Homage to Tom Maguire *

  • E. P. Thompson


As the writing of labour history becomes more professionalised, so the centre of interest shifts from front-line engagements to the disputes and strategical plans of G.H.Q. In the Colindale Library, the Public Record Office, the national archives of trade unions, the Place or Webb Collections, the techniques proper to a constitutional or economic historian can be employed. The dubious reminiscences of local worthies can be disregarded (unless required for ‘colour’), the regional skirmishes can be dismissed with an irritable footnote, and the historian can get down in earnest to national minute-books, Congress proceedings, intrigues among the leadership, and underhand political agreements.


Trade Union Labour Union Textile Worker Labour Party Liberal Party 
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  1. * In collecting material for this essay I am indebted to Mrs. Florence Mattison (the widow of Alf Mattison), Miss Norah Turner (daughter of Sir Ben Turner), and Mr. A. T. Marles, first secretary of the Leeds Fabian Society, for help, information, and the loan of documents. Among other debts I must mention the kindness of the librarians or officials of the Brotherton Library, Leeds; the Bradford Trades Council; the Bradford Independent Labour Party; and the Colne Valley Labour Party.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan & Co Ltd 1960

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  • E. P. Thompson

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