Personal Papers of Finlay Hart (1901-1989), Communist Party Councillor

Scope and Content

Papers collected by Finlay Hart in the course of his work in the Communist Party of Great Britain and his role as a Councillor for Clydebank. Includes documents related to housing and rent, industry and jobs, and election campaigns.

Administrative / Biographical History

Finlay Hart was born in Clydebank in 1901, and was educated at Clydebank High School before joining the William Beardmore and Company shipyard. While working at Beardmore in 1915, he joined the Workers International Industrial Union, and in 1917 - as part of the Red Clydeside movement - he joined the Socialist Labour Party. Hart was involved in establishing the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1920, and the Clydebank Communist Party in 1922.

Hart emigrated to Canada in 1923 in an attempt to find work. While there he joined the Communist Party of Canada, before returning to Clydebank in 1926. In 1934, Hart was a leading figure in a Glasgow to London hunger march. In 1935, he was elected as the first Communist Councillor in Clydebank, before resigning in 1937 to move to London and become National Industrial Organiser for the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Between 1935-1942, Hart held various District Secretary posts within the Party - in Scotland, the North Midlands, and South Yorkshire. He was also a delegate at the Seventh Congress of the Communist International in Moscow.

Hart stood for parliament on three occasions, West Dunbartonshire in 1950, and Glasgow Springburn in 1955 and 1959, but was never elected. During the 1950s, Hart served as Chairman of the Scottish Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Hart was subsequently re-elected to Clydebank Town Council, and also to Dunbartonshire County Council. He retired from his party posts in 1963, but later became Provost of Clydebank and participated in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in.

Finlay Hart died aged 88 in 1989.

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