The Who's Who of Radical Leicester









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Click on the letters on the right and scroll down until you find the person you want. Alternatively, use the search function.

What is this site about?

This site is about the many people who have been involved in the continuing struggle for social justice in the Leicester area. It provides a short biography of those individuals who tried, in some way, to improve the life of their fellow citizens. I hope that this site can remind us of their contribution and tell us something of the issues they faced and the obstacles they had to overcome.

Work in progress

There is no scientific test for inclusion in this Who's Who other than my judgement. I therefore take full responsibility for any omissions, accidental or otherwise.  I have not listed any living people and the length of an individual’s entry does not necessarily reflect their historical importance. In most cases, it just reflects the amount of information that has survived.  Some people have been left out simply because too little was recorded about them. I have only sought to chronicle that part of a person's life which was lived in or is relevant to the history of Leicester. The site gets updated when more information comes to light. Since the I began this site, death has inevitably provided more entries. These pages continue to be a work in progress. 

If you have more information, or would like to correct a mistake, please get in touch.  Any suggestions about people who could be included will be welcome. Not all my sources have been fully listed and I will try and update this in due course. If you have a photo or picture of someone, I would be pleased to have a copy. If you use material from this site, an acknowledgement would be appreciated.

About Leicester's Radical History

Leicester has a radical tradition that can be traced back to the end of the 18th century through Chartists, Abolitionists, Reformers, Owenites and Radicals. After 1850, this tradition was subsumed in the radical wing of Liberal Party. During the 1880-90s, new working class organisations emerged and the character of the 20th century Labour Movement took shape. By 1900, Leicester already had a pre-eminent place in British Labour history. The City’s radical inheritance meant that the local socialist, co-operative and Labour movements were more advanced than in many other towns. In the early 1900s, Leicester not only had a national trade union based in the City, but was also the national centre of co-operatively owned factories. Its retail co-operative society had grown from humble beginnings into a large enterprise that provided a market for the goods from the local co-op factories. There was a well established branch of the Independent Labour Party whose MP became leader of the Labour Party and eventually its first prime minister.

Those who fought against the Poor Law, the Means Test in the 1930s and who campaigned for woman’s suffrage or against racism in the 1970s or war in the 1980s may have belonged to different times, but they share common aims and motivation. The fights and campaigns that they waged, gained us universal suffrage, a welfare state and greater equality. In remembering these campaigners we can begin to understand something of our city’s history and commemorate the efforts of those who made history at the grass roots.

Ned Newitt

Abbreviations and Glossary

A.U.B.T.W. Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers, later U.C.A.T.T.
A.E.U. Amalgamated Engineering Union, later AUEW
C.A.W.U. Clerical and Administrative Union
Clicker  A boot & shoe trade worker who cut out the upper parts of the shoe from the     leather. Skill was needed for this work in order to gain maximum use of a skin and they were the elite of the trade. The term was derived from the fact the blade being drawn around the pattern made a clicking sound.
C.P. Communist Party of Great Britain
C.W.S. Co-operative Wholesale Society
E.T.U. Electrical Trades Union – later EEPTU
G.M.B.T.U. General Municipal & Boilermakers Trade Union later GMB
I.L.P. Independent Labour Party
I.M.G. International Marxist Group
I.R.S.C. Inter-Racial Solidarity Campaign
I.S. International Socialists – later Socialist Workers' Party
I.W.A.   Indian Workers’ Association
Laster A boot & shoe worker responsible for joining the soles and uppers together using a foot-shaped last to which a heel was then attached.
L.C.S.  Leicester Co-operative Society
L.E.M. Leicester Evening Mail
L.R.C. Labour Representation Committee
N.D.P. National Democratic Party
N.U.D.A.W. National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers
N.U.G.M.W. National Union of General and Municipal Workers – later GMB
N.U.B.S.O. National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, later NUFLAT
N.U.F.L.A.T. National Union of Footwear Leather and Allied trades later K.F.A.T. (National Union of Knitwear, Footwear and Apparel Trades)
N.U.H.K. National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers later K.F.A.T.
N.U.R. National Union of Railwaymen
N.U.W.M. National Unemployed Workers Movement
Riveter   A boot & shoe trade worker, usually responsible for attaching the sole.
S.D.F. Social Democratic Federation
S.D.P. Social Democratic Party
S.L.L.  Socialist Labour League later Workers Revolutionary Party
T.G.W.U. Transport and General Workers Union
T.S.S.A. Transport and Salaried Staff Association
U.C.A.T.T. Union of Construction & Allied Trades & Technicians
U.S.D.A.W. Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers
W.E.A.  Workers Educational Association

Women’s Suffrage and Political Union

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Ned Newitt Last revised: June 26, 2016.




















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