St Andrew’s Day

Seeing as today is St Andrew’s day I thought I’d have a wee look through the NUWT catalogue to remind myself of what material I’ve seen so far that relates to Scotland.  As there was a separate union in Scotland, ‘The Women’s Educational Union’, which fought for equal pay for women teachers, there isn’t a great deal of material about Scotland in the collection.  However I did remember cataloguing a number of copies of ‘The Word’ so I brought that folder up again for a wee look. These issues had been sent to the NUWT because they contained articles about inequalities in the status and working conditions of women.

NUWT Collection ref UWT/D/40A/1 ©Institute of Education

‘The Word’ was an organ of the United Socialist Movement and it was edited and published by Guy Aldred at the Strickland Press, 104 George Street, Glasgow.  I thought that given the display of public protest and strikes today then a post about a famous protester, anarchist and socialist would be very relevant!  Guy Aldred was born in 1886 not far from the Institute of Education, in Clerkenwell but he moved to Scotland in 1916/1917 and spent the rest of his life based in Glasgow.  He was imprisoned during the First World War as a Conscientious Objector and was imprisoned various times during his life for his beliefs, including in 1909 when he was imprisoned for publishing and publicising his belief in the right of India to independence. In the article below, published in his paper in 1946 he talks about his trial in 1909, at which he was convicted of seditious libel and spent a year in prison.  He says in this article “neither he nor anyone else in court… expected that the day would come in the lifetime of any person then present, when Indian independence would be recognised.

Guy Aldred in the dock, NUWT Collection ref UWT/D/40A/1 ©Institute of Education Archive

You can find out more about Guy Aldred here and in a great film made about Ethel Macdonald and her work as a journalist in Spain during the Spanish Civil War ‘An Anarchist’s Story’. This film was the first time I heard of Guy Aldred and if you haven’t heard of Ethel Macdonald I would highly recommend watching it – I came away with such respect and admiration for her which I now feel for Guy Aldred as well. The film used to be available through a website which I’m sure was authorised by the filmmaker but I couldn’t find it anymore. If you want to see the film you can watch in on YouTube and/or write to the BBC asking that they show it again!

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