical quotations, evidencing the refinement of Bolton’s own (self-) education.18 The Co-operative Education Committee and North-east Labour College worked together on occasion, for example organising a talk in April 1920 by journalist W.T. Goode on “Bolshevik Russia as I saw it”. The talk came at the conclusion of a Labour college class on industrial history conducted by Bolton, who afterwards received a token of appreciation of his efforts.19

The ideal institution? Working through Blaydon Urban District Council

  • 20 Ibid., 12 April 1919; 3 May 1919.

12Notwithstanding his work with Marxists through the Labour College, Bolton became an official of the newly-organised Blaydon constituency Labour Party (CLP). Crucially, the party offered Bolton a springboard for his public political career; he was duly elected a Labour representative for Chopwell ward of Blaydon Urban District Council (UDC) in April 1919.20 The Urban District Councils in this period formed a significant part of local administration with extensive powers over house building, schools, sanitation, street improvements and road building, street lighting, recreation grounds, public conveniences, as well as administering the Old Age Pensions Act. A seat on the council allowed Bolton to promote many causes.

  • 21 Ibid., 19 May 1919; 14 June 1919; 14 August 1920; 12 March 1921; 2 April 1921; 18 March 1922; 21 Ju (...)

13Given the gross overcrowding in pit villages like Chopwell, working-class housing was Bolton’s priority from the outset. He was soon condemning the scandalous (and prohibitive) cost of suitable building land, and trying to limit the building of new “luxury” buildings like picture halls or pubs, that took material, labour and land away from house-building. Instead of spending council money on “peace” celebrations, Bolton endorsed a proposal to build three “peace celebration” houses instead. Indeed, he made several other controversial interventions on the memorialisation of the war, attacking the hypocrisy of the men who were leading these efforts, yet failing to find ex-soldiers employment or to provide for the families of those killed or maimed in the war. Progress on house building was painfully slow and Bolton began to condemn the coalition government’s apparent indifference, suggesting in August 1920 that the council should withdraw support for house building, thereby throwing full responsibility for the failure onto the government. Almost a year later, and with little change, Bolton’s policy of non-cooperation still could not muster majority council support. Even by January 1925, the council’s nascent housebuilding programme had, according to Bolton, still not reduced overcrowding.21

  • 22 Ibid., 18 October 1919; 15 November 1919; 14 May 1921; 16 July 1921; 3 December 1921; 11 February 1 (...)

14The council proffered Bolton a platform to attack big business, and particularly the mine owners. He assailed them for refusing to build sufficient housing for their workforces; for buying up local farms and thereby imperilling the local milk supply and for neglecting to maintain Chopwell’s streets. Bolton regularly sought, unsuccessfully, to find a means of delivering the benefits and rates rebates (of up to 30%) enjoyed by the big house owners (like the coal companies) to single owner-occupiers and council renters. The rights, pay and conditions of the council’s own workers were another cause, with Bolton arguing (unsuccessfully) in October 1919 for an extra one week’s annual holiday on full pay for them all. He supported the council’s own striking “cartmen” in November 1919 and was adamant that the council should always pay full trade union rates of pay, even to unemployed workers brought in by the government. Indeed, Bolton intervened on a vast raft of local issues, large and small; from arguing for the right of council tenants to keep poultry to advocating the municipalisation of local water. A council seat allowed Bolton to pronounce on national domestic issues too. For example, in December 1921 he got the council to endorse a call to prime minister Lloyd George to reduce the cost of foodstuffs.22

  • 23 Ibid., 14 August 1920.
  • 24 Ibid., 8 May 1920.
  • 25 Ibid., 14, 21 August 1920.
  • 26 Ibid., 28 August 1920.

15The council even allowed for interventions on international questions. In August 1920, Bolton moved to suspend council standing orders to allow for an emergency resolution that protested at the government’s “bellicose attitude towards the Russian and Irish nations”, opposed any British aid to the enemies of (Soviet) Russia and demanded the withdrawal of British troops from Ireland.23 True, there was some opposition in the council; one councill 24Oin the cause of r evenying British intervention in(Sovie) Russin, Bolton was also active in the institutio that sprang up specifically for this prpposs. The organisational modle of a sational “Counciy os Action” constitcted by the Labour Party and trade unions to argce the ause ane, of nccesrary,kforct the government’sh and with industrialacation, was rpplicsted at local reved.25 Tusn, by late August 1920, Bolton was pdomiment in the Chopwell anddDistrict “Counciy os Actions, mvsing its resolution uUnreservelyg tolo, anothing within its powes, including‘ down hools’ policy[sic.s; a strik]y, to top, a 26

  • 76 Ibid., 62 March 1920.
  • 18-Tyne and yearAarchive service[TWAS]y,T148/5., Repport of theSumperintendant an Felhing toCchiec Co1 (...)

>676 erhaps, unsurprisinlly, by May 192e Bolton hadcsome to the notace of the local police superintendann, whoreg ardnd hmn as a leading lighn” of the Chopwell minerr, though not of adhangurous typ was rgwardslbeingt he movrms in militant cntss.

>79Whgether thismemant that Bolton was unde toiod tobet a pid- upmcember of the CPGBfor communisn” was sipply g genemic and eajocative ermw for ayd lef-wting militantias u certai.f Bolton’s activit) to that pointr evalredah militant, activ,f anticaplitalist who opposed British intervention in(Sovie) Russin,bust whoseeimedhappry iniade the Labour Party and whosencame ddh not(un(like some of his Labour miner contemporarie) efeagure in communist publiastions. In thisnflids perioe, srchpolitica vidennities were compocativnly comion, wite Labour inlybeginnhing to pdescribn communisst from themid- 1920s Ccertainle, Bolton’s rhetoriy soandedah militanh noen,bust was not expliitely pNo-communiss. Indeed, when Labour formed a governmens in January 194n, Bolton was remrktably supportive.P rsldring atan Maiday deod, hehsailed the rcal progresa” achieve:e While thcy[ Labou]s were r mijority governmens and could notlRegi late verymsrchton revolutionarylrines[sic.]s, yet thcy hadd one someothins, which the worwers ought tobet pruad of […]”21 I, the counciy, ton, Bolton was “fully catsifien” wite the£5,000d of governmens support for houtint tha8, he was certai,I would not have been providdy had Labour not been in powes.

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Biublograpgy <
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Challinor, R., “Jimmy Stewart and his Revolting Children”, Bulletin of the north-east Group for the Study of Labour History, 17 (1983) pp.8–12

Cope, D. Bibliography of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Lawrence and Wishart, 2016)

Crossman, R. (ed.), The God That Failed. Six Studies of Communism (Hamish Hamilton, 1950)

Jackson, T.A., Solo Trumpet: some memories of socialist agitation and propaganda (Lawrence and Wishart, 1953)

MacIntyre, S., “Red Strongholds Between the Wars”, Marxism Today (March, 1979), pp.85.

Mason, A., “The Miners’ unions of Northumberland and Durham, with special reference to the General Strike of 1926” (Ph.D. thesis, Hull University, 1967)

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Mates, L.H., “Britain’s De Facto Popular Front? The Case of the Tyneside Foodship Campaign, 1938-1939”, Labour History Review, 69:1 (2004), pp.323–345

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Morris, M., The General Strike (Penguin, 1976)

Mullin, C., (ed.), Arguments for democracy (Harmondsworth: Penguin)

Page Arnot, R., et. al., “The General Strike, 1926”, Our History, Issue 22 (1961), p.27

Short, G., “The General Strike and Class Struggles in the North-East: 1925–28”, Marxism Today, Volume 14 (October, 1970), pp.306–315

Turnbull, L., Chopwell’s Story (Gateshead: Gateshead council, 1978)

Watson, D., No Justice without a Struggle (Merlin Press, 2014)

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Notes

1 D. Cope, Bibliography of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Lawrence and Wishart, 2016).

2 K. Morgan, Bolshevism, syndicalism and the General Strike: The lost internationalist world of A.A. Purcell (Lawrence and Wishart, 2013).

3 Instructive too is the burgeoning work on syndicalist and anarchist activism under the rubric of the “transnational turn”, with its emphasis on actor networks. See L. H. Mates, “Syndicalism and the ‘transnational turn’”, Capital & Class 40:2 (2016), pp. 344–354.

4 I would like to acknowledge the generous help of Jack Fletcher (Bolton’s grandson), Emmet O’Connor, Kevin Davies and Don Watson, and the anonymous reviewers.

5 L. H. Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp. 49–52.

6 “Independent Order of Rechabites, Salford Unity, Friendly Society. Declaration of Candidate”, 4 September 1908 (in possession of Jack Fletcher); Blaydon Courier, 13 March 1953; Turnbull, L., Chopwell’s Story (Gateshead: Gateshead council, 1978), n.p.n.

7 L. Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.; Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp.60–61, 63–64.

8 Newcastle Journal, 15 March 1955.

9 Blaydon Courier, 13 March 1953; Newcastle Journal, 8 March 1955; Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

10 L. H. Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp.147–286.

11 National Library, Dublin, William O’Brien mss, MS 15679 (1), Henry Bolton letter to Jim Larkin, 19 July 1914.

12 L. H. Mates, “The Limits and Potential of Syndicalist Influence in the Durham Coalfield before the Great War”, Labor History, 54:1 (2013), pp.46-47.

13 Blaydon Courier, 30 September 1916; Challinor, R., “Jimmy Stewart and his Revolting Children”, Bulletin of the north-east Group for the Study of Labour History, 17 (1983) pp.8–12.

14 Blaydon Courier, 11 March 1916; 30 September 1916; “Henry Bolton” in “The Pearce Register of British WW1 Conscientious Objectors” available online at https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/7657095 (Accessed: 31 May 2016); L. Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

15 Newcastle Journal, 17 March 1955; Jackson, T.A., Solo Trumpet: some memories of socialist agitation and propaganda (Lawrence and Wishart, 1953), pp.143–44.

16 Blaydon Courier, 1 May 1920.

17 T. A. Jackson, Solo Trumpet, p.156.

18 H. Bolton, The Place of the Co-operative Movement in the Sphere of Adult Education (Pelaw-on-Tyne: Co-operative Wholesale Society, 1923).

19 Blaydon Courier, 24 April 1920.

20 Ibid., 12 April 1919; 3 May 1919.

21 Ibid., 19 May 1919; 14 June 1919; 14 August 1920; 12 March 1921; 2 April 1921; 18 March 1922; 21 July 1923; 25 August 1923; 24 January 1925.

22 Ibid., 18 October 1919; 15 November 1919; 14 May 1921; 16 July 1921; 3 December 1921; 11 February 1922; 20 December 1922; 20 January 1923; 14 March 1923; 21 April 1923; 23 June 1923; 27 October 1923; 14 November 1923; 23 February 1924; 22 March 1924; 22 November 1924; 20 December 1924.

23 Ibid., 14 August 1920.

24 Ibid., 8 May 1920.

25 Ibid., 14, 21 August 1920.

26 Ibid., 28 August 1920.

27 Ibid., 26 March 1921.

28 Tyne and Wear Archive Service [TWAS], T148/5, “Report of the Superintendent at Felling to Chief Constable of Durham”, 21 May 1921.

29 TWAS, T148/6, “Report of the Superintendent at Felling to the Chief Constable of Durham”, 20 March 1922.

30 See text of Bolton speeches from public platforms in May 1920 and December 1922, for example, in Blaydon Courier, 8 May 1920; 20 December 1922.

31 Blaydon Courier, 10 May 1924.

32 Ibid., 21 June 1924.

33 TWAS, T148/7, “Report of the Superintendent at Felling to the Chief Constable of Durham”, 6 April 1924.

34 TWAS, T148/6, “Report of the Superintendent at Felling to the Chief Constable of Durham”, 21 April 1922.

35 Barron, H., The 1926 Miners’ Lockout. Meanings of Community in the Durham Coalfield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p.151.

36 TWAS, T148/7, “Report of the Superintendent at Felling to the Chief Constable of Durham”, 11 January 1925.

37 Blaydon Courier, 20 June 1925.

38 “Fight Like Hell” No.27, supplement Worker’s Weekly, 10 December 1926; Blaydon Courier, 20 June 1925; L. Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

39 Evening Chronicle, 1 April 1925.

40 Blaydon Courier, 10 October 1925.

41 Ibid., 20 June 1925; Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

42 Blaydon Courier, 15 December 1925.

43 Ibid., 24 April 1926.

44 Ibid., 18 May 1926; 8 June 8 1926.

45 [no named author], “A Council of Action – 40 Years Ago”, Labour Monthly, Vol.48 (June, 1966), pp.269–271.

46 R. Page Arnot et.al., “The General Strike, 1926”, Our History, Issue 22 (1961), p.27.

47 Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

48 R. Page Arnot et.al., “General Strike”, p.24; Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

49 See Short, G., “The General Strike and Class Struggles in the North-East: 1925–28”, Marxism Today, 14 (October, 1970), pp.306–315.

50 Newcastle Journal, 14 May 1926.

51 Lawther quoted in M. Morris, The General Strike (Penguin, 1976), p.57.

52 Northern Light, No.3, n.d.; Workers’ Chronicle, No.4, 7 May 1926 (General Strike Pamphlets, Gateshead Public Library).

53 Blaydon Courier, 22 May 1926.

54 Newcastle Journal, 14 May 1926.

55 Blaydon Courier, 22 May 1926; Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

56 Ibid., 22 May 1926.

57 A. Mason, “The Miners” unions of Northumberland and Durham, with special reference to the General Strike of 1926” (Ph.D. thesis, Hull University, 1967), p.227.

58 A. Page et.al., “General Strike”, p.27.

59 Parliamentary Debates, Vol.195, c.802, 13 May 1926.

60 A. Page et.al., “General Strike”, p.20.

61 See L. H. Mates, “Durham and South Wales Miners and the Spanish Civil War”, Twentieth Century British History, 17:3 (2006), pp.383–385.

62 Blaydon Courier, 22 May 1926.

63 Newcastle Journal, 21 May 1926.

64 S. MacIntyre, “Red Strongholds Between the Wars”, Marxism Today (March, 1979), p.85.

65 Ibid.,

66 Durham Chronicle, 9 October 1926; Turnbull, Chopwell’s Story, n.p.n.

67 M. Morris, General Strike, p.103.

68 Blaydon Courier, 13 March 1953; Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp.67–68.

69 Worker’s Life, 27 May 1927.

70 See Blaydon Courier, 24 April 1926.

71 “The Miners” Voice”, No.33, supplement in Worker’s Life, 9 September 1927.

72 Friends of Soviet Russia International Congress, November 1927. Report and Resolutions. (London: Labour Research Department, 1928); Blaydon Courier, 13 March 1953; Short, “General Strike”, p.314.

73 Workers” Life, 27 July 1928.

74 North Mail, 16 February 1929.

75 Ibid.,

76 “Fight Like Hell” No.7, supplement Worker’s Weekly, 23 July 1926; MacIntyre, “Red Strongholds”, p.86.

77 L. H. Mates, The Spanish Civil War and the British Left: Political Activism and the Popular Front (I.B. Tauris, 2007), pp.23–24.

78 Northern Echo, 23 July 1934. See also L. H. Mates, “A ‘Most Fruitful Period’? The North East District Communist Party and the Popular Front Period, 1935-9”, North-East History, 36 (2004), pp.54–98.

79 L. H. Mates, Spanish Civil War, pp.22–23.

80 Daily Worker, 3 August 1936.

81 Evening Chronicle, 4 August 1936.

82 North Mail, 9 October 1936.

83 Ibid., 6 February 1937.

84 Ibid., 10 October 1936. See also critical letters in North Mail, 6 August 1936; 2 September 1936.

85 L. H. Mates, “Radical Cultures and Local Identities: the North-east Labour Movement’s Response to the Spanish Civil War”, in K. Cowman and I. Packer (eds), Radical Cultures and Local Identities (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2010), pp.213–231.

86 Durham Record Office, D/Sho 97, Blaydon CLP AR, 1936.

87 North Mail, 31 August 1936; Blaydon Courier, 29 August 1936.

88 North Mail, 19 August 1936.

89 See D. Watson, No Justice without a Struggle (Merlin Press, 2014).

90 Northern Echo, 23 July 1934; Blaydon Courier, 27 February 1937; 20 March 1937.

91 Blaydon Courier, 22 August 1936.

92 Ibid., 17 October 1936; Newcastle Journal, 17 November 1936.

93 Blaydon Courier, 20 March 1937. See Mates, “Durham and South Wales miners” and Spanish Civil War, pp.29–60.

94 Blaydon Courier, 2 January 1937.

95 Durham Chronicle, 19 March 1937.

96 See L. H. Mates, “The North-East and the Campaigns for a Popular Front, 1938-9”, Northern History, 43:2 (2006), pp.273–301.

97 Blaydon Courier, 6 May 1938.

98 Ibid., 13 May 1938.

99 Ibid., 3 June 1938.

100 L. H. Mates, “Campaigns for a Popular Front”.

101 North Mail, 6 February 1939.

102 Tribune, 17 February 1939.

103 L. H. Mates, “Britain’s De Facto Popular Front? The Case of the Tyneside Foodship Campaign, 1938-1939”, Labour History Review, 69:1 (2004), pp.323–345.

104 Newcastle Journal, 23 March 1955.

105 Blaydon Courier, 10 April 1942.

106 TWAS, Acc.5143, “An Appeal to the Miners of Durham” (n.d., February/March 1940).

107 Consett Chronicle, 2 April 1942.

108 Ibid.,

109 Ibid.,

110 Mates, “Most fruitful period?”

111 Mates, Great Labour Unrest, pp.107, 126.

112 Blaydon Courier, 10 April 1942.

113 Consett Chronicle, 2 April 1942.

114 The Times, 20 July 1942; Lawther, W., “Anglo-Soviet Trade Union Unity” Labour Monthly, 24 (March, 1942) pp.80–82; Sunday Sun, 9 April 1944.

115 Blaydon Courier, 13 March 1953.

116 Ibid., 10 May 1924.

117 L. H. Mates, Great Labour Unrest, p.22 and passim.

118 T. Benn, “The moral basis for democratic socialism”, in C. Mullin (ed.), Arguments for democracy (Harmondsworth: Penguin), p.130.

119 R. Crossman, (ed.), The God That Failed. Six Studies of Communism (Hamish Hamilton, 1950).

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Lewis Mates, « Ideology, Institutions and Causes: the Committed Activist Life of a Durham Miner  », Revue Française de Civilisation Britannique [Online], XXII-3 | 2017, Online since 05 July 2017, connection on 14 December 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/rfcb/1552 ; DOI : 10.4000/rfcb.1552

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Lewis Mates

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