Papers of Alexander Neil, teacher and political activist, 1904-1998

Scope and Content

The autobiography begins with a description of Alex Neil's childhood in Dennistoun, Glasgow, Scotland. He describes games and songs that were popular among children at the time. The chapters on Neil's school days mainly consist of descriptions of the pupils and teachers he met including John Rankin, a teacher who was arrested as a conscientious objector and later became a Labour MP. The chapters dealing with his time at the  University of Glasgow and  Jordanhill College are similar, describing lectures and fellow students. He also touches on the financial difficulties that he faced during his time at the University.

As well as descriptions of teachers and pupils, the chapters that deal with Alex Neil's teaching career also detail his successful efforts to start and maintain school libraries.

Throughout the autobiography Alex Neil also describes his involvement with Labour Party politics and those of his wife, Lysbeth, who was elected as a Labour councillor. Alex Neil also describes the difficulties he faced during his teaching career due to being both a Labour Party member and an atheist.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Neil , known as Alex, was born on  13 February 1904  in Dunchalten Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow, Scotland. He gained his MA in History from the University of Glasgow in 1925 before attending  Jordanhill College , Glasgow, where he received his teaching qualification in 1926. He taught at, and was rector of, various schools in Lanarkshire. He was awarded the OBE in 1958 and died in 1998.


The archive is arranged in the order in which it was deposited

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Gift from the family of Alex Neil : November 2000

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom.

Alternative Form Available

The family of Alex Neil have an additional copy of the autobiography

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

The accession only consists of one item

Custodial History

Held by the family of Alex Neil


None expected

Related Material

No related material


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

This material is original

The fonds level of description was compiled by Neil Hargreaves, Archives Assistant, 08 January 2001

Amended by Kirsty Menzies, Data Assistant, 06 April 2017.

Geographical Names