Left Review


The Left Review was first published in October 1934 from Collet’s Bookshop in Charing Cross Road London, the same address as the Writers’ International (British Section). The journal published a selection of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction. It was seen as providing a much needed left wing perspective and filled a gap in the market of literary magazines. It also incorporated regular reports and updates from the British Section of the Writers’ International. The journal was committed to the fight against Fascism and Imperialism and sought to expose so-called hidden forms of war against the peoples of India, Ireland, Africa and China. It published many British figures with connections to South Asians in Britain. The journal sought to foster the development in England of a literature of the struggle for socialism and to publish work that reflected working life in contemporary England.

On 13 April 1935 it held a conference of contributors at Conway Hall, London, to determine the future direction of the Left Review. The journal was committed to highlighting the propaganda potential of literature. Furthermore, it wanted to raise awareness that propaganda is also literature to show how it can be used best as a tool for educating the masses.

The journal reviewed Indian writers such as Mulk Raj Anand, Iqbal Singh and Jawaharlal Nehru. Anand also published several short stories and an essay on New Indian Literature in the journal. Other Indian writers soon followed. The journal also published on Nehru’s campaign for Indian liberties and short stories by Alagu Subramaniam (‘This time the fan’), Sarat Chandra Chatterjee (‘The Drought’, in a translation by Sasadhar Sinha) and Ahmed Ali (‘Mr. Shamsul Hasan’), as well as poetry by Fredoon Kabraji (‘The Patriots’).

The journal ceased publication in May 1938.


Slater, Montague ‘The Purpose of a Left Review’, Left Review 1.9 (June 1935), p. 365

Secondary works: 

Brooker, Peter & Thacker, Andrew (eds.), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines (Oxford: OUP, 2009)

Date began: 
01 Oct 1934

To whom are you appealing? It is the question that comes oftenest to LEFT REVIEW. To which section, to which stratum? In answer I would say that we are appealing to all who are looking for a vital expression of revolutionary work. If you want to get a notion of how men can change the world by understanding it and conquering their own past: come and look. If you want to see how men are changing themselves as part of the process of world change: read. If you want to take part in the creation of literature of the classless future, and help prepare the ground for the masterpieces in which the future will live before it has come true: write. It took many a score of writers to make a Cervantes. It is a more crowded world now. We shall need thousands.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Editors: Montague Slater (until 1936), Amabel Williams-Ellis (until 1936), T. H. Wintringham (until 1936), Edgell Rickword (from January 1936), Alick West, D. K. Kitchin (from March 1936), Derek Kahn (assistant editor from June 1936), Randall Swingler (July 1937 - May 1938).


Contributors include: Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, Bertold Brecht, Cedric Dover, Eric Gill, Robert Graves, Andre van Gyseghem, Langston Hughes, Freedon Kabraji, Derek Kahn, John Lehmann, Barbara Nixon, Charles Madge, Naomi Mitchison, Edwin Muir, Pablo Neruda, Harry Pollitt, J. B. Priestley, Herbert Read, Paul Robeson, Siegfried Sassoon, Pulin Behari Seal, George Bernard Shaw, Sasadhar Sinha, Osbert Sitwell, Stephen Spender, John Strachey, Alagu Subramaniam, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Stefan Zweig.

Date ended: 
01 May 1938
Books Reviewed Include: 

Anand, Mulk Raj, Coolie. Reviewed by Geoffrey West

Anand, Mulk Raj, Two Leaves in a Bud. Reviewed by Arthur Clader-Marshall

Anand, Mulk Raj, Untouchable. Reviewed by John Sommerfield

Beauchamp, Joan and Lawrence, Martin, British Imperialism in India. Reviewed by T. H. Wintringham

Kincaid, Dennis, Their Ways Divide. Reviewed by Edward Hodgkin

Nehru, Jawaharlal, An Autobiography. Reviewed by Montagu Slater

Nehru Jawaharlal, India and the World. Reviewed by Montagu Slater

Rao, Raja, Kanthapura. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand

Spender, Stephen, The Burning Cactus. Reviewed by Derek Khan

Palme Dutt, Rajani, World Politics 1918-1936. Reviewed by R. Bishop

Singh, Iqbal, Gautama Buddha. Reviewed by Robin Jardine


Collet's Bookshop
66 Charing Cross Road
London, WC2H 0EH
United Kingdom

Spanish Civil War

17 Jul 1936
End date: 
01 Apr 1939
Event location: 



The Spanish Civil War was an armed conflict that erupted after a conservative-backed military coup to depose Spain’s republican government failed to gain control over the whole country. A bloody three-year war ensued with the Nationalists supported by fascist states like Italy and Germany, and Republicans supported by the Soviet Union and the Left across Europe and the US. Around 40,000 volunteers fought in Spain as part of the International Brigades, which were largely controlled by the Comintern, among them George Orwell and Mulk Raj Anand. The Spanish Civil War ended with the disbanding and surrender of Republican armies at the end of March 1939. The conflict cost an estimated 500,000 - 1,000,000 lives. For Britain it marked a threat to the post-World War I international consensus which would lead to the outbreak of the Second World War.

The conflict’s political impact reverberated far beyond Spain. It was seen as an international conflict and part of a wider struggle between freedom and democracy versus tyranny, dictatorship and fascism. It became a conflict of different conceptualizations of civil society and a struggle for people’s rights to self-determination, democracy and world peace. In the context of India’s struggle for independence it became evident that its own fight for self-determination was linked to other international conflicts like the Spanish Civil War. Nehru and Krishna Menon in particular realized this.

The conflict mobilized many Indian citizens living in Britain. For example Indira Nehru spoke in support of Republican Spain at a gathering organized by Krishna Menon. The January 1938 India League independence day demonstration also highlighted the conflicts in China, Abyssinia and Spain. Along with banners of Nehru and Gandhi, flags of Republican Spain were visible. The India League in collaboration with the Communist Party of Great Britain and other organizations on the Left held meeting and protest marches in support of Republican Spain. Menon and Nehru visited Spain in summer 1938 and Nehru addressed a crowd of 5,000 in Trafalgar Square as part of a demonstration in Aid of Republican Spain on 17 July 1938, which marked the second anniversary of the start of hostilities. The India League also founded the Indian Committee for Food For Spain, with Feroze Gandhi as organizing secretary. Menon and Clemens Palme Dutt combined forces and engaged in fund-raising activities for an ambulance.

People involved: 

Mulk Raj Anand, Protool Chandra Bhandari, Reginald Bridgeman, Clemens Palme Dutt, Avigodr Michael Epstein, Feroze Gandhi, C. L. Katial, Harold Laski, Krishna Menon, Indira Nehru (Gandhi), Jawaharlal Nehru, George Orwell, Reginald Sorensen, Monica Whately, S. A. Wickremasinghe, Ellen Wilkinson.

Published works: 

Nehru, Jawaharlal, Spain! Why? (London: Indian Committee for Food For Spain, 1938)

Orwell, George, Homage to Catalonia (London: Secker & Waburg, 1938)

Orwell, George, Orwell in Spain (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2001)

Secondary works: 

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002)

Archive source: 

L/PJ/12/451, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

L/PJ/12/293, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

C. L. R. James


C. L. R. James was born in Caroni, Trinidad, to Robert Alexander James and Ida Elizabeth Rudder. The family moved to Tunapuna, where James' friend Malcolm Nurse (George Padmore) lived. After graduating from Queen’s Royal College he pursued a writing career, publishing the short story ‘La Divina Pastora’ in 1927. At a similar time, he befriended the cricketer Learie Constantine, who moved to England in 1929. On his arrival in England in early 1932 James stayed with Constantine in Nelson, Lancashire, before moving to London in 1933.

James' collection of essays written for the Port of Spain Gazette shortly after his arrival in Britain (published as Letters from London, 2003) indicate his position on the fringes of the Bloomsbury Group. In London, he was invited to join the Friends of India Society and to lecture on any subject connected with the West Indies at the Indian Students’ Central Association. James also attended several meetings of the India League. He began to read the work of Marx, Lenin, Engels and Trotsky and merged his interest in black politics with Marxist theory. He joined the League of Coloured Peoples, which also had a South Asian membership at this point, and wrote for their journal The Keys. He associated with other black anti-colonialists of the time, such as George Padmore, Amy Ashwood Garvey and Ras Makonnen. As a Trotskyist, James attracted the attention of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch. A 1937 Special Branch report shows that James was a regular visitor to Balkrishna Gupta, an Indian Trotskyist who was reportedly linked to Nehru. In 1938, James was living with Ajit Mookerjee (Ajit Roy), a Trotskyist law student at LSE and friend of Gupta, on Boundary Road, London. James and Mookerjee formed the Marxist Group in 1935 and later the Revolutionary Socialist League. In 1936, James' play Toussaint L’Ouverture was staged at the Westminster Theatre with Paul Robeson in the title role. James was also the cricket reporter for the Manchester Guardian from 1933 to 1935 and the Glasgow Herald in 1936. He was a fan of cricketer Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji and wrote about him both in his journalism and at length in his work Beyond a Boundary (1963).

In 1938, James left Britain for the United States where he stayed for the next fifteen years. In 1952, he was interned at Ellis Island for passport violations, and upon release in 1953 he went back to England before relocating to Trinidad in 1958. In 1962, he returned once again to England, settling in London for the majority of his remaining years. He died in his Brixton home on 31 May 1989.

Published works: 

(with Learie Nicholas Constantine) Cricket and I (London: Philip Allen, 1933)

The Life of Captain Cipriani: An Account of British Government in the West Indies (Nelson: Coulton & Co., Ltd, 1932)

The Case for West-Indian Self-Government (London: L. & V. Woolf, 1933)

Minty Alley: A Novel (London: M. Secker & Warburg, 1936)

World Revolution, 1917-1936: The Rise and Fall of the Communist International (London: M. Secker & Warburg, 1937)

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (London: Secker & Warburg, 1938)

A History of Negro Revolt (London, 1938)

Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In (New York: C. L. R. James, 1953)

Every Cook Can Govern: A Study of Democracy in Ancient Greece (Detroit: Correspondence Publishing, 1956)

Modern Politics (Port of Spain: printed by the P. N. M. Publishing Company, 1960)

Beyond a Boundary (London: Hutchinson, 1963)

Wilson Harris: A Philosophical Approach (Port-of-Spain: University of the West Indies, 1965)

C. L. R. James, etc. (Madison, Wisconsin, 1970)

(with F. Forest and Ria Stone) The Invading Socialist Society (Detroit: Bewick Editions, 1972)

(with Grace C. Lee, and Pierre Chaulieu) Facing Reality (Detroit: Bewick/Ed, [1958] 1974)

Toussaint L’Ouverture (1936). Published as The Black Jacobins in A Time and Season: 8 Caribbean Plays, ed. by Errol Hill (Trinidad: University of the West Indies Extra-Mural Unit, 1976)

The Future in the Present: Selected Writings (London: Allison & Busby, 1977)

Nkrumah and the Ghana Revolution (London: Allison & Busby, 1977)

(with George Breitman, Edgar Keemer and others) Fighting Racism in World War II (New York and London: Pathfinder, 1980)

Notes on Dialectics: Hegel, Marx, Lenin (London: Allison & Busby, 1980)

Spheres of Existence: Selected Writings (London: Allison & Busby, 1980)

At the Rendezvous of Victory: Selected Writings (London: Allison & Busby, 1984)

(with Margaret Busby and Darcus Howe) C. L. R. James’s 80th Birthday Lectures (London: Race Today, 1984)

(with Anna Grimshaw) Cricket (London: Allison & Busby, 1986)

(with Rana Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee) State Capitalism and World Revolution (Detroit: Facing Reality, 1969)

Walter Rodney and the Question of Power (London: Race Today, 1983)

(with Anna Grimshaw) The C. L. R. James Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992)

(with Anna Grimshaw and Keith Hart) American Civilization (Cambridge, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell, 1993)

(with Scott McLemee and Paul Le Blanc) C. L. R. James and Revolutionary Marxism: Selected Writings of C. L. R. James, 1939-1949 (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1994)

(with Scott McLemee) C. L. R. James on the 'Negro Question' (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996)

(with Anna Grimshaw) Special Delivery: The Letters of C. L. R. James to Constance Webb, 1939-1948 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996)

(with Martin Glaberman) Marxism for Our Times: C. L. R. James on Revolutionary Organization (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999)

Letters from London: Seven Essays by C. L. R. James (Port of Spain: Prospect Press, 2003; Oxford: Signal Books, 2003)

(with David Austin) You Don’t Play with Revolution: The Montreal Lectures of C. L. R. James (Edinburgh: AK, 2009)


Bornstein, Sam and Richardson, Al, Against the Stream: A History of the Trotskyist Movement in Britain, 1924-38 (London: Socialist Platform, 1986), p. 263

Date of birth: 
04 Jan 1901

Here, the authors quote Ajit Mookerjee Roy on James' political convictions and their personal relationship.

Contributions to periodicals: 

The Keys


I had rarely come across a finer political polemicist than C. L. R. James. His attacks on Stalinism were absolutely devastating. He was then thinking in terms of building an independent Trotskyist party. I joined him readily. There was no doubt in my mind that all we had to do was to start with a clean slate. We had the answer to all the problems, and that the few of us would grow in the course of time into a mighty party. Now when I think of my faith in those days, I feel very amused.

Secondary works: 

Bogues, Anthony, Black Nationalism and Socialism (London: Socialists Unlimited for Socialists Workers’ Party, 1979)

Bogues, Anthony, Caliban’s Freedom: The Early Political Thought of C. L. R. James (London: Pluto Press, 1997)

Bornstein, Sam and Richardson, Al, Against the Stream: A History of the Trotskyist Movement in Britain, 1924-38 (London: Socialist Platform, 1986)

Buhle, Paul, C. L. R. James: His Life and Work (London: Allison & Busby, 1986)

Buhle, Paul, C. L. R. James: The Artist as Revolutionary (London: Verso, 1988)

Cudjoe, Selwyn R. and Cain, William E., C. L. R. James: His Intellectual Legacies (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts, 1995)

Dhondy, Farrukh, C. L. R. James (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001)

Ervin, Charles Wesley, 'Trotskyism in India: Part One: Origins Through World War Two (1935-45)', Revolutionary History 1.4 (Winter 1988-9), pp. 22-34

Farred, Grant, What’s My Name?: Black Vernacular Intellectuals (Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2003)

Fryer, Peter, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (London: Pluto, 1984)

Grimshaw, Anna, The C. L. R. James Archive: A Reader's Guide (New York: C. L. R. James Institute and Cultural Correspondence, 1991)

Henry, Paget and Buhle, Paul, C. L. R. James's Caribbean (Durham: Duke University Press, 1992)

Howe, Stephen, 'James, Cyril Lionel Robert (1901-1989)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Innes, C. L., A History of Black and Asian Writing in Britain, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

King, Nicole, C. L. R. James and Creolization: Circles of Influence (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2001)

McClendon, John H., C. L. R. James's Notes in Dialectics: Left Hegelianism or Marxism-Leninism? (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2005)

Needham, Anuradha Dingwaney, Using the Master's Tools: Resistance and the Literature of the South Asian Diasporas (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000)

Nielsen, Aldon Lynn, C. L. R. James: A Critical Introduction (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1997)

Nordquist, Joan, C. L. R. James: A Bibliography (Santa Cruz, CA: Reference and Research Services, 2001)

Ordaz, Martin, Home-Coming of a Famous Exile: C. L. R. James in Trinidad & Tobago (Trinidad & Tobago: Opus, 2003)

Ragoonath, Bishnu, Tribute to a Scholar: 'Appreciating C. L. R. James' (Kingston: Consortium Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies, 1990)

Ramdin, Ron, The Making of the Black Working Class in Britain (Aldershot: Gower, 1987)

Renton, Dave, C. L. R. James: Cricket's Philosopher King (London: Has, 2007)

Rosengarten, Frank, Urbane Revolutionary: C. L. R. James and the Struggle for a New Society (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008)

Samoiloff, Louise Cripps, C. L. R. James: Memories and Commentaries (New York and London: Cornwall Books, 1997)

Somerville, Erin D., 'James, C. L. R. (1901-1989)', in The Oxford Companion to Black British History, ed. by David Dabydeen, John Gilmore and Cecily Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 232-4

Sancho, T. Anson, CLR: The Man and His Work (1976)

Scott, David, Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004)

Stephens, Michelle Ann, Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary of Caribbean Intellectuals in the United States, 1914-1962 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005)

Worcester, Kent, C. L. R. James: A Political Biography (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996)

Young, James, The World of C. L. R. James: The Unfragmented Vision (Glasgow: Clydeside Press, 1999)


This excerpt highlights the friendship between James and Ajit Mookerjee Roy. It is suggestive of the way in which left-wing anti-colonal political convictions linked members of different minority groups in Britain across cultural and 'racial' boundaries.

Archive source: 

'Cyril Lionel Robert James', Metropolitan Police Special Branch file, KV 2/1824, National Archives, Kew

Correspondence and papers, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London

'C. L. R. James talks to Stuart Hall', Miras Productions, 30 April 1988, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

'A Tribute to C. L. R. James, 1901-1989', Banding Productions, 21 June 1989, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Current footage affairs, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Documentary footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Documentary recording, National Sound Archive, British Library, London

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Cyril Lionel Robert James

Date of death: 
31 May 1989
Location of death: 
Brixton, London
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
18 Mar 1932
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

March 1932 - October 1938, 1953-8, 1962-89


Boundary Road, London

Paul Robeson


Paul Leroy Robeson was born in 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey, to  William Drew Robeson and Maria Louisa Bustill. In 1915 he enrolled at Rutgers College, New Jersey, and in 1920 he entered Columbia University Law School. In 1922 he married his life-long partner Eslanda 'Essie' Cardozo Goode, and the following year he graduated from Columbia. Robeson launched his acting career in 1920 - a career that brought him to London in 1922, and again in 1925 to star in the Eugene O'Neill Play, The Emperor Jones.

Robeson returned to London in April 1928 and spring 1930 to act in Show Boat and Othello, respectively. After a visit to Moscow in 1934, his political views became increasingly influenced by socialist and Communist ideals. He also started associating with key African figures such as Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah. In 1934, he acted in Alexander Korda's Sanders of the River, a performance he later repudiated as glorifying British imperialism. His repudiation of British imperialism and growing support of the working class was applauded by Stafford Cripps, the leading Labour politician. There is also evidence that Robeson attended a League of Coloured Peoples meeting, led by Harold Moody, in 1934 (Duberman, p. 624, n. 38).

In the mid-1930s, Robeson met Cedric Dover who broadcast on Robeson for BBC Radio to India. The talk is published in George Orwell's collection Talking to India (1943). In Half-Caste (1937), Dover lauded Robeson: 'To know him, to feel his charm and unusually wide culture, is a privilege; to hear him sing at a packed Albert Hall recital is a spiritual experience' (p. 226). In the late 1930s, Robeson met Krishna Menon, Secretary of the India League. Menon enlisted Robeson's support in the struggle for Indian independence. In January 1938, Robeson visited Spain to support the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. In June of that year, Robeson acted in Plant in the Sun. In the audience were Jawaharlal Nehru, his sister Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and Krishna Menon who had just come back to London after touring Spain; the four of them became friends, and Robeson and Nehru met on several other occasions. On 27 June 1938, at the India League meeting in Kingsway Hall, Nehru and Robeson spoke on internationalism and the need for unified action against Fascism. Among the other speakers were Stafford Cripps, Harold Laski, Ellen Wilkinson and Rajani Palme Dutt.

Robeson's left-leaning politics were put to the test at the outbreak of the Second World War and the Nazi-Soviet agreement. He had discussed his views on the Soviet Union with other English socialists such as Harold Laski and George Bernard Shaw. Now in the United States, Robeson continued his socialist agitations and with the onset of the Cold War he was under surveillance, his passport was revoked and he was called before the Un-American Activities Committee. When his passport was returned in 1958, he immediately travelled to Europe again. In the 1960s, he went into semi-retirement and he died of a stroke on 23 January 1976 in Philadelphia.

Published works: 

Forge Negro-Labor Unity for Peace and Jobs (New York: Harlem Trade Union Council, 1950)

The Negro People and the Soviet Union (New York: New Century Publishers, 1950)

Here I Stand (London: Dennis Dobson, 1958)

Paul Robeson Speaks: Writings, Speeches, Interviews, 1918-1974 (London: Quartet Books, 1978)

Date of birth: 
09 Apr 1898
Contributions to periodicals: 

Daily Worker

Secondary works: 

Adi, Hakim, 'Robeson, Paul Leroy (1898-1976)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Balaji, Murali, The Professor and the Pupil: The Politics of W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson (New York: Nation Books, 2007)

Boyle, Sheila Tully, and Bunie, Andrew, Paul Robeson: The Years of Promise and Acheivement (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001)

Brown, Lloyd L., Lift Every Voice for Paul Robeson (New York: Freedom Associates, 1951)

Brown, Lloyd L., Paul Robeson Rediscovered (New York: American Institute for Marxist Studies, 1976)

Brown, Lloyd L., The Young Paul Robeson: On My Journey Now (Boulder and Oxford: Westview Press, 1997)

Chambers, Colin, Here We Stand: Politics, Performers and Performance: Paul Robeson, Isadora Duncon and Charlie Chaplin (London: Nick Hern, 2006)

David, Lenwood D., A Paul Robeson Research Guide: A Selected Annotated Bibliography (Westport, CT, and London: Greenwood Press, 1982)

Dorinson, Joseph, and Pencak, William, Paul Robeson: Essays on His Life and Legacy (Jefferson, NC, and London: McFarland, 2002)

Dover, Cedric, 'Paul Robeson', in George Orwell (ed.), Talking to India (London: Allen & Unwin, 1943), pp. 17-21

Dover, Cedric, Half-Caste (London: Martin Secker & Warburg, 1937)

Duberman, Martin B., Paul Robeson (London: Bodley Head, 1989)

Dyer, Richard, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1986)

Fryer, Peter, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (London: Pluto, 1984)

Gerlach, L. R., 'Robeson, Paul', in J. A. Garraty and M. C. Carnes (eds) American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 629-31

Gilliam, Dorothy Butler, Paul Robeson: All-American (Washington: New Republic, 1976)

Graham, Shirley, Paul Robeson: Citizen of the World (Westport, CT: Negro Universities Press, 1971)

Hamilton, Virginia, Paul Robeson: The Life and Times of a Free Black Man (New York: Harper & Row, 1974)

Horne, Gerald, The End of Empires; African Americans and India (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008; Chesham: Combined Academic, 2008)

Hoyt, Edwin P., Paul Robeson: The American Othello (World Publishing, 1967)

Kwayana, Eusi, Paul Robeson, 9 March 1898 - 23 January 1976: Tributes (London: Paul Robeson Society, 1990)

McKissack, Patricia, Paul Robeson: A Voice to Remember (Hillside, NJ, and Aldershot: Enslow, 1992)

Nazel, Joseph, Paul Robeson: Biography of a Proud Man (Los Angeles: Holloway House, 1980)

Paul Robeson: The Great Forerunner (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1978)

Ramdin, Ron, Paul Robeson: The Man and His Mission (London: Owen, 1987)

Robeson, Eslanda Goode, Paul Robeson: Negro (London: Victor Gollancz, 1930)

Robeson, Paul, Jr, The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist's Journey, 1898-1939 (New York and Chichester: Wiley, 2001)

Robeson, Susan, The Whole World in His Hands: A Pictorial History of Paul Robeson (Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1981)

Seton, Marie, Paul Robeson (London: Dennis Dobson, 1958)

Stewart, Jeffrey C., Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen (New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Rutgers University Press, 1998)

Stuart, Marie, Paul Robeson (Bristol: West Bristol Adult Education Centre, 1993)

Thompson, Allan L., Paul Robeson: Artist and Activist: On Records, Radio and Television (Wellingborough: A. L. Thompson, 1998)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002)

Von Eschen, Penny M., Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1997)

Wright, Charles H., Robeson: Labor's Forgotten Champion (Detroit: Balamp Publishing, 1975)

Archive source: 

Robeson Family Archives, Moorland-Spingarn Research Centre, Howard University, Washington, DC

New York Public Library

Archive, Berlin, Germany

'Paul Robeson', BBC, 26 November 1978, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Black on Black, LWT, 23 April 1985, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

'Songs of Freedom: Paul Robeson and the Black American Struggle', Mirus Productions, 3 June 1986, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

'Speak of Me as I Am', 7 June 1998, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

'Paul Robeson: Here I stand', WNET, 1999, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Advertising film footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Current affairs footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Documentary footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

News footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Performance footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Performance recordings, National Sound Archive, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
United States of America
Other names: 

Paul Leroy Robeson

Date of death: 
23 Jan 1976
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1922
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1922, 1925, April 1928 - 29, 1930-9 (mostly in England and continental Europe)


12 Glebe Place, Chelsea, London

Carlton Hill, St John's Wood, London

Jomo Kenyatta


Jomo Kenyatta was born in Ngenda around 1895. After moving to Nairobi, he became involved in the political and cultural life. He became general secretary of the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA) in 1928. In March 1929 he travelled to Britain on behalf of the KCA with Isher Dass, an Indian lawyer living in Nairobi. He had hoped to meet the imperial authorities but only briefly met senior officials at the Colonial Office. However, he established contacts with other anti-colonial activists in London and the Communist Party like George Padmore and Shapurji Saklatvala.

Kenyatta returned to Africa in 1930 but was back in Britain in 1931. He stayed almost continuously until 1946, with the exception of a few trips to Europe. During this period he was admitted to the London School of Economics to study anthropology under Professor Malinowski. Here, he wrote a number of articles that were later published as Facing Mount Kenya (1938). During this time, he also met a small group of black activists and campaigners, including C. L. R. James, Kwame Nkrumah, Peter Abrahams, Eric Williams and Paul Robeson. He also associated with the India League and the League of Coloured Peoples and met Gandhi when he visited London in November 1931. Throughout the 1930s, Kenyatta attended India League meetings and would have come into contact with Krishna Menon. In September 1939, Makhan Singh, the General Secretary of the Labour Trade Union of East Africa, asked Kenyatta and Krishna Menon to represent his organization at a conference planned for the end of September in Brussels. However, because of the outbreak of the Second World War, the conference never took place.

Through his involvement in the Pan-African Federation, Kenyatta would possibly have met Jawaharlal Nehru. Kenyatta knew N. G. Ranga from early on. In 1945, Kenyatta attended the fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester along with Amy Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Ras Makonnen, Surat Alley, and George Padmore among others. He participated in Fabian Society conferences on post-war colonial affairs. Kenyatta returned to Kenya in September 1946 where he assumed leadership of the Kenya African Union. After the Mau Mau uprising in 1952, he was arrested in 1953 and spent the next seven years in prison. In 1962, he returned to London to negotiate the terms of a Kenyan constitution on behalf of the Kenya African National Union before being elected prime minister in June 1963. Kenya became independent in December 1963 and Kenyatta became president the next year. He ruled Kenya until his death on 22 August 1978.

Published works: 

'Kenya', in Nancy Cunard (ed.) Negro: An Anthology (London: Wishart, 1934), pp. 803-7

'Kikuyu Religion, Ancestor-Worship, and Sacrificial Practices', Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 19.3 (1937), pp. 308-28

Facing Mount Kenya: The Tribal Life of the Gikuyu (London: Secker & Warburg, 1938)

My People of Kikuyu, and the Life of Chief Wangombe (London: United Society for Christian Literature, 1942)

Kenya: The Land of Conflict (Manchester: Panaf Service, 1945)

Harambee! The Prime Minister of Kenya's Speeches, 1963-1964 ... The Text Edited and Arranged by Anthony Cullen, etc [With Portraits] (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1964)

Suffering withour Bitterness: The Founding of the Kenya Nation (Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1968)

The Challenge of Uhuru: The Progress of Kenya 1968 to 1970: Selected and Prefaced Extracts from the Pubic Speeches of His Excellency Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya (Nairobi: East African Publishing House; Birmingham: Third World Publications, 1971)

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1895

Peter Abrahams, Ralph Bunche, Isher Dass (travel companion on Kenyatta's first trip to London), Fenner Brockway, N. G. Ranga, M. K. Gandhi (through the League of Coloured Peoples), C. L. R. James, Alexander Korda (extra in Korda's Sanders of the River),Kingsley Martin, Harold Moody, Kwame Nkrumah, Paul Robeson, George Padmore, Shapurji Saklatvala, Eric Williams.

Contributions to periodicals: 

'Give Back Our Land', Sunday Worker 242 (27 October 1929), p. 3

'An African People Rise in Revolt', Daily Worker 17 (20 January 1930), p. 4

'A General Strike Drowned in Blood', Daily Worker 18 (21 January 1930), p. 10

'Unrest in Kenya', Manchester Guardian (18 March 1930), p. 6

The Times (26 March 1930), p. 12

'The Gold Rush in Kenya', Labour Monthly 15 (1933), pp. 691-5

'Hands off Abyssinia!', Labour Monthly 17 (1935)

Labour Monthly

New Statesman and Nation (27 June 1936)


Precise DOB unknown: 

Barlow, A. R., Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 12.1 (1939), pp. 114-16 (Facing Mount Kenya)

Cullen, Young, Journal of the Royal African Society 37 (1938), pp. 522-3 (Facing Mount Kenya)

Secondary works: 

Adi, Hakim, and Sherwood, Marika, The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited (London: New Beacon Books, 1995)

Amin, Mohamed, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta: A Photobiography (Nairobi: Marketing & Publishing, 1978)

Archer, Jules, African Firebrand: Kenyatta of Kenya (New York: J. Messner, 1969)

Arnold, Guy, Kenyatta and the Politics of Kenya (London: Dent, 1974)

Assensoh, A. B., African Political Leadership: Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julias K. Nyerere (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publications, 1998)

Beck, Ann, 'Some Observations on Jomo Kenyatta in Britain, 1929-1930', Cahiers d'Études Africaines 6 (1966), pp. 308-29.

Bennett, George, Kenya: A Political History: The Colonial Period (London: Oxford University Press, 1963)

Berman, Bruce, Control and Crisis in Colonial Kenya: The Dialectic of Domination (London: James Currey, 1990)

Berman, Bruce J., 'Kenyatta, Jomo (c. 1895-1978)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Berman, Bruce, and Lonsdale, John, Unhappy Valley: Conflict in Kenya and Africa (London: Currey, 1992)

Chege, Michael, 'Africans of European Descent', Transition 73 (1997), pp. 74-86.

Cuthbert, Valerie, Jomo Kenyatta: The Burning Spear (Harlow: Longman, 1982)

Delf, George, Jomo Kenyatta: Towards Truth About 'The Light of Kenya' (London: Victor Gollancz, 1961)

Friedmann, Julian, Jomo Kenyatta (London: Wayland, 1975)

Fryer, Peter, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (London: Pluto, 1984)

Good, Kenneth, 'Kenyatta and the Organization of KANU', Canadian Journal of African Studies/Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines 2.2 (1968), pp. 115-36.

Howarth, Anthony, Kenyatta: A Photographic Biography (Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1967)

Knauss, Peter, 'From Devil to Father Figure: The Transformation of Jomo Kenyatta by Kenya Whites', Journal of Modern African Studies 9.1 (1971), pp. 131-7.

Makonnen, Ras, and King, Kenneth, Pan-Africanism from Within (Nairobi; London: Oxford University Press, 1973)

Malhotra, Veena, Kenya under Kenyatta (Delhi: Kalinga Publications, 1990)

McClellan, Woodford, 'Africans and Black Americans in the Comintern Schools, 1925-1934', International Journal of African Historical Studies 26 (1993), pp. 371-90

Murray-Brown, Jeremy, Kenyatta (London: Allen and Unwin, 1972)

Ng'weno, Hilary, The Day Kenyatta Died (Nairobi: Longman Kenya, 1978)

Pegushev, A., 'The Unknown Jomo Kenyatta', Edgerton Journal 1/2 (1996), pp. 173-98

Savage, D., 'Jomo Kenyatta, Malcolm Macdonald and the Colonial Office, 1938-9', Canadian Journal of African Studies 3 (1970), pp. 315-32

Slater, Montagu, The Trial of Jomo Kenyatta (London: Secker & Warburg, 1955)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)

Wepman, Dennis, Jomo Kenyatta (New York: Chelsea House, 1985)

Archive source: 

PRO CO 533/384/9, fols. 86-7, Scotland Yard report, 18 June 1929, National Archives, Kew, UK

PRO CO 533/501/11, Scotland Yard report, National Archives, Kew, UK

Documentary footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

News footage in the National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Documentary footage, Film and Video Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

News footage, Film and Video Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

Oral history interview, Sound Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
British East Africa
Current name country of birth: 
Other names: 

Kamau wa Ngengi, Johnstone Kamau, Johnstone Kenyatta

Date of death: 
22 Aug 1978
Location of death: 
Mombasa, Kenya
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
08 Mar 1929
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

8 March 1929 - September 1930; 22 May 1931 - 5 September 1946


57 Castletown Road, London W14 (Boarded with Ladipo Solanke, leader of the West African Students' Union)

23 Cambridge Street, London

95 Cambridge Street, London

Quaker Woodbrook College, Selly Oak, Birmingham

University College, London

London School of Economics, London

Storington, Sussex

George Padmore


Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse, know as George Padmore, was born into an emerging black middle-class family in Trinidad in 1902. In 1924 he married Julia Semper and left for further education in the United States later that year. At first he studied at Fisk University, then moved on to New York University and later to Howard University, Washington, DC, in 1927. There he joined the Communist Party and adopted the name George Padmore.

In 1929, Padmore travelled to Moscow where he helped to organize the first International Conference of Negro Workers (1930). After Moscow, he briefly went to Vienna, Austria, where he met Rajani Palme Dutt. From 1931, he was based in Hamburg, Germany, where he edited the Negro Worker. He briefly visited London in 1932. In 1934, he asked W. E. B. Du Bois for help with organizing unity among people of African descent. After a fall-out with the Comintern, he re-located to London in 1935, where he became involved with, but never a member of, the Independent Labour Party, collaborating with Fenner Brockway and Reginald Reynolds. In 1935, he also became close friends with T. Subasinghe, who would later become ambassador of Ceylon in Russia. Padmore conducted political study classes for some colonial students, including Subasinghe. According to Subasinghe, Padmore went through a difficult time from 1935 to 1945.

In 1936, Padmore met K. D. Kumria, founder of the Swaraj House in Percy Street, at an Indian National Congress rally, and through Kumria came in contact with many members of the Indian National Congress in London. The ties between the two led to Swaraj House often becoming a venue for protest meetings of African groups. Padmore also became a close friend of Krishna Menon, who did not get along with Kumria.  At a meeting held at Swaraj House in 1944 to celebrate Nehru's 55th birthday, Padmore gave a speech in praise of Nehru's international outlook. In a letter to the editor of Socialist Leader, 28 February 1948, Padmore, Douglas Rogers of the British Centre for Colonial Freedom and Kundan Lal Jalie of Swaraj House announced that Swaraj House would henceforth be a general anti-colonial meeting place open to all groups. Apparently, Padmore held Indian national leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose in high regard but because of his Marxist leanings he also pointed out the limitations of the leaders because of their bourgeois background.

In 1937, Padmore founded the International African Service Bureau and in late 1944, Padmore and others formed the Pan-African Federation, which was responsible for organizing the Pan-African Conference in October 1945 in Manchester. The Conference was attended by Padmore, Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah and South Asians such as Surat Alley, N. Gangulee and T. Subasinghe. In 1946, Padmore and other well-known Pan-Africanists, such as Jomo Kenyatta and W. E. B. Du Bois, joined Krishna Menon's protest against the use of colonial troops in Indo-China and Burma.

In 1957, he published Pan-Africanism or Communism?, in which he expressed  gratitude to those who had supported his cause against racism and colonialism. Among them were Leonard Woolf and Shapurji Saklatvala, about whom he said: 'He was the one Indian who had no time for opportunistic trimmers and sycophants. The most independent-minded Communist ever. A Titoist before Tito!' (328). The same year, he moved to the newly independent Ghana where he became Kwame Nkrumah's personal adviser on African affairs. In Ghana, his health declined and in September 1959, on a medical visit to London, he died at University College Hospital in London.

Published works: 

The Life and Struggles of Negro Toilers (London, 1931)

'Ethiopia Today', 612-8; 'Pass Laws in South Africa', 807-9; 'How Britain Governs the Blacks', 809-13; 'White Man's Justice in Africa', 813-7, in Negro: Anthology Made by Nancy Cunard, 1931-1933, ed. by Nancy Cunard (London: Nancy Cunard, 1934)

How Britain Rules Africa (London: Wishart Books, 1936)

African and World Peace (London: Secker and Warburg, 1937)

White Man's Duty (London: W. H. Allen, 1942) (with Nancy Cunard)

(ed.), International African Service Bureau Publications (London, 1945)

(ed.), The Voice of Coloured People (Manchester: Panaf Service, 1945)

How Russia Transformed Her Colonial Empire: A Challenge to the Imperialist Powers (London: Dennis Dobson, 1946)

Colonial and Coloured Unity: History of the Pan-African Congress (Manchester: Pan-African Federation, 1947)

Africa: Britain's Third Empire (London: Dennis Dobson, 1949)

The Gold Coast Revolution: The Struggle of an African People from Slavery to Freedom (London: Dennis Dobson, 1953)

Pan-Africanism or Communism?: The Coming Struggle for Africa (London: Dennis Dobson, 1956)

Date of birth: 
28 Jul 1902

Surat Alley, Fenner Brockway (Independent Labour Party), Stafford Cripps (wrote the foreword to Padmore's Africa and World Peace (1937)), Cedric Dover, W. E. B. Du Bois, Rajani Palme Dutt, C. L. R. James, I. T. A. Wallace Johnson, Jomo Kenyatta, T. Subasinghe (helped organize the Pan-African Congress, Manchester, 1945), Krishna Menon, Harold Moody (League of Coloured Peoples), Reginald Reynolds, Shapurji Saklatvala.

Secondary works: 

Adi, Hakim, and Sherwood, Marika, The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited (London: New Beacon Books, 1995)

Callaghan, John, Rajani Palme Dutt: A Study in British Stalinism (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1993)

Fryer, Peter, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain (London: Pluto, 1984)

Geiss, Imanuel, The Pan-African Movement (London: Methuen, 1974)

Grimshaw, Anna, The C. L. R. James Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992)

Hooker, James Ralph, Black Revolutionary: George Padmore's Path from Communism to Pan-Africanism (London: Pall Mall Press, 1967)

Howe, Stephen, 'Nurse, Malcolm Ivan Meredith [George Padmore] (1902-1959)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) []

James, C. L. R., 'George Padmore: Black Marxist Revolutionary', in C. L. R. James (ed.) At the Rendezvous of Victory: Selected Writings (London: Allison and Busby, 1984)

La Guerre, John, The Social and Political Thought of the Colonial Intelligentsia (Mona: Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the West Indies, 1982)

Langley, Jabez Ayodele, Pan-Africanism and Nationalism in West Africa, 1900-1945: A Study in Ideology and Social Classes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973)

Lewis, Rupert, and Baptiste, Fitzroy, George Padmore: Pan-African Revolutionary (Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers, 2008)

Pennybacker, Susan D., From Scottsboro to Munich: Race and Political Culture in 1930s Britain (Princeton; Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2009)

Ramdin, Ron, The Making of the Black Working Class in Britain (Aldershot: Gower, 1987)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002)

Archive source: 

L/PJ/12/658, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 

Pan-African Congress, Manchester, 1945

City of birth: 
Arouca district
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse

Date of death: 
23 Sep 1959
Location of death: 
University College Hospital, London
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1932
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1932, 1935-57


Vauxhall Bridge Road, London

Guildford Street, London

22 Cranleigh Street, London, NW1

Tags for Making Britain: 

M. Kumaramangalam


Mohan Kumaramangalam was born in London in 1916 to Paramasiva and Radhabhai Subbarayan. He studied at Eton and then at King's College, Cambridge University. He became President of the Cambridge Majlis in Lent 1937 and President of the Cambridge Union in Michaelmas 1938. He was also a member of the Federation of Indian Students' Societies and an active socialist. He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple and went to India in 1939.

Mohan Kumaramangalam was a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) until 1966 when he joined the Indian National Congress.

Published works: 

Indians Fight for Equality in South Africa (Bombay; People's Publishing House, 1946)

India's Language Crisis (Madras: New Century Book House, 1965)

Democracy and Cult of Individual (New Delhi: National Book Club, 1966)

Constitutional Amendments (New Delhi: All India Congress Committee, 1971)

Coal Industry in India (New Delhi: Oxford & IBH Pub. Co., 1973)

Communists in Congress (New Delhi: D. K. Publishing House, 1973)

Judicial Appointments (New Delhi: Oxford & IBH Pub. Co, 1973)

Steel Holding Company (New Delhi: Mainstream, 1973)

Date of birth: 
01 Nov 1916

Indira Gandhi (served in her cabinet), M. K. Gandhi, Khushwant Singh.

Cambridge Union

Secondary works: 

Haksar, P. N., Premonitions (Bombay: Interpress, 1979)

Kiernan, V. G., 'Mohan Kumaramangalam in England', Socialist India, 23 February 1974

Archive source: 

Cambridge Majlis minute book, Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge

L/PJ/12/4, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Mohan Kumaramangalam

Surendra Mohan Kumaramangalam


King's College Cambridge, CB2 1ST
United Kingdom
52° 12' 15.588" N, 0° 7' 2.064" E
Eton College SL4 6DW
United Kingdom
51° 28' 59.628" N, 0° 36' 20.6352" W
Date of death: 
30 May 1973
Location of death: 
Tags for Making Britain: 

Rajani Palme Dutt


Rajani Palme Dutt was born at Cambridge to Upendra Krishna Dutt and Anna Palme. Dutt's family household was a meeting place for visiting Indian nationalist leaders and leading figures in the British labour movement. Educated at the Perse School, Cambridge (1907) and Balliol College, Oxford. He immediately joined the Independent Labour Party on his arrival at Oxford, opposed the war as a conflict of rival imperialisms, and was imprisoned in 1916 for refusing the draft.

Dutt was a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1920 and was editor of Labour Monthly, which was prefaced by Dutt's 'Notes of the Month'.From 1923, he edited Workers' Weekly.

He was a staunch supporter of Leninism and Stalinism and saw the British state as having fascist tendencies, evidenced by the British empire. After the Second World War, Dutt continued working for the CPGB. He died in Highgate, London, on 20 December 1974.

Published works: 

Communism (Bombay: Hindusthan, 192-)

The Two Internationals (London: Labour Research Department; Allen & Unwin, 1920)

The Labour International Handbook (London: Labour Publishing Co.; Allen & Unwin, 1921)

Empire "Socialism" (London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1925)

Modern India (Bombay: Sunshine Publishing House, 1926)

Socialism and the Living Wage (London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1927)

The Election and the Coming War (London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1929)

Capitalism or Socialism in Britain? (London, 1931)

Fight for the Workers' Charter (London: Minority Movement, 1931)

Crisis: Tariffs: War (London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1932)

Lenin (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1933)

Fascism and Social Revolution (London: Martin Lawrence, 1934)

Life and Teachings of V. I. Lenin (New York: International Publishers, 1934)

(with Ben Bradley) Indian Politics: Anti-Imperialist People's Front: Towards Trade Union Unity (London: Ben Bradley, 1936)

World Politics, 1918-1936 (London: Victor Gollancz, 1936)

The Political and Social Doctrine of Communism (London: Hogarth Press, 1938)

Why This War? (London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1939)

India Today (London: Victor Gollancz, 1940)

The New Order in Britain (London: Labour Monthly War Pamphlet, 1941)

(with Ivor Goldsmid Samuel Montagu) Ruby Star (London: Labour Monthly, 1941)

25 Years [On the U.S.S.R., 1917-1942] (London: Labour Monthly, 1942)

Britain in the World Front (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1942)

A Guide to the Problem of India (London: Victor Gollancz, 1942)

India: What Must be Done (London: Labour Monthly, 1942)

The Problem of India (Toronto: Progress Books, 1943)

The Road to Labour Unity (London: Labour Monthly, 1943)

Freedom for India (London: The Communist Party, 1946)

R. P. Dutt in India: Souvenir of His Travels (London: London District Committee Communist Party, 1946)

How to Save Peace (London: Communist Party, 1948)

Britain's Crisis of Empire (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1949)

Empire War Plans (London: Trinity Trust, 1949)

Whither India?  (London: Trinity Trust, 1949)

(with Ernest Bevin) Mr. Bevin's Record (London: Trinity Trust, 1950)

(with George Bernard Shaw) George Bernard Shaw: A Memoir by R. P. Dutt, and 'The Dictatorship of the Proletariat', the Famous 1921 Article by George Bernard Shaw (London: Labour Monthly, 1951)

The Crisis of Britain and the British Empire (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1953)

Stand by Congo (London: Communist Party, 1960)

Problems of Contemporary History: Lectures Delivered on the Occasion of the Award of an Honorary Doctorate of History at Moscow University in April and May, 1962 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1963)

Pamphlets on Political Questions (1919-64)

The Internationale (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1964)

India in Travail (London: Labour Monthly, 1967)

Date of birth: 
19 Jun 1896
Contributions to periodicals: 

Labour Monthly

Worker's Weekly

Secondary works: 

Brockway, Fenner, Inside the Left: Thirty Years of Platform, Press, Prison and Parliament (London: Allen & Unwin, 1942)

Callaghan, John, Rajani Palme Dutt: A Study in British Stalinism (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1993)

Callaghan, John, 'Dutt, (Rajani) Palme (1896–1974)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

King, Francis, and George Matthews, About-Turn: The British Communist Party and the Second World War (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1990)

Morgan, Kevin, Harry Pollitt: Lives of the Left (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993)

Archive source: 

Memoranda, out-letters, reports, TS articles, etc., CUP 1262 K1–K6, British Library, St Pancras

Correspondence and papers incl. logbooks of notes, etc.,  JRL, Labour History Archive and Study Centre

Working Class History Library, Salford

Correspondence with Harry Pollitt, JRL, Labour History Archive and Study Centre

Correspondence with John Strachey, private collection

Correspondence with R. Page Arnot, Brynmor Jones Library, University of Hull

Correspondence with Victor Gollancz, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick

Oral history interview, Imperial War Museum, Sound Archive, London

Archives of the CPGB, Labour History Archive, University of Central Lancashire

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 


The Perse School
Hills Road
Cambridge, CB2 8QF
United Kingdom
52° 10' 50.9988" N, 0° 8' 18.9996" E
Balliol College
Broad Street
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom
51° 45' 16.3368" N, 1° 15' 18.3276" W
Highgate N6 5JF
United Kingdom
51° 34' 36.0984" N, 0° 9' 26.9784" W
Date of death: 
20 Dec 1974
Location of death: 
Highgate, London
Tags for Making Britain: 

Lawrence & Wishart


Lawrence & Wishart is a London-based publishing company. It was formed in 1936 through the merger of the Communist Party’s official publisher, Martin Lawrence, and the liberal and anti-fascist family-owned publisher Wishart. From its foundation, it specialized in publishing left-wing political fiction, drama and poetry, as well as non-fiction such as working-class histories and the works of Karl Marx, in the context of the economic depression, and the rise of fascism and the Second World War. It also produced the bi-annual literary anthology New Writing. After the War, it went on to publish early work by renowned leftist scholars including Eric Hobsbawm and Edward Thompson, and to translate the work of Antonio Gramsci.

In 1935, Wishart had published Mulk Raj Anand’s novel The Untouchable after it was rejected by some nineteen publishing houses. Its acceptance by Wishart was no doubt in part a product of the novel’s endorsement by E. M. Forster. Two of Anand’s subsequent novels were then taken on by Lawrence & Wishart, as was the work of Indian Communist Rajani Palme Dutt’s, whose brother Clemens translated work by Marx and Engels for the firm.

Published works: 

A selection of works published from 1936 to 1950:

Anand, Mulk Raj, Coolie (1936)

Anand, Mulk Raj, Two Leaves and a Bud (1937)

Beauchamp, Joan, Women Who Work (1937)

Britain Without Capitalists (1936)

Caudwell, Christopher, Illusion and Reality (1946)

Chen, Jack, Japan and the Pacific Theatre of War (1942)

Cornforth, Maurice, Science versus Idealism (1946)

Dutt, Rajani Palme, Britain in the World Front (1942)

Dutt, Rajani Palme, Britain’s Crisis of Empire (1950)

Engels, Friedrich, Dialectics of Nature, trans. Clemens Palme Dutt, preface by J. D. S. Haldane (1940)

Fox, Ralph, France Faces the Future (1936)

Gorky, Maksim, Culture and the People (1939)

Haldane, J. B. S., Science and Everyday Life (1939)

Klingender, Francis Donald, Marxism and Modern Art (1943)

Kuczynski, Jurgen, Hunger and Work: Statistical Studies (1938)

Lenin, V. I., Selected Works (1936-8)

Lenin, V. I., What is to be Done? (1944)

Lenin, V. I., Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1948)

Lindsay, Jack, A Handbook of Freedom (1939)

Marx, Karl, Selected Works, ed. by Clemens Palme Dutt (1942)

Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, Selected Correspondence, 1846-1895 (1941)

Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, The Communist Manifesto [1933] (1948)

Pollitt, Harry, Serving My Time (1940)

Reeves, Joseph, A History of Rochdale Cooperation, 1844-1944 (19434)

Slater, Montagu, New Way Wins (1937)

Stalin, Joseph, Foundations of Leninism (1940)

Stalin, Joseph, Marxism and the National and Colonial Question (1947)

Wolton, Douglas G., Whither South Africa? (1947)

Date began: 
01 Jan 1936
Precise date began unknown: 

Mulk Raj Anand, Clemens Palme Dutt, Rajani Palme Dutt, Friedrich Engels, E. M. Forster, Ralph Fox, J. B. S. Haldane, V. I. Lenin, Jack Lindsay, Karl Marx, Harry Pollitt, Montagu Slater, Joseph Stalin.

Sylvia Pankhurst


Born in Old Trafford in 1882, Sylvia Pankhurst was influenced in her youth by the political activism of her parents, Emmeline and Richard Marsden Pankhurst, who were members of the Fabian Society and the Independent Labour Party and helped establish the Women’s Franchise League. Wanting to become an artist, she attended Manchester Art School and, from 1904, Chelsea’s Royal College of Art. Her work, which combined socialist realism and Pre-Raphaelite allegory, was influenced by her art teacher, Walter Crane. Following Pankhurst’s arrival in London, her parents’ friend, Keir Hardie, became an important figure in her life. On his return from visiting India in 1909, he discussed with her his findings and opinions. Increasingly involved with the Women’s Social and Political Union, Pankhurst devoted her energies from 1906 onward to fighting for women’s suffrage, becoming known for her militancy. Using journalism to fund her activism, she wrote a series of articles on women’s labour for the WSPU newspaper, Votes for Women, went to America on a lecture tour, and in 1911 published The Suffragette on the movement’s history.

A committed socialist, Pankhurst became involved with working women in London’s East End, and supported George Lansbury MP when he stood for re-election in Bromley-by-Bow on a women’s suffrage ticket. In 1913 she established the militant East London Federation of Suffragettes, which supported trade union struggles including the Dublin lock-out. Pankhurst founded the Woman’s Dreadnought in 1914, later renamed the Workers' Dreadnought, through which she came into contact with Rajani Palme Dutt, who contributed articles to the paper from 1917 until her split with the Communist Party in 1921.

During the First World War she led anti-war campaigns, continued her social welfare work, and began to support revolutionary movements. She met Lenin after the war and, in 1920, helped form the British Communist Party from which she was later expelled. In 1924 she moved to Red Cottage in Woodford Green, where she was joined by Silvio Erasmus Corio, an Italian exile who had briefly converted to Islam in the early 1920s. At this time she wrote India and the Earthly Paradise, a ‘romantic Communist’ contribution to Indian nationalism which ‘may have been the last result of her contacts with fringe elements of that movement’ and was published in Bombay in 1926 (Romero, p. 179). Pankhurst named R. N. Chaudry as a source for the book. It is possible that the seminars she organized with Nora Smythe while living at Red Cottage brought her into contact with ‘like-minded Indians’ (Romero, p. 179). Pankhurst’s path crossed with that of Dhanvanthi Rama Rau a little later, in 1929, when Rama Rau gave an impassioned speech disputing the right of British women ignorant of the realities of India to organize a Conference on Indian Social Evils (Rama Rau, pp. 168-172). Rama Rau recalls being ‘deeply touched’ by remarks Pankhurst made in response (Rama Rau, p. 172).

She gave birth to her only child, Richard Keir Pethick, in 1927. In the 1930s Pankhurst committed herself to promoting peace, fighting fascism, assisting Jewish refugees and supporting Spanish republicans. Ethiopian independence became a consuming concern following the Italian invasion. In 1935 she established the journal New Times and Ethiopian News, which publicized and supported Haile Selassie’s anti-colonial campaign. With her son, Pankhurst went to live in Ethiopia in 1956 and died in Addis Ababa in 1960.

Published works: 

The Suffragette: The History of the Women’s Militant Suffrage Movement, 1905-1910 (New York: Sturgis & Walton Co., 1911)

Housing & the Workers’ Revolution: Housing in Capitalist Britain and Bolshevik Russia (London: Workers’ Socialist Federation, 1919)

Rebel Ireland (London: Workers’ Socialist Federation, 1919)

Soviet Russia as I Saw it (London: Workers’ Dreadnought Publishers, 1921)

Communism and its Tactics, ed. by Mark A. S. Shipway (Edinburgh: Mark Shipway, [1921-2] 1983).

The Truth About the Oil War (London Dreadnought Publishers, 1922)

Writ on a Cold Slate (London: Dreadnought Publishers, 1922)

India and the Earthly Paradise (Bombay: ‘Bombay Chronicle’ Press, Sunshine Publishing House, 1926)

Delphos: The Future of International Language (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., nd (1928?))

Is an International Language Possible? A Lecture, etc. (London: Morland Press, 1928)

Save the Mothers: A Plea for Measures to Prevent the Annual Loss, etc. (London: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930)

The Suffragette Movement: An Intimate Account of Persons and Ideals (London: Longmans & Co., 1931)

The Home Front: A Mirror to Life in England During the First World War (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1932)

The Life of Emmeline Pankhurst: The Suffragette Struggle for Women’s Citizenship (London: Werner Laurie, 1935)

British Policy in Eastern Ethiopia: The Ogaden and the Reserved Area (Woodford Green, 1945)

British Policy in Eritrea and Northern Ethiopia (Woodford Green, 1945)

Education in Ethiopia (Woodford Green: ‘New Times & Ethiopia News’ Books, 1946)

The Ethiopian People: Their Rights and Progress (Woodford Green: ‘New Times and Ethiopia News’ Books, 1946)

Ex-Italian Somaliland (London: Watts & Co., 1951)

Eritrea on the Eve: The Past and Future of Italy’s ‘First-Born’ Colony, Ethiopia’s Ancient Sea Province (Woodford Green: ‘New Times & Ethiopia News’ Books, 1952)

Why Are We Destroying the Ethiopian Ports? With An Historical Retrospect, 1557-1952, etc. (Woodford Green ‘New Times and Ethiopia News’ Books, 1952)

(With Richard Pankhurst) Ethiopia and Eritrea: The Last Phase of the Reunion Struggle, 1941-1952, etc. (Woodford Green: Lalibela House, 1953)

Ethiopia: A Cultural History (Woodford Green: Lalibela House, 1955)


Pankhurst, Sylvia, India and the Earthly Paradise (Bombay: ‘Bombay Chronicle’ Press, Sunshine Publishing House, 1926), pp. 636-8

Date of birth: 
05 May 1882

Herbert Asquith, R. N. Chaudry, James Connolly, Silvio Erasmus Corio, Walter Crane, Clemens Palme Dutt, Rajani Palme Dutt, Keir Hardie, C. L. R. James, George Lansbury, V. I. Lenin, Adela Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst, Emmeline Pankhurst, Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, Dhanvanthi Rama Rau, F. M. Sayal, Haile Selassie, Norah Smythe.

Communist Party of Great Britain, East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELF, later renamed the Women’s Suffrage Federation, and then the Workers' Socialist Federation), Independent Labour Party, Women’s International League, Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), Women’s World Committee against War and Fascism.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Ethiopia Observer

New Times and Ethiopian News

Women’s Dreadnought (renamed Workers’ Dreadnought)


In the days to come peoples, differing as they do, in diet, costume and habits, in work and recreation, under the influence of climate and natural conditions, will serve each other, learn from each other, and enjoy each other’s variety free from the hatreds born of the present economic rivalries. When the Northman of the future confronts the people of the far East or South, he will feel, neither the mingled fear and contempt of the exploiter of a weaker and more numerous race, nor the jealous hatred of the worker who fears the lower paid competitor will steal his job.

And they who today, by reason of class or race are oppressed and exploited, will commingle as friends and comrades with the descendants of those who were once their conquerors and foes.

Whilst we must work for Swaraj as a necessary step in the evolution of the peoples of India, and one which leaves them more free than now to unravel their own problems, we must recognise that this is but one step on the road by which they and all peoples must travel. Before us all lies one hope and one goal: mutuality. Whilst competition and exploitation are the basis of the social organism, the expulsion of the foreign exploitation simply means the growth of the native exploitation.

Our goal is the end of all exploitation: the world-wide abundance, mutuality and fraternity of the Earthly Paradise.

Secondary works: 

Alem-Ayehu, G., ‘Reflections on the Life and Work of Sylvia Pankhurst: The Ethiopian dimension’ (priv. coll. and private information, 2004 [S. Ayling])

Banks, O., The Biographical Dictionary of British Feminists, Vol. 1. (Brighton: Wheatsheaf, 1985)

Bullock, I and Pankhurst, R. (eds), Sylvia Pankhurst: From Artist to Anti-Fascist (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992)

Davis, M., Sylvia Pankhurst: A Life in Radical Politics (London: Pluto Press, 1999)

Dodd, K. (ed.), A Sylvia Pankhurst Reader (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993)

Hannam, J., ‘Pankhurst, (Estelle) Sylvia (1882-1960)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2007), []

Harrison, S., Sylvia Pankhurst: Citizen of the World (London: Hornbeam Publishing, 2009)

Mitchell, D., The Fighting Pankhursts: A Study in Tenacity (London: Jonathan Cape, 1967)

Pankhurst, R., Sylvia Pankhurst: Artist and Crusader: An Intimate Portrait (London: Paddington Press, 1979)

Pankhurst, S., ‘Sylvia Pankhurst’, in Myself When Young, by Famous Women of To-day, ed. by E. A. M. Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith (London: Frederick Muller, 1938), pp. 259-312

Rama Rau, Dhanvanthi, An Inheritance: The Memoirs of Dhanvanthi Rama Rau (London: Heinemann, 1977)

Romero, P. W., E. Sylvia Pankhurst: Portrait of a Radical (London: Yale University Press, 1987)

Schreuder, M. W. H., and Schrevel, Women, Suffrage, and Politics: The Papers of Sylvia Pankhurst, 1882-1960, from the Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam (Reading: Adam Matthew, 1991)

Tickner, L., The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign, 1907-1914 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1987)

Winslow, B., Sylvia Pankhurst: Sexual Politics and Political Activism (London: UCL Press, 1996)

Wright, P., ‘The Stone Bomb’, London Review of Books (23 August 2001)


The passage quoted above both articulates Sylvia Pankhurst’s anti-colonial and anti-racist endorsement of the Indian campaign for self-rule; and indicates the wider idealistic Communist and utopian contexts within which she situated the swaraj movement, and which inspired and informed her commitment to promoting this particular cause. 

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam

Correspondence, Women’s Library, London

Correspondence with Society of Authors, Add. MSS 56769-56771, British Library, St Pancras

Correspondence with the Independent Labour Party, British Library of Political and Economic Science

Letters to David Lloyd George, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to the Manchester Guardian, John Rylands, University of Manchester

Correspondence with William Gillies, Labour History Archive and Study Centre, Manchester

Correspondence with Ada Lois James, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison

Correspondence with F. W. Pethick-Lawrence, Trinity College, Cambridge

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst

Date of death: 
27 Sep 1960
Location of death: 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


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