The Haston archive represents a major source for scholars of the modern British Left. It effectively catalogues the numerous fratricidal, ideological and tactical disputes which were so characteristic of the movement during Haston's lifetime. Whilst the collection contains material from the 1920s to the 1960s, it is most important for the period from about 1935 to 1950, particularly with respect to the Workers' International League and the Revolutionary Communist Party. The material present includes: minutes, internal party bulletins circulated to members, conference documents, broadsheets, memoranda and correspondence. There is an important file containing accounts, minutes and correspondence of the Trotsky Defence Committee between 1936 and 1938. This includes letters from Bertrand Russell and HG Wells.
The fusion discussions between the Revolutionary Socialist League and the WIL of 1943-44 and the fusion conference of March 1944 are well documented. Another RCP file concerns proposals made between December 1945 and June 1946 that allegations made at the Moscow show trials of 1936-37 (about Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev and other 'Old Bolsheviks') should be tested at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals. Correspondents on this subject include Clement Attlee, Arthur Koestler, George Orwell and Natalia Sedora-Trotsky, Trotsky's widow. Other British groups represented in the collection include: the Militant Group, the Militant Labour League, the Revolutionary Workers' League and the Marxist League. There are files on many overseas countries, including France, Germany, Greece, India and Ireland. Much of the overseas material concerns the United States of America - specifically the Minneapolis Sedition Trial of 1944. Apart from Haston, leading figures represented in the collection include: Ted Grant, Gerry Healy, Albert Goldman, Felix Morrow and Max Schachtman. Perhaps one of the most interesting documents in the whole collection is the original typescript of the only play ever written by the distinguished West Indian writer CLR James. James was born in Trinidad in 1901 and moved to England in 1932. He became a leading member of the Trotskyist movement. The inspiration for his play 'Toussaint L'Ouverture' was the revolt in 1800 led by the black slaves of French San Domingo (now Haiti). They were led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, who later died in a French prison. The play was first produced by the Stage Society in 1936 with James' friend Paul Robeson taking the lead. The Haston collection contains what appears to be the earliest typewritten draft of the play, comprising 109 leaves, with annotations