In the early 1970s, Clare Druce and her mother Violet purchased four live ‘spent’ hens from an East London butcher’s shop. They took them, uninvited, to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Department in Surrey, along with a reporter and photographer from the Surrey Comet newspaper. The ‘invasion’ (as the press called it) earned them a front page spread in the Surrey Comet. Over the years, they took part in further campaigns and acquired the help of other animal rights campaigners, eventually naming their small pressure group Chickens’ Lib, which later evolved into the Farm Animal Welfare Network.
Their first national support came in 1975 when they were chosen as one of the candidates for the BBC’s Open Door programme, an initiative which saw them supplied with a professional producer and TV studio to make a short programme about the group. The programme came out live on BBC2 at peak viewing time and earned Chickens’ Lib more than 500 letters of support.
Over the years, the number of supporters grew and many well-known people in the arts, sciences and Church lent their names to their campaigns. At first Chickens’ Lib were unwelcome on the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (now DEFRA), but their careful and in-depth research, and their strict adherence to non-violent activism, meant that they were often treated as experts in their field. For years they were invited to official meetings where farmed animals were being discussed.
When Violet died in 1999, aged 91, and as other members of the group were obliged to other commitments, Chickens’ Lib (now the Farm Animal Welfare Network) came to an end. Since then, many bigger pressure groups and animal charities have emerged and taken their place, but Chickens’ Lib were valuable in unearthing some of the worst aspects of animal abuse in the early days.
The Chickens’ Lib Archive was donated to Heritage Quay in 2021 by Clare Druce. It contains a substantial collection of letters and campaign materials covering the history of the group from the 1970s until 2017.
Some of the many campaign documents reveal how Chickens’ Lib petitioned the Prince of Wales and the Queen about game birds, specifically cruelty in pheasant shooting (item ref: CKL/CA/1/5) and the use of bird ‘specs’ (item ref: CKL/CA/1/4). The latter documentation includes an article issued by The People with headline “Queen Bans Bird Specs!,” showing the real-world changes influenced by Chickens’ Lib.
These campaign documents also include an expert witness personal statement written by Clare Druce, highlighting her qualifications as an expert in the McDonalds libel trial of 1996 (item ref: CKL/CA/5). These documents are supported by the government correspondence (item ref: CKL/CO/1) between Druce and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which reveal how the group were thought of in high standing and were later invited to official government meetings.
The wealth of correspondence available reveals the relationship between Chickens’ Lib and international organisations, asking for assistance or advice setting up their own campaign initiatives (item ref: CKL/CO/2) from groups in the USA, Australia, South Africa and beyond.
There are also many letters and cards from their supporters and patrons (CKL/CO/3). These include celebrity supporters such as Spike Milligan, Barbara Castle M.E.P, and Joanna Lumley, as well as various members of government and the Church. There are also a large variety of marketing materials (item ref: CKL/MK) including newsletters, factsheets, posters, postcards, badges, banners, and audio-visual media.
We hold a copy of their 1975 BBC2 Open Door programme (item ref: CKL/MK/5/1/2) for which they received their first national support, and their factsheets further support their reputation as an authority on bird farming. These sheets (item ref: CKL/MK/2) include a topic index for ease of access, and cover subjects such as animal diet, disease, antibiotics, foie gras, broiler chickens, the battery hen, turkey farming and the egg industry.
Their research included site visits to battery hen farms where photographs were taken to document their findings and record living conditions. The archive contains these photographs as well as images of demonstrations, hen rescues and the group’s first uninvited visit to Whitehall in 1973 (all items ref: CKL/MK/9). There are many newspaper cuttings (item ref: CKL/PR) included in the archive, covering the demonstrations, activities, and media appearances of Chickens’ Lib, as well as support from celebrities.
The Chickens’ Lib Archive tells the fascinating story of the relentless and challenging work involved in trying to achieve even the smallest of changes, and it is now live on our online catalogue:
During termtimes it can be hard for the team to carry out work on new collections which means that they are available for researchers to use. During quiet periods, in common with many other archive services, we therefore close the research room usually for around a week and keep the time free of other activities such as teaching and meetings so that we can focus on big collections. As well as having plenty of space to spread them out if a lot of physical work is needed.
During January 2019 we were closed from Wednesday 2nd – Friday 11th inclusive to work on two big collections: the Colin Challen (MP) Archive and the Sir Patrick Stewart Archive.
The Challen Archive had been boxed (around 80 boxes) on its arrival at Heritage Quay but because of the quantity of material no other work had been done since it was transferred by Colin Challen in November 2017. During Collections Week the team were able to survey the material and to sort it into key series, mostly corresponding with Challen’s various roles and offices as a member of the Labour Party. The archive was also listed, and a small project identified for further detailed listing of the miscellaneous consitutency Labour parties in CHN/8 (planned for 2020).
The catalogue is available on the Heritage Quay online catalogue at www.heritagequay.org/archives/chn and also on the Archives Hub/Archives Portal Europe. This part of the work took around 18 person-days and involved 6 members of the team. More details in a later post!
We had undertaken some work on the Patrick Stewart Archive in a previous collections week, and took 6 person-days this time to expand and complete some of the work previously started. The catalogue for the Patrick Stewart Archive is at www.heritagequay.org/archives/psa/ – and again, more details to follow!
Heritage Quay has developed six educational films for teachers of KS1-3 students. They are based on our amazing collections and provide opportunities to explore history, the arts and music in inspiring ways. You can access the films on youtube, and download the free teachers packs using the links below. To find out more about what else we offer for schools please visit our Learn page
SPORT This film serves as an introduction to the sport collections at Heritage Quay and highlights the history of Rugby League and the sport’s close links with the town of Huddersfield. The film and the accompanying education pack provide a focus for a local history study as set out in the KS2 national curriculum.
THE ARTS The Arts scene in Huddersfield is a major area of strength in the archives. This film gives an introduction to the development of British theatre and highlights items from the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield Operatic and Dramatic Society, and Mikron Theatre collections.
EDUCATION This film gives an introduction to the history of the University of Huddersfield, highlighting the role of Frederick Schwann and the Ramsden family in its history. It provides a focus for KS2 local history study. Items shown in the film include commemorative china which marked the opening of the Ramsden building, and the bell which called students to their classes.
MUSIC This film highlights the rich variety contained within the music collections at Heritage Quay. From brass bands to dance bands, contemporary music to classical, this is an accessible introduction to a range of musical genres for those studying music at primary level.
INDUSTRY The film gives an overview of Huddersfield’s development as a textile town, highlighting the links between textiles and manufacturing, and focusing on local engineers Hopkinsons, whose archive is one of the largest and most complete at Heritage Quay. The film is a valuable starting point for a KS2 local history study, as well as supporting the KS3 themes of industry, empire and technological change. The Fabrics of India sample books shown in the film may inspire and interest textile students.
POLITICS This film introduces the collections of three significant figures which are prominent in the archives – Robert Blatchford, Victor Grayson and John Henry Whitley. The film gives a brief outline of their achievements in bringing about social and industrial improvements for working people and invites the viewer to consider their legacies. The film is intended for a primary audience, however it provides a good starting point for KS3 students studying British politics between 1860 and 1939.
A group of undergraduate and postgraduate students and academic staff at the University of Huddersfield have come together to curate an exhibition, write a conference paper, and to publish a chapter in a book. Paul Ward, professor of modern British history, explains why engaging students as researchers and using a co-production approach to interpreting the past will lead to a better historical understanding about relationships between Britain and its Empire in the early 1930s.
The group are looking at JH Whitley, the MP for Halifax between 1900 and 1928 and Speaker of the House of Commons in the 1920s, whose papers are held in Heritage Quay. The project explores his attitudes to the British Empire. Whitley had a growing enthusiasm for the Empire Parliamentary Association as a vehicle for binding the British Empire more closely together through developing relationships between politicians from the dominions and Empire and those at the Palace of Westminster.
Mohandas Ghandhi’s autograph in the Speaker’s visitors’ book, held in Heritage Quay
As a co-production group, we are going to examine Whitley’s role as chairman of the Royal Commission on Labour in India between 1929 and 1931, using the scrapbooks relating to his visits to India held in the J.H. Whitley collection to establish his cultural attitudes to Empire. We will: •Look at Whitley’s statements on Empire as an MP. •Research biographies of the members of the Royal Commission, including the female and Indian members. •Map the Royal Commission’s travels across the Indian sub-continent. •Analyse the newspaper stories written and the photographs taken and collected in a series of scrapbooks. •Consider the members’ descriptions of their tour of India and the Report’s recommendations. •Analyse Indian attitudes towards Whitley and the Commission, including the visit Gandhi made to him in 1933. •Use a variety of conceptual tools to think about our research and the meaning of the commission in the early 1930s, including orientalism, colonialism and postcolonialism and subaltern studies. •Examine relationships between Britain and India – and especially the locality of Halifax in Yorkshire – in the 1930s and the present.
This is a good opportunity for students to undertake training for primary historical research, exhibition curation and academic writing and the students will receive full credit as curators and authors of the exhibition, conference paper and book chapter. But it is also an experiment to apply collaborative research to a range of historical sources, including the Commission’s 600-page report, Hansard, and the Whitley collection itself. Using a group of researchers will enable sustained collaborative discussion about the meaning of the documents because of the multiple perspectives that will be available. Already we have benefited from the interdisciplinary nature of the project team – we have students from textile practice and politics as well as history – and through taking an open-minded approach to historical interpretation, we hope to be able to explore the workings of the Royal Commission in a variety of ways.
First encounters with the Whitley scrapbooks in Heritage Quay.
All historical research has elements of collaboration – through working with archivists and other scholars. Yet we are embedding the collaboration into the heart of this project and at every stage. While the project was initiated through the deposit of the Whitley collection in Heritage Quay and History at Huddersfield‘s desire to make use of it, the students are involved in designing the research questions, undertaking the systematic study of the primary sources, conducting an extensive survey of the historiography, interpreting the evidence, and co-writing each aspect of the outputs. We have deliberately kept options open about what the outputs will look like – they will be textual but they will also be digital, visual and creative serving the purpose of interpreting the research in different ways in order to understand the past in different ways. We are also able to draw on the knowledge of the Whitley family who deposited the collection at the university. Amy Stoddart and Madeleine Longtin, a second year students, on the project explained why they had got involved:
Amy : I am fascinated by colonial India and keen to take part in research opportunities, so this project was a perfect fit for me. I am excited to be both involved in some original research and also to be working collaboratively, which is not something I have done before. I am eager to see what conclusions this project comes too and the way in which the different perspectives and opinions of all the people involved come together to shape the project. Also, I hope to go on to do a masters degree after graduating and so this is a great opportunity for me to gain skills and experience for that.
Madeleine : I sought to be involved with the Whitley research project because I feel like it is an extraordinary opportunity. To explore primary documents that have yet to be analysed, research collaboratively with members of University staff and post-graduates, and to be involved in the creation of a published piece of work are all experiences that are both rare and incredibly valuable for undergraduates such as myself. Consequently, I believe this will be one of the most important learning experiences I will have at the University of Huddersfield and I look forward to what seeing what our research may discover.
Rob Clegg, Heritage Quay’s collections access officer, talking to Whitley students about using archives.
The radical historian Raphael Samuel wrote, ‘history is not the prerogative of the historian … It is, rather, a social form of knowledge; the work, in any given instance, of a thousand different hands.’ In this project, we want to foreground collaborative ways of working in order to understand the past and its implications for the society we inhabit today.
History at Huddersfield utilises research-led teaching and a commitment to public engagement to ensure that what we do is both useful to society and beneficial to the employability of our students. We see our students as researchers – partners in the development of knowledge with academic staff, often through co-production of knowledge with community partners. For more information see http://www.hud.ac.uk/courses/full-time/undergraduate/history-ba-hons/ and http://www.hud.ac.uk/research/history/
Huddersfield’s fascinating political history is brought to life in Heritage Quay by the extensive range of collections that document the area’s 20th and 21st century political story. The overarching influence of the labour movement and the Labour Party on this narrative is keenly reflected through the collections. From the emergence and development of the Party’s grass roots (Huddersfield Labour Party Archive, Colne Valley Labour Party Archive and the Denby Dale Labour Party Archive) to the upper echelons of Westminster (J H Whitley, MP and Speaker of the House of Commons and JPW Mallalieu, MP Archives; Robert Blatchford Collections) and New Labour politics (Mick Clapham, MP Archive).
These collections reveal the local realities of the national party political system, and how this system has been informed and influenced by the unique character of Huddersfield’s political landscape. The library of famous statistician G.H. Wood covers economic and social history, education, health, housing and women’s history during the late 19th and early 20th century, and complement more contemporary left-wing publications including the Left Book Club and modern periodicals.
We’re celebrating the national Big Draw campaign this month at Heritage Quay with a brand new schools workshop! This year’s campaign theme is Every Drawing Tells A Story and we’ll be investigating the life stories of two well known local figures – Victor Grayson (the Disappearing M.P.) and Susannah Sunderland (Yorkshire Queen of Song). You don’t have to be able to draw to join in the artistic fun and there’ll be a chance to practice your research skills too! The workshop is free, lasts around 3 hours, and can include a campus tour. To find out more or book your place, please drop an email to T.Wells@hud.ac.uk or ring 01484 473168.
To say that ‘Bill’, ‘William’ or ‘Curly’ Mallalieu (as he was known to various people) had an interesting and varied career would certainly be an understatement! And to prove it, here’s a biography of his life that we’ve pulled together using the records that are now available in the archive.
JPW Mallalieu was born in Delph, Saddleworth, on 18 June 1908 into a Nonconformist family with a rich political background. His father, Frederick Mallalieu, was Liberal MP for Colne Valley from 1916 until 1922, when he was defeated by Philip Snowden, the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer. While his brother, Sir Edward Lancelot ‘Lance’ Mallalieu, was also Liberal MP for the Colne Valley constituency, 1931-1935, before he joined the Labour Party and served as MP for Brigg, Lincolnshire, from 1948 until he retired in 1974.
Like his father and brother, JPW Mallalieu studied at Dragon School, Cheltenham before going on to Trinity College, Oxford where became the first person in history to win a Rugger Blue and be president of the Oxford Union. After Oxford, Mallalieu won a Commonwealth Fellowship in economics at the University of Chicago and spent two years in the United States engaged in economics research. While in America Mallalieu underwent a political conversion from Liberalism to Socialism after witnessing the depravity brought about by the Great Depression; this led him to join the British Labour Party from Chicago in October 1931. During his time in America Mallalieu also began his career as a journalist, working on local newspapers in Kentucky, including The Lexington Herald where he covered stories such as the Police beat and sports, notably American Football and ice hockey. He then spent six months in South Africa and seven months in continental Europe, mostly in France, before returning to Britain in 1932 and being appointed American Editor for The Financial News in London. Mallalieu was then made political correspondent for the paper and spent a year and a half reporting from the House of Commons. Mallalieu continued to write for London newspapers from 1933-1942, including The Financial News, The Evening Standard, The Daily Express, he also wrote sports journalism for the Spectator.
Upon his return to Britain at the end of 1932 Mallalieu joined the Holborn Labour Party. He was then adopted as the Labour candidate for Huddersfield in 1936 but because of the intervention of war it was another nine years before he got the chance to fight his first Parliamentary election.
Mallalieu started the Second World War as a Conscientious Objector which he said was ‘entirely for political reasons’ because he didn’t believe in the Chamberlain government of the time, but he quickly changed his mind upon realising the intent of the Nazi leadership. He joined the Royal Navy in 1942 as an ordinary seaman and rose to the rank of Lieutenant by the end of the War. His active service involved protecting the convoy routes to Russia through the Arctic waters, he served on board a destroyer which was camouflaged as HMS Meltham. During his service he wrote the novel Very Ordinary Seaman (1944) which was based directly on his experiences of serving in the navy during wartime. The navy had appointed him to the role of Commander’s Messenger, Portsmouth, and gave him two months in which to complete the work; the only condition was that the book should be ‘broadly favourable to the navy. Not a whitewash but not a hatchet job either’ (On Larkhill, p.204). The book proved to be very popular, selling 64,000 copies in hardback and many more in paperback. Speaking to Yorkshire Life magazine in 1979, Mallalieu answered the question of why he had chosen that title for the book, ‘Because that’s what I was, a very ordinary seaman. I couldn’t even tie knots properly.’ (Yorkshire Life, March 1979). The royalties for the book would see Mallalieu through his election campaign in 1945 when he had no other source of income.
Very Ordinary Seaman was Mallalieu’s third book. He had written his first, Rats, in a London air raid shelter during the blitz. The book was a criticism of big business that profited from the war (e.g. munitions companies), and was published in 1941 under the pseudonym, The Pied Piper. He wrote his second book, Passed to You, Please, in 1942 in a Huddersfield nursing home where he underwent an operation shortly before he enlisted in the navy. This book was a criticism of the bureaucracy, red-tape and inefficiencies of the Civil Service.
During his naval service in Portsmouth he met Rita Tinn (Harriet Rita Riddle Tinn) who was an officer in the Wrens (Women’s Royal Naval Service). Rita was the daughter of Jack Tinn, manager of Portsmouth Football Club, and prior to the War Rita had worked as her father’s Secretary, where she was the only female executive in football at the time. Mallalieu and Rita were marred in 1945 shortly before the General Election took place on 5 July. They went on to have two children; Ann Mallalieu (later Baroness Mallalieu QC) was born on 27 November 1945 and was Christened at the House of Commons in the same year (photos of this occassion can be found within the archive); and Ben Mallalieu, who wrote the tailpiece to his father’s final book On Larkhill.
JPW Mallalieu left the navy as a Lieutenant to fight the General Election as the Labour candidate for Huddersfield. Throughout the election campaign JPW and Rita Mallalieu stayed with Arthur Gardiner who was Secretary for the Huddersfield Labour Party and Mallalieu’s agent and friend. Upon opening his election campaign at Northumberland Street School in June 1945, Mallalieu declared that ‘I have not the slightest intention of sailing under any false colours. I am a Socialist, and it is as a Socialist and nothing else that I am going to ask for your votes on July 5.’ Mallalieu won the election, achieving the biggest swing of votes in the country, converting the previous Liberal majority of 13,000 into a 9,000 majority for Labour. On the day that the result was announced he addressed a crowd in Huddersfield’s Beast Market estimated to be 20,000 strong.
Of his work in Clement Atlee’s post war government (1945-1951) Mallalieu said that it was ‘A really exciting period… we had a tremendous programme and we worked steadily through that torrent of legislation. I suppose it really spoiled us. There was nothing like it again… I remember one week when we had three all-nighters in a row. One evening I went on to the Commons Terrace for a breath of fresh air, sat down on one of the benches and was awakened next morning by the sound of traffic going across Westminster Bridge. It was 11am, and I suddenly realised I had slept on the terrace all night!’ (Interview published in many national newspapers on 14 Aug 1978).
Upon reaching parliament Mallalieu gravitated to the left of the party, often following the movements of Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, which sometimes brought him into conflict with the rest of the party. After voting against the Ireland Bill in 1947, he was sacked as Private Secretary to John Strachey, Ministry of Food. He also found himself in conflict with a large section of the Party in 1953 when in an article for The Tribune he suggested that many Labour MPs only pretended to agree with left-wing policies in public but secretly voted with the right wing of the Party in parliament. He argued that to prevent this Labour MPs should vote on policy decisions by voice rather than secret ballot, which was against Labour Party rules. This resulted in an NEC meeting to discuss whether he should be expelled from the Party, but Mallalieu managed to retain his position by apologising for his comments.
JPW Mallalieu went onto be Member of Parliament for Huddersfield 1945-1950, and then for Huddersfield East, 1950-1979, following boundary changes to the Kirklees area. In 1964 Labour won the General Election for the first time in 13 years, and Harold Wilson appointed Mallalieu to various ministerial positions over the course of his term. First Junior Navy Minister (1964-1966) and then Minister of Defence for the Royal Navy (1966-1967), before being appointed Minister of State at the Board of Trade (1967-1968) and the Ministry of Technology (1968-1969). During his time as Minister of State at the Board of Trade, Mallalieu instituted new safety measures for merchant shipping and trawlers at a time when ships were being constantly lost at sea. These measures centred around the idea of having a “mother” ship in the middle of any shipping fleet that was captained by a naval officer who had the authority to return ships back to port if the weather became too dangerous.
Throughout his political career Mallalieu continued as a writer and journalist. In the 1950s he continued writing sporting essays for the Spectator and wrote political commentaries for the Tribune and the New Statesman. On radio he was a regular member of the Any Questions? panel for over 20 years, and on television he was one of the first members of the Tonight team and one of the four regular presenters of What the Papers Say on Granada TV during the 1950s. He also went on to publish four more books, Sporting Days, 1955, and Very Ordinary Sportsman, 1957, were collections of some of his favourite sporting essays, while Extraordinary Seaman, 1957, was a biography of Captain Lord Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald who had a successful and eventful career within the British, Chilean and Brazilian navies during the 19th century.
Mallalieu’s final book was On Larkhill, an autobiography that covers the years of his life before he became an MP. Mallalieu died before he could complete the first draft of the book but it was published posthumously in 1983. According to Ben Mallalieu’s Tailpiece to the work, his father’s intention for the book was to ‘write about his times and his background and what had led him to be standing in the 1945 election as a candidate on the left wing of the Labour Party.’ (On Larkill, p. 206)
JPW Mallalieu retired in 1979 after nearly 34 years in Parliament and was knighted in James Callaghan’s resignation honours list. He is Huddersfield’s second longest serving MP (after Barry Sheerman), having kept his seat through all eight General Elections that took place since 1945. He held his 397th and final surgery for constituents on 6 June 1979 in the Labour Rooms, Station Street, Huddersfield. Mallalieu was appointed the first Freeman of Kirklees on 27 Jan 1980 in a ceremony that took place in the Great Hall at Huddersfield Polytechnic University. He was also made a life member of the Press Club, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Huddersfield Branch of the NUJ. He was a keen sportsman, playing cricket until he was 58, for both the Lords and Commons teams, his Buckinghamshire village (Ickford), and he organised the Tribune v Statesman matches. He was also a dedicated fan of both Huddersfield Town Football Club and Yorkshire Cricket Club.
Joseph Percival William Mallalieu died on 13 March 1980. The address at his funeral was given by Michael Foot, MP, who had been a very close friend of Mallalieu’s throughout his literary and political career.
The acquisition of the Robert Blatchford Collection by the University Archives and Special Collections service demonstrates an on-going commitment to building political resources of both local and international significance at the University of Huddersfield. Robert Peel Glanville Blatchford (1851-1943) grew up in Halifax, and was a soldier, patriot, author and journalist who founded the weekly socialist newspaper The Clarion in 1891. Blatchford’s political beliefs created tensions within the International Labour Party, and his views on subjects including education, religion and war continued to be controversial throughout his life, even to his supporters, and may have influenced the unstable readership history of the Clarion throughout the early twentieth century. More than just a newspaper, it generated a dynamic ‘Clarion Movement’, through which socialist Britons formed social clubs embracing activities from cycling to Scouts, some of which have endured to the present day. An activist driven by his own beliefs, rather than bound by organisational loyalties, in the 1920s Blatchford became disillusioned with labour and eventually voted Conservative. Defiantly atheist, after a number of personal tragedies he turned to Spiritualism. He was also a steadfast patriot, and his love for his country is reflected throughout his work.
The archive relates to Blatchford’s professional and personal life, and includes a long, affectionate and witty correspondence with his two daughters about the personal and political issues of the day, and correspondence received by the sisters upon his death in 1943. It also contains copies of his books and publications, and a large number of articles written by or about him on his beliefs, from Socialism to Spiritualism and the impending threat from Germany during the 1930s. The collection comes to the university following the recent success of the second annual JH Whitley lecture in political history, and joins a core of important political archives reflecting the work of local MPs and the history of the Labour party and socialist politics in nineteenth and twentieth century West Yorkshire.
The collection was deposited by Lord David Clark, Baron Clark of Windermere, a former MP for the Colne Valley and previously a Senior Lecturer in Politics for the University of Huddersfield. Once catalogued, the collection will be available for consultation from Summer 2014 by appointment with the university archives.