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Past Events

An opportunity to catch up on what we've been up to

15 June 2024

 

Perfidious Albion: Britain & the Spanish Civil War: The book’s title reflects the first of its three central themes – the damaging hypocrisy of British foreign policy towards the Spanish Republic, a policy founded in the class prejudices of Conservative decisionmakers rather than British strategic interests.  The second contrasts that negativity with the selfless humanitarian efforts of many doctors and nurses from Britain, Ireland and Commonwealth countries. The third examines the political influences on major writers on the Spanish Civil War.

Born in Liverpool in 1946, Paul Preston is Professor of International History at the LSE.  He has devoted most of his career to teaching, researching and writing about 20th century European history.  He is best known for his books on the Spanish Civil War and Franco. 
 
Drawing substantially on new material, the ten biographies in Forged in Spain tell the stories of a handful of extraordinary men and women, explaining why they went to Spain, what happened to them there and the lasting, often dramatic impact the war had on their lives. While they survived the war, all were forever changed by their experiences. All of them were, in their different ways, forged in Spain.

Formerly Chair of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, Richard Baxell is a historian who has written extensively on the British volunteers and the Spanish Civil War. His Unlikely Warriors was short-listed for the 2013 political history book of the year.
 

6 June 2024

 

Energy policy is promoted by government and by Labour since its scrapping of its £28bn ‘green pledge’ as a choice between economic ‘growth’ (and jobs) and the environment.  The reality is that energy companies now rake in eye-watering profits while millions struggle to heat their homes or pay their bills in the ongoing cost of living crisis.  

Simon Coop is national officer for energy and utilities at Unite the union whose meticulous and detailed report ‘Unplugging energy profiteers’ makes an unanswerable case for public ownership of energy distribution networks, domestic power suppliers and the North Sea’s reserves of oil and gas, to bring an end to flagrant profiteering.  Simon will introduce the report, outline the policy options available and discuss how campaigns like Unite’s ‘Take the Power Back’ can put energy policy centre-stage.

Sean O'Neill is Secretary of the GMB's Glasgow Education branch.  Within his local Wyndford Residents Union -he campaigned to protect the community's pioneering heat and power system and the architecturally famous Wyndford Tower blocks.  Sean will examine the challenges and potential of local campaigning involving community organisations, stressing that ultimately only public ownership at national level can resolve the problem. 

The Unite report can be downloaded from or read online at www.unitetheunion.org/unpluggingenergyprofiteers 

 

15 May 2024

 

A panel discussion on why and how archivists & historians preserve the heritage of the Miners' Strike for the labour movement, accompanied by a display

Join us for the second part of our commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike!

This panel discussion will hear from archivists and historians on the importance in preserving the heritage of the Miners’ Strike for future generations of the Labour movement. Hear panellists discuss their role in maintaining stories of the Strike that would otherwise be hidden and what we can learn from them, how archivists have preserved records during and since the Strike, and the ongoing work to look after labour movement archives today.

There will also be a chance to see a display of some of the amazing material from the Miners' Strike held in our collections.

 

  • Liz Wood, Project Archivist at the Modern Records Centre

Liz Wood has worked as an archivist at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, since 2006. She is currently cataloguing the archives of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as part of 'Mining the Past', a three year grant-funded project (2023/6).

  • Keith Gildart, Professor of labour and social history, ex-miner

Keith Gildart is a Professor of Labour and Social History. After working as an underground coal miner for seven years he studied at the universities of Manchester and York. Keith is an expert in the historiography of the Strike and was instrumental in saving the NUM archive.

  • Matt Dunne, Archivist & Volunteer Coordinator at the Marx Memorial Library

Matt Dunne works with the archival collections at the Marx Memorial Library and is carrying out a 2 year cataloguing project on the library’s Printworkers Collection. He will discuss how the library reacted to the strike at the time, and some of the links of solidarity from the Miners’ Strike shown in our collections.

Discussion chaired by Meirian Jump, Director of the Marx Memorial Library

9 May 2024

A panel discussion exploring the role of the law, the state and communities in the 1984-5 Miners' Strike

  • Lord John Hendy KC on the role of the law and the state. 
  • Heather Wood on Women Against Pit Closures
  • Ann Field in the Chair

 

Lord John Hendy KC spent most of his years in practice at the Bar representing workers and trade unions. During the miners' strike of 1984-5, he appeared for the NUM and its Area unions in practically all of the civil litigation against the unions including the the injunctions, sequestration and receivership. It took over a year after the strike before the sequestrators and receivers were finally removed. He was Standing Counsel to the NUM (and 7 other UK unions) for many years. He is now a member of the House of Lords, appointed by Jeremy Corbyn, and an honorary professor in the Faculty of Law of University College, London. He is chair of the Institute of Employment Rights, president of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights and a vice-president of the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom.   

Heather Wood trained as a nurse and later entered the probation service. In 1983 she was was chair of Easington Constituency Labour Party when they formed Save Easington Area Mines, a group which she also chaired. In 1984-5 Heather set up 14 support groups in Easington District and a number beyond.

Ann Field was a national officer of Unite/GPMU and represented print and publishing workers from 1974 until 2009. She is joint creator of the Wapping exhibition and archive at MML. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 April 2024

MML 1933-2033: Looking Forward to Our Centenary • Katie McAndrews, Historic Building Consultant, Hutton & Rostron • Ruth Hayes, Councillor for Clerkenwell Ward and Marx Memorial Library trustee • Fran Heathcote, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services • Meirian Jump, Director of the Marx Memorial Library

 

Read about our centenary plans reported in the Morning Star here.