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Posts Tagged ‘1980s’

The national Fabian Society was founded in 1884 with the aim of developing political ideas and public policy on the political left. The Society is still active and affiliated to the Labour Party.

There is a vague reference to a local Fabian Society existing in 1892 but it has not been proved. An Aberdeen branch though was established in 1924 and a key member was Robert Raffan (he was a trade unionist and Labour councillor) who was Secretary for 40 years, from the late 1920s. It was reported that in the late 1930s Aberdeen was the largest branch in Scotland. The branch was very active organising meetings, many with visiting speakers.

Related entries: Aberdeen University Fabian Society.

References: Aberdeen Daily Journal and Trade Unionism in Aberdeen 1878 1900 (K. D. Buckley, Edinburgh, 1955).

Sources: papers of the national Fabian Society are held at the London School of Economics.

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Dave Campbell was born in Aberdeen and worked at the Stoneywood Paper Mill in Dyce. He was Chairman of the Donside Paper Workers Union and led the Mugiemoss workers out on strike in the 1930s, with the consequence that he was blacklisted. He was then employed in the construction industry and became union officer in the Constructional Engineering Union. In 1946 he moved with his family to Birmingham and became a full time local organiser for the union.

He was an active member of Aberdeen Trades Council, specifically with the local Trade Union Organising Committee, which was set up by the Scottish Trades Union Congress in the 1930s, to build up union branches. He was also a local leader of hunger marches (to London in 1938) and Council Vice-President in 1938.

A life-long member of the Communist Party, he was a friend of fellow communist Bob Cooney, who stayed with him in Birmingham, and shared an interest in folk music.

Related entries: Aberdeen Communist Party.

References: Aberdeen Trades Union Council annual report 1989 and website of Graham Stevenson which features hundred of biographies of Communist Party members.

Sources: unknown.

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In 1980 the Grampian Union Against Youth Employment was set up with the assistance of Aberdeen Trades Council, to campaign for better services and facilities for the unemployed. By 1981 the Union (now called the Grampian Unemployment Union) had a ‘centre’ at the Trades Council property at 21 Adelphi and provided advice on welfare rights and campaigned against benefit cuts etc. In 1983 the Aberdeen Unemployment Centre was established at 334 George Street, in 1985 re-located to the St Katherine’s Centre at West North Street and finally in 1988 moved to 54 Frederick Street. The Centre published their own news-sheets, initially ‘Beat the Doledrum’ and then from the late 1980s ‘The Signing-On-Times’. The Centre was also utilised by various groups such as the Anti-Poll Tax Movement and in 1989 the Memorial Library of the 15th International Brigade was opened at the Centre (the library is now housed at the Aberdeen Trades Union Council offices at the Adelphi).

In 1992 the centre became the Aberdeen Employment Restart Centre.

Related entries: Aberdeen Claimant’s Union and Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

References: Aberdeen Trades Union Council Annual Reports and see below.

Sources: Some material such as annual reports are held as part of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council archives at the University of Aberdeen Library.

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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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Aberdeen World Poverty Association was founded in 1970 on the instigation of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. The aims were: to collect and make available information about the causes, nature and extent of world poverty and about endeavours to combat or alleviate it; to keep the questions of world poverty and needs of developing countries before the public elected representatives and local interests in north-east Scotland and to co-ordinate efforts of individuals and organisations concerned with these questions. The Association held public events, lobbied and tied up with national groups such as the World Development Movement.

The Association was still active in 1982.

References: see below

Sources: a few items are part of the Mary Esslemont papers (an Aberdeen physician) and are held at University of Aberdeen Library.

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The Grampian Regional Equality Council works to promote respect and combat discrimination for all people. At the end of the 1970s, Aberdeen welcomed Vietnamese families made refugees by the war in their country. It was realised that a support network was required and a committee of volunteers and representatives from local authorities and agencies was established. Over time, Grampian Community Relations Council came into being, then became Grampian Racial Equality Council and finally Grampian Regional Equality Council.

The organisation has led the way in promoting and campaigning for equality and diversity in the north-east of Scotland. The organisation also coordinates the North East Scotland Equalities Network (NESEN), formed in 2011, which aims to achieve equality in disability, gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion and belief, through a network of public bodies and the voluntary sector.

References: Website.

Sources: unknown.

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The Scarlet Women Group was a national socialist collective set up in 1976, who split from the Woman’s Liberation Movement, and there were active members living in Aberdeen. Members contributed to a publication called MSPRINT: A Scottish feminist publication (which was the successor to Scottish Women’s Liberation Journal).

References: advert in The Big Print (Aberdeen Peoples Press), MSPRINT sourced on-line and The Women’s Liberation Movement in Scotland (Sarah Browne, Oxford University Press, 2017).

Sources: unknown.

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