Papers of Harry Wicks (1905-1989), Trotskyist

Scope and Content

Autobiographical papers; articles, speeches and writings of Wicks, correspondence, study notes, Communist and Trotskyist publications, Labour Party publications, journals etc.

Administrative / Biographical History

Harry Wicks was born in Battersea on 16 August 1905. He started work on the railways in 1919, where he was influenced by the political debates of fellow workers. Wicks initially joined the local Herald League, which, after sending delegates to the founding conference of the Communist Party in 1920, became the Battersea branch of the CP. During the early / mid 1920s, Harry Wicks was on the Southern District Council of the National Union of Railwaymen and produced and distributed the Communist railwaymen's paper the 'Victoria Signal'.

In 1926, after suffering victimisation for his active participation in the General Strike, Wicks was elected to the Executive of the Young Communist League (YCL). The following year he was selected, through the YCL, to study at the International Lenin School (ILS) in Moscow, where he operated under the pseudonym Jack Tanner. After his return from Moscow in 1930, Wicks became involved with the Left Opposition and was expelled from the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1932 along with Reg Groves, and later Stuart Purkiss, B Williams and Henry Sara. In Nov-Dec 1932, Wicks was sent as the delegate of the British Section of the Left Opposition to meet Trotsky in Copenhagen.

Harry Wicks continued to be involved with the Trotskyist movement for the rest of his life, becoming, at various points, a member of the Communist League, the Marxist League, the Labour Party (between 1934-9), the Socialist Anti-War Front, the Independent Labour Party, and the International Socialists. Harry Wicks died on 26 March 1989.


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.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Acquisition Information

The first part of this collection was deposited in the Centre by Harry Wicks in 1975.

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.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

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


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' papers (MSS.172).

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.