Papers of John Turner Walton Newbold: Collection-level Description

Scope and Content

Papers of the MP and political activist John Walton Newbold. The collection is currently unlisted, so any account of the contents is provisional. The collection includes a typescript of Newbold's unpublished memoirs, as well as some handwritten notes and correspondence on his career in the 1930s. Unpublished essays including 'Essays on the Catholic Church and politics'; notes on the armament industry, including typescripts for an intended book, Armaments and European Industry , diplomacy and grand strategy, papers relating to the (Macmillan) Committee on Finance and Industry, 1931, including Newbold's own memoranda; articles, pamphlets and cuttings collected by Newbold; letters to Newbold; notebooks on industrial capitalism and finance and a typescript on history of American capitalism.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the collection is Newbold's memoirs, which has been reassembled into its original order; see Robert Duncan, "The Papers of John Walton Turner Newbold, 1888-1943: an introductory guide", Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester , vol. 76, no. 2 (1994), pp. 195-203, for further details concerning its content.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Turner Walton Newbold was a Lancashire-born Quaker from a wealthy background, active in a number of radical causes during his lifetime. He was educated at Buxton College and the University of Manchester. In the earlier part of his life Newbold worked as an investigative journalist for the Independent Labour Party, studying the pre-1914 armaments industry. During the First World War, he became increasingly sympathetic to Marxism and was an outspoken defender of the Bolsheviks. He was also involved in the promotion of independent working class education through the Plebs League and the Labour College movements, and was active in the Left Wing Committee of the I.L.P and its campaign for membership of the Third International in 1920-1921.

Newbold enjoyed the distinction of being the first MP elected as a Communist in 1922 for Motherwell, (although he was elected with the backing of the Independent Labour Party). He lost his seat in 1923 and resigned from Communist Party in 1924. For the rest of his life, Newbold drifted slowly to the right, steadily accumulating enemies as he went. In 1929 he joined the Labour Government's Committee on Finance and Industry, and during the 1931 crisis he supported Ramsay Macdonald and Snowden . In the 1931 election he acted as agent to J H Thomas, a supporter of the National Government. Soon after Newbold joined the National Labour Party, but quickly resigned from this body. It appears that by 1935 he was prepared to support Winston Churchill's independent Conservative candidature at Epping Forest. As a result, Newbold became a somewhat discredited figure in labour and socialist movements; this isolation was no doubt accelerated by a personality variously described as 'rude and insensitive, difficult, awkward, caustic, insufferable, intellectually arrogant, eccentric (and) lacking in political judgment.' (Robert Duncan, "The Papers of John Walton Turner Newbold, 1888-1943: an introductory guide", Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester , vol. 76, no. 2 (1994), p.197).


The Newbold papers have not yet been arranged into series.

Access Information

Collection is open to any accredited reader, unless subject to closure under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998.

The collection may contain personal data about living individuals, and readers are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 in their use of the material. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The John Rylands University Library (JRUL) holds the right to process such personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the JRUL to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, the JRUL has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately.

Other Finding Aids

Outline list.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Related Material

Newbold's letters to the Labour Party activists, James and Lucy Middleton, are part of the Middleton collection at Ruskin College, Oxford. His correspondence with Morgan Phillips Price, 1924-31, is in the Price Papers at Gloucestershire Record Office, (ref: D5755).


For an introduction to Newbold's papers, see Robert Duncan, "The Papers of John Walton Turner Newbold, 1888-1943: an introductory guide'" Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester , vol. 76, no. 2 (1994), pp. 195-203.