Denby Dale Labour Party Archive
The archives of the Denby Dale Labour Party which includes minute books, financial records, photographs, promotional fliers and election campaign materials, and a brief history of the Party.
Clayton West Branch Labour Party minute book Item
May 1973-Oct 1979The minute book for the Clayton West Branch Labour Party minutes from 1973 to 1979. The minutes include the election of the committee members at regular intervals, details of membership drives held, social and fundraising events organised and the campaigning and canvassing for both local and general elections undertaken by committee members. There is also reference to possible boundary changes which would affect the area; the suggestions being that Clayton West could be subsumed by the Colne Valley constituency party and the Scissett branch could merge into Clayton West. The minutes also record debates regarding the power of Parish Councils in their local area. Many members felt that the Parish should be responsible for local issues such as footpaths, allotments and street lights.
The minutes also show references to wider issues such as discussions of the new Employment Protection Act and the rise in tuition fees for the Open University. There is also mention of the 'Campaign for Labour Party Democracy' which called for the party to be more accountable to the members over implementation of policies. On the 14th Feb 1976 a resolution was passed to be taken to the next AGM by the branch representatives that the CLP 'applaud the removal of our Ambassador to Chile' as a result of the torture of a British national and that they 'call on this Government to break all links, political and economic, with the Government of Chile'.
Denby Dale Parish Co-Ordinating Committee Labour Party minute book Item
Jul 1975-Oct 1987Minutes of the meetings of the Denby Dale Parish Co-Ordinating Committee Labour Party from 1975 to 1987. The Co-Ordinating Committee was made up of all the individual members of the party in the electoral ward. The purpose of the committee, as stated in the minutes, was to short list candidates for the local elections, co-ordinate the work of branch committees in election campaigns, organise propaganda work for local government and arrange fund raising and social activities. This minute book dates from the inaugural meeting of the Denby Dale parish Labour Party Co-Ordinating Committee during which the purpose of the committee and its protocols were decided upon and the first officers were elected. It was resolved that members were to be encouraged to attend Union meetings and to look out for new members for the Party.
The minutes include reference to a speech received from Peter Hardy MP regarding the 1974/1975 Parliamentary Session, discussions of the boundary changes proposed by the Kirklees Council which would impact upon Denby Dale, much discussion of the preparation and canvassing for elections and the proposed candidates for both the Kirklees District Council and the Parish Council. There is also reference to the possibility of starting a Young Socialist Group in the area.
Notable resolutions minuted by the Committee include a statement expressing their approbation of the Tory controlled Kirklees Council's suggestion that they were considering the abolition of free school transport for children living over 2 miles from school. The Co-Ordination Committee felt that would "cause great hardship in this rural area". In June 1978 there was a resolution passed to be included in the next election manifesto that the next Labour government would 'assist the unions to establish a minimum wage below which no worker shall fall'.
Changes within the establishment of the local branches were also noted. In 1982 the Emley branch wrote to say their membership was too small to sustain the branch party. It was suggested that Emley, Clayton West and Scissett merge into one party. In 1987 however it became clear that this too was inadequate and so this newly merged group was absorbed by the Skelmanthorpe branch.
Denby Dale and Cumberworth Branch Labour Party minute book Item
Feb 1976-Mar 1984Minute book for the Denby Dale and Cumberworth Branch Labour Party from 1976 to 1984. Much of the minutes are given over to the discussion of parish and local council elections, the canvassing for the election campaigns, production of election material and discussions of the candidates. There is also reference to the 1976 Kirklees local election in which Labour won by only a slim margin making it the first time the district was not a safe Labour seat. Throughout the minutes there are many references to the various campaigns of Winifred Wheable and Peter Hildrew who both ran for a number of positions including Local Councillor, County Councillor and member of the European Parliament. There are also discussions of local matters such as the suggested boundary rearrangement that would merge Denby Dale in with Dewsbury and the desire of the branch to establish a Young Socialist Group and a Socialist and Trade Union Museum in Hull (1978).
The minutes show the discussion of matters internal to the branch party such as the creation of two new positions in the party; Membership Secretary and Political Secretary and a tribute paid to Harold Auckland upon his death.
There are also resolutions passed to be taken by the representatives to other meetings such as the AGM and Management meeting. In 1977 the branch registered its concern over the cut backs on education expenditure by Kirklees Council and on a separate occasion called for greater public control of the drug industry. In 1979 a resolution was passed stating that the "CLP deplores the decision of the Education Secretary to ... lift the statutory requirements for the provision of school milk, meals and transport".
There is reference throughout the minutes of various events originating outside the branch party. In November 1979 the CLP noted the public marches in Sheffield and Leeds against the expenditure cuts. In 1981 a mention was made of the threat made by Michael Hesletine to fine Kirklees Local Authority £11 million for overspending which would result in 1200 redundancies through Kirklees. In 1982 a discussion was minuted concerning the application to the government by Kirklees Council for £21.5 million to spend in local housing.
Clayton West and Scisset Branch Labour Party minute book Item
Nov 1979- Dec 1986Minute book for the Clayton West and Scissett Branch Labour Party from Nov 1979 to Dec 1986 (there is a gap in the minutes between Feb 1985 and Apr 1986, when it seems that the minutes were recorded elsewhere). The minutes record the Party's work to ensure the upkeep of the constituency's facilities such as public toilets, playing fields, local party membership drives, fund raising events, care of war memorials, drains and sheltered accommodation. The minutes record the decreasing membership numbers and money raised by the Party over the majority of this period.
The minutes also record: the merger of the Emley Branch with the Clayton West and Scissett Branch in Oct 1982 before then merging with Skelmanthorpe in 1987; the boundary changes to the Denby Dale area; and the nominations of candidates and the subsequent canvassing work and campaigns for the parliamentary, parish, district party, constituency party, county party, euro-constituency party, and central organisation elections.
On 1 Oct 1981 the minutes record the decision of the quarterly Constituency General Meeting which mandated the National Conference Delegate to vote for Tony Benn in the election for the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. The minutes of this meeting also record that the Branch went against the Labour Party's national appeal to distribute 100 fund appeals to people in the area because they believed that it may put people off the party by looking too 'mercenary'. In 1984 the minutes record the Branch's invitation to the local reps from the NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) to address the Branch Party meeting regarding the miners' dispute.
Denby Dale and Cumberworth Branch Labour Party minute book Item
Jun 1984 – Jul 1988Minutes of the meetings of the Denby Dale and Cumberworth Branch Labour Party from June 1984 to July 1988. The minutes record the issues discussed, actions taken and decisions made at each meeting. This includes committee admin such as the election of members, applications of new party members, correspondence received and sent and the organisation of various events to raise money for the party. The committee's involvement with local issues, such as road closures, sewage works, building proposals and schools; and with wider Labour Party issues such as campaigning for the local, County Council and general elections are also noted in the minutes. The committee received talks from various prospective Parliamentary candidates, most frequently Ann Taylor, as well as councillors and other influential political figures such as Tam Dayell. The minutes also record a number of resolutions agreed upon by the Constituency Labour Party to be reported to the party at the next AGM or General Committee Meeting.
Minutes record the Constituency Labour Party's reaction to a number of local and national events. There is a resolution recorded the all members of the Kirklees Labour Group should 'put the overall interests of the Party before the interests of any one section' which is raised in response to reported divisions in the Labour Party. It is also minuted that a collection was held for the Miners' Hardship Fund at the conclusion of each meeting and that the committee would like to organise something to raise money for the anti-apartheid movement. There is also a mention that schools in Dewsbury had been threatened by the BNP (British National Party) and the National Front and discussion relating to a letter the Party received from an Iranian student concerning the cruelty of the Khomeini regime.