Papers of Alan Thornett (b.1937), trade unionist and Trotskyist

Scope and Content

The Alan Thornett papers include Transport and General Workers' Union Oxford District Committee minutes, 1970-85; Transport and General Workers' Union branch 5/55 minutes, 1967-74; shop stewards' collecting books, 1963-76; correspondence files, 1957-88; motor industry publications, 1962-85; political publications, 1969-82; motor industry agreements, 1967-82; press-cuttings, 1951-81.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alan Thornett was born in 1937 and worked at the Cowley Morris plant from 1959 until 1982. He became a shop steward in 1963 and the Transport and General Workers' Union deputy convenor for the plant in 1967. Four years later, Alan Thornett was elected to the Midlands regional committee of the Transport and General Workers' Union. In addition, he served as chairman of the Transport and General Workers' Union 5/55 branch and of the Joint Shop Stewards' Committee. Alan Thornett became a national figure in the 1970s, when he became known as the "mole" at British Leyland, and he was a founder member of the Workers Socialist League, which broke away from the Workers Revolutionary Party in 1974.

Reference: Alan Thornett, 'Inside Cowley: trade union struggle in the 1970s: who really opened the door to the Tory onslaught?' (London, 1998).

Access Information

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

Other Finding Aids

Custodial History

The Alan Thornett papers were deposited in the Modern Records Centre by Alan Thornett in 1998.