North West HISTORY journal
No 47, 2022 - 23
Forty one years ago, I waved goodbye to London and my job as a librarian with the London Borough of Lambeth to come back up North. I was joining the Grass Roots Books (GRB) collective. So, of course, I was delighted when former colleagues at GRB approached the North West Labour Society with an article on the history of the bookshop. The authors regard this as ongoing work, part of a larger study by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers to chart the story of the radical bookshop network. Those bookshops played a vital role in the dissemination of radical and alternative ideas, “empowering and inspiring people to make positive changes in the world” to paraphrase the aims of Liverpool’s News from Nowhere - still thriving after forty eight years.
Pat Bowker and Eddie Little have given dedicated service to this society and journal. In Eddie’s interview with Pat, she gives an insight into her political development with a very personal account of a local event which gained its speaker a degree of notoriety and, as an added bonus, provides us with a striking front cover.
As highlighted in previous issue of this journal, the economic imperative to produce vast quantities of cheap cotton generated great wealth for the few and misery for many. Chris Clayton highlights an aspect of the Cotton Famine of the 1860s whilst David Hargreaves explores further global ramifications in his account of the exploitation of Indian farmers. In the nineteenth century it was done by Empire but it continues today carried out by multi-national agribusinesses, often hiding behind billionaire funded charitable causes.
Perhaps all research is ongoing; certainly Roger Smalley and Barbara Hargreaves, daughter of Johnnie Duxbury, hope to find out more about this unassuming yet determined life long socialist. He’s just the sort of chap we want to celebrate /recognise in these pages and we’re ready to hear about your family’s quiet heroes and heroines.
As always, there are many people who contribute to the production of this journal; and my thanks go to all of them, members of the Editorial Board, Mike Carter for design, authors, advertisers, subscribers and, not least you, the readers.
Our society, the NWLHS, was formed in 1973 which means that next year, 2023, we will have reached our Golden Jubilee! In November, just a year from now, we’ll be marking the occasion with an exhibition at the Working Class Movement Library and a full day event in Manchester Central Library on the 11th November. Keep your eyes peeled for further details on the website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.