Greater Manchester Collection of Steve Cohen, lawyer and anti deportation campaigner, 1975-1996

Scope and Content

The collection consists of memorabilia from about over 70 anti deportation and immigration campaigns fought in Greater Manchester. Major campaigns are:

  • Viraj Mendis
  • Nasira Begum
  • Anwar Ditta
  • Rahman family
  • Khan family
  • Okolo family
  • Okanlami family
  • Decardi Nelson family
  • Anderson family

  • 7 boxes (20.5 x 33 x 7.5 centimetres) containing:
    • 250 leaflets
    • 90 press cuttings
    • 20 reports and journals
    • 80 newsletters
    • 8 videos, 2 dvds, 1 cd-rom
    • 2 banners, 2 tshirts
    • correspondance
  • 2 boxes (62 x 52 x 7.5 centimetres) containing:
    • 16 placards
    • 80 posters
  • 1 box (79 x 58.5 x 7.5 inches) containing 60 posters
  • 1 box (34 x 29 x 6.5 centimetres) containing 80 photographs
  • 1 box (19 x 14 x 6.5 inches) containing 16 badges

See our online catalogue for further details

Administrative / Biographical History

Steve Cohen studied law at Oxford University as an undergraduate and then gained his masters from Birmingham University. He practiced as an immigration lawyer in the South Manchester Law Centre and as director of the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit for over 30 years.

He is politically opposed to immigration controls in their totality and has been involved in many anti deportation and immigration campaigns. Since having to retire from work through illness he has been active in forming and developing the No One is Illegal Group which campaigns against immigration controls.

He has been published extensively and his works include: Immigration controls, the family and the welfare state ,(London:Jessica Kingsley Publishers) No One is illegal (Stoke-on-Trent:Trentham Books Ltd), Standing on the shoulders of Fascism , (Stoke-on-Trent:Trentham Books Ltd)


The collection is divided into series:

  • Artefacts
  • Banners/Placards
  • Correspondence
  • Journals
  • Leaflets
  • Newsletters
  • Petitions
  • Photographs
  • Posters
  • Press cuttings
  • Reports
  • Videos

Within each series the collection is divided into campaigns.

Each campaign is filed according to date.

Access Information

24 hours notice is required to view this collection. Material will then be accessible through Manchester Central Library Search Room, Manchester Central Library, St Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD. To access this collection please: Contact the archive

Some items within the collection are access restricted please contact the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre for details.

Other Finding Aids

Searchable access database at the centre

Alternative Form Available

Some copies exist in the local studies section of the library

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements


Archivist's Note

Description written by Julie Devonald, Project Manager, June 2008

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying may be available but permission must be gained from staff

Appraisal Information

Some material had to be destroyed due to mould. Duplicates have been removed.


More material is expected especially concerning Viraj Mendis and Anwar Ditta

Related Material

Manchester Archives and Local Studies, Central Reference library, Manchester: Bishop of Manchester collection - Viraj Mendis files (M289/7071) Restricted access

Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre: Vinod Chauhan campaign (DD289)>


Cohen, Steve No One is Illegal (Stoke-on-Trent:Trentham Books Ltd)

Dissertation: Angel, Luke A case against immigration controls: anti-deportation campaigns in 1980's Britain (Manchester University)

Personal Names