Voices from Labour’s Past Ordinary People Extraordinary Lives
By David Clark
Yorkshire figures prominently in this book with three of the principal interviewees being from Huddersfield and Colne Valley, and a number of others also having connections with the county.
Voices from Labour’s Past provides a unique ‘insider’s perspective’ on the lives of men and women who were active in the Labour Party from the early years of the twentieth century. Using oral history interviews, a highly innovative method in the 1970s when the interviews were conducted, together with archival research and the historian’s eye for detail, this book provides an opportunity to understand how these men and women shaped the politics of their communities and Britain.
They dedicated their lives to building the modern Labour Party and transformed it from a party of protest into one of Government. Their extraordinary life experiences included a plan to blow-up Durham Cathedral, leading a 2 year miner’s strike in Canada, serving with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit, doing ‘hard labour’ as a CO in Wormwood Scrubs and being the last home hand-loom weaver.
The women often had their introduction to politics through the Suffrage Movement when they saw their own injustices reflected more widely across society. When World War I began, many switched from Liberal to Labour. Others encouraged the emancipation of tens of thousands of working women to play their part in politics and civic life. On one occasion this involved transporting seventy-three busloads of Durham women to campaign in Harrogate.
About the Author:
Dr David Clark is Visiting Professor of History and Politics at the University of Huddersfield. He has spent 40 years in Parliament as a Labour MP and Peer, including a spell as a Cabinet Minister. He has taught at the Universities of Huddersfield, Manchester and Salford, and written widely on Labour history.
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