Papers of Howard Hill

Scope and Content

The collection includes material relating to the Communist Party, with papers relating both to the International Communist Movement and the Communist Party in Yorkshire, particularly in the Sheffield and Rotherham areas. The records regarding Sheffield relate particularly to the Labour Party Movement in Sheffield during the late 20th Century, as well as notes on political parties, unemployment and mortality, and the steel industry of Sheffield. There are also a number of records relating to the countryside and rambling, which include Howard Hill's papers and notes aswell as press cuttings and publications.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Sheffield in 1913, Howard Hill entered the trade union and labour movement at an early age, and was a representative on Sheffield Trades and Labour Council. He trained as an electrician, working initially in various local collieries and steelworks. By the 1930s he was a member of the Independent Labour Party Guild of Youth in Sheffield, but within a few years had moved to the Young Communist League. He also became a keen rambler, joining the Pack Rambling Club in about 1931, and was a participant in the mass trespasses organised on Kinder Scout and elsewhere from 1932, which Hill later described in his book Freedom to roam (1980). By the late 1930s Hill was a member of both the Labour and Communist Parties and in 1938 was elected as a councillor for Sheffield Brightside, retaining the seat until 1946. He served in the Royal Air Force from 1939 until he was invalided out in 1943. He then became full-time secretary of the Sheffield Communist Party, remaining a Party official until his retirement in 1975. He was especially involved in the crisis caused within the Party by the events of 1956, and there is some important correspondence in the archive between John Gollan, CP General Secretary, Hill and Edward Thompson, including Thompson's letter explaining the political actions of the Reasoner group over the summer and autumn of 1956. Hill stood as Communist candidate for Sheffield Brightside in 1945, polling over 4000 votes. In six subsequent parliamentary elections he lost his deposit each time. He helped to form the Yorkshire District of the Communist Party and was a longserving committee member. In 1943 he left the Electricians' Trade Union for the Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union, for which he became a committee member and frequent branch representative. On his retirement in 1975 he became active in the Ramblers' Association and was elected to the Executive Committee of the Sheffield branch. He also turned his attention to the study of local trade unions and the working class. He died in 1980.


U DHH/1 Access to the countryside and rambling, 1844 - 1980

U DHH/2 Communist Party, 1941 - 1979

U DHH/3 Sheffield, 1879 - 1980

U DHH/4 Miscellaneous, 1886 - 1980

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Other Finding Aids

Entries in Modern political papers and Pressure group archives subject guides, and in John Saville, The labour archive (1989)

Custodial History

Donated January 1983


Howard Hill, Freedom to roam (Ashbourne; Moorland Publishing, 1980)