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Posts Tagged ‘1950s’

The National Council of Women of Great Britain was originally formed in 1895 as the National Union of Women Workers. It came out of the 1880s national movement of several women’s philanthropic organisations concerned about civil, educational, religious and social issues affecting women. A body which was part of this movement was the Aberdeen Ladies’ Union (originally called the Ladies’ Union for the Care and Protection of Women and Girls), founded in 1883. The Union had a key role in forming the Central Council of the Conferences of Women Workers in 1891, which was a precursor to the formation of the National Union. In 1897 the Ladies’ Union became the Aberdeen branch of the The National Union of Women Workers.

The Aberdeen Union of Women Workers was made-up of numerous affiliated organisations which worked with women and concerned itself with issues such as poverty, social reform, equal rights, family rights and also suffrage. The affiliated organisations had representatives on the Executive Committee: organisations such as the Aberdeen Clothing Society, Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Employment Exchange and the Aberdeen Women’s Citizen Association. In 1909 the Union worked with the Women’s Liberal Association, Primrose League, National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies to promote female representation on the school boards in Aberdeen and this included joint canvassing work for candidates.

The National Union of Women Workers changed its name to the National Council of Women of Great Britain in 1918. The Council is affiliated to the International Council of Women.

References: website and see below.

Sources: Aberdeen Union of Women Workers papers (1900 – 1926) and a few items as part of the Mary Esslemont papers (an Aberdeen physician) are held at University of Aberdeen Library. National records are held at London Metropolitan Archives.

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A University of Aberdeen group, also called the Aberdeen Left Club, formed in Autumn 1959 and then folded not long after. The group was formed as a discussion forum for socialists. The active members were very close to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and was also made up of members of the communist party and left wingers from the Labour Party, all disaffected with the traditional left.

The group was part of a wider national movement called New Left which existed from about 1956 – 1960s and was actually a generic term for a number of organisations. The movement was formed after the world events in Hungary and the Suez and formed around journals such as New Left Review.

References: Out of the Burning House: Political Socialization in the Age of Affluence (Sandy Hobbs & Willie Thompson, 2011) which describes life at the University in the 1950s/1960s.

Sources: unknown. Papers of Sandy Hobbs and Willie Thompson are held at Glasgow Caledonian University Archives.

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CND was founded nationally in 1957 with Scottish CND founded in 1958. CND has always drawn on a varied membership ranging from Christian pacifists, moderate Labour through to the Communist Party and more radical groups such as anarchists.

There was a University of Aberdeen Society, active by 1959, and in the early days travelled to demos in Aldermaston, Glasgow and Holy Loch. It would appear that the University society was also dormant for parts of the 1970s (between c.1970 and 1978).

There was also an Aberdeen Branch active at the very beginning and there was also a youth wing (YCND) which formed about 1963. There were also at certain periods a number of local branches across the north east.

Related entries: Aberdeen Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown. A couple of items as part of Mary Esslemont’s (physician and local member of Aberdeen CND) papers (1960 – 1979) are held at University of Aberdeen Library. The national CND records are held across the British Library of Political and Economic Science and the Modern Records Centre at Warwick University. Some Scottish material is held at Glasgow Mitchell Library.

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There was a Aberdeen University Socialist Club at various times (1931 – 1934, 1946 (re-formed) – 1954, 1958 – 1974). In 1958 the ‘new’ Socialist Society had been created from the ‘old labour club’.

The club had originally been formed in 1931 as a discussion circle for students for the theory and practice of socialism. The club arranged debates with the Fabian Society of Aberdeen and met in the Independent Labour Party (I.L.P) rooms at 6 Schoolhill. The group advertised itself in 1951 as a Club that stood for unity of all types including communists and anarchists. In 1960 the Club also stated that it worked with other like-minded groups: CND, Anti-Apartheid Movement and the New Left.

References: University student directories.

Sources: unknown.

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There was a Aberdeen University Labour Club at various times (1921 – 1926, 1939 – 1942, 1952 – 1954, 1957 – 1958). In 1958 the new Socialist Society was created from the ‘old labour club’.

The Club was formed to promote Labour ideas and put forward a Labour party candidate for the Rectorial Elections.

References: University student directories.

Sources: some publications issued as part of Rectorial election campaigns and a journal called ‘Insight’ (1924) are held at Aberdeen University Library.

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A University of Aberdeen society which advertised in the 1952 and 1953 Freshers’ magazines.

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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Aberdeen University Humanist Society was founded in 1958 under their Honorary President, Margaret Knight, lecturer in psychology at the University, and proponent of Scientific Humanism. The aim of the society was to spread cultural views that promote reason as opposed to superstition, and humanity rather than spirituality.

In 2009 the society revived and was called the Secular, Humanist and Atheist Society (soon to become named the Humanist Society again).

References: University Freshers’ magazines.

Sources: unknown.

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