Papers of Harry Wicks

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The study notes Wicks acquired at the International Lenin School in Moscow form a large part of the collection. The notes are of great interest as, although many of the works translated for students have been published at other times, the collected notes are indicative of the training which was regarded as necessary for a leading Communist militant at that period.

Minimum and maximum reading lists were constructed, based mostly on extracts from larger works. Each subject was sub-divided and a student would be responsible for preparing the work on one or more subdivisions. Major subjects taught included marxian economics, the history of the Russian Communist Party, the history of the European labour movement and party structure and philosophy. Work was intensive and each term ended with a character assessment of the student.

Included in the papers are notes on publications by L. D. Trotsky, and the selection of material indicates something of official Soviet thinking on Trotsky's position at this time.

In 1983 Harry Wicks donated further material to the Centre. The later deposit includes his writings, study notes and correspondence regarding Communism and Trotskyism, 1940s-80s, and his collection of journals, pamphlets and ephemera concerning Labour, Communist and Trotskyist politics, 1920s-1970s

Harry Wicks died 26 March 1989. An obituary, written by Logie Barrow was published in the The Guardian, (31 March 1989, p33.).

Administrative / Biographical History

Harry Wicks (1905-1989) joined the Communist Party in 1920. He worked on Victoria Station, London and was editor of a railwaymen's paper the  Victoria Signal. Wicks was influenced at work by an I.L.P. signal man called Harry Manning. In 1926 he was elected to the Central Committee of the Young Communist League and in the following year he was selected to study at the International Lenin School (I.L.S.) in Moscow. The I.L.S. as a privileged training school for Communist militants. During his time in Moscow he operated under the pseudonym Jack Tanner. At the I.L.S duplicated study notes were issued to each student and when Wicks returned to England in 1930 he brought the study notes home with him. On his return from Moscow Wicks became involved with the Left Opposition and was expelled from the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1932 along with Reg Groves, and later Stuart Purkiss, B Williams and Henry Sara. Harry Wicks continued to be involved with the Trotskyist movement for the rest of his life. He later became a member of the Workers League.

Reference: H. Dewar, Communist politics in Britain: the CPGB from its origins to the Second World War (London, 1976).

Reference: R. Groves, The Balham Group (London, 1974).

Reference: H. Wicks, British Trotskyism in the Thirties in the International, vol. 1 no. 4, (1971).

Reference: H. Wicks, The General Strike (Worker's League Pamphlet, 1976).

Reference: H. Wicks, Notes on the History of Bolshevism (Marxist League Pamphlet, 1976).

Arrangement

The papers form two distinct sections: study notes acquired at the International Lenin School in Moscow; and writings, study notes, correspondence and publications regarding Communism and Trotskyism, 1920s-80s.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to these papers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by Harry Wicks in 1975.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this collection-level is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom. The International Lenin School study notes have been catalogued to file level and a copy in paper format is available for consultation in the Centre's searchroom and at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources. The second part of the papers have not been fully listed. Description of content is found in

Richard Storey & Janet Druker,  Guide to the Modern Records Centre  (Warwick, 1977, p 120-121).

Richard Storey & Alistair Tough,  Consolidated Guide to the Modern Records Centre  (Coventry, 1986, p 691).

Authority records exist for Wicks, Harry (GB 152 AAR1979), the Workers International League (GB 152 AAR1884), the Left Opposition (GB 152 AAR1980).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

No appraisal, destruction or scheduling has taken place with this collection.

Accruals

Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Researchers may also be interested in the papers of Henry Sara, and Frank Maitland (MSS.15) ;

Ken Tarbuck papers (MSS.75); D. D. Harber papers (MSS.151) ; Colin Barker /International Socialism papers (MSS.152) and Reg Groves's papers (MSS.17).

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, holds the papers of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Labour Party. Both collections include material on the Ultra Left. Harry Wicks was included in a the Communist Party of Great Britain biographical project conducted by the Department of Government, University of Manchester.

Corporate Names