Challen, Colin (MP) Archive

Scope and Content

Material relating to Colin Challen's issues of interest, work as a local Labour councillor and regional organiser for Labour, and as MP for Morley and Rothwell.

Includes many left-wing publications, documents from the central Labour Party and other material.

The archive is comprised of 8 series as follows:

CHN/1 issues of interest, particularly the environment and the radical press

CHN/2 Kingston upon Hull City Councillor

CHN/3 Labour party regional organiser

CHN/4 MP for Morley and Rothwell

CHN/5 Scarborough Borough Councillor

CHN/6 left-wing publications

CHN/7 central Labour party

CHN/8 Yorkshire Consituency Labour Parties [Jan 2019: this series will be catalogued in further detail in 2020]

Administrative / Biographical History

Colin Challen was born in Scarborough 12/6/1953 and worked as a supplier accountant for the Royal Air Force in 1971 before becoming a postman in 1974. He completed a philosophy degree at the University of Hull in 1983, setting up as a printer and publisher in 1982 running the "Hull Free Press" also known as the Hull Community Press. Challen wrote several pamphlets on civil defence, green issues and was an activist and campaigner before becoming a paid organiser for the Labour Party in 1984.

In 1986 he was elected as a Councillor for the Newlands ward [possibly also Avenue??] in Kingston upon Hull (until 1994).

After being selected for the Beverley parliamentary consituency in 1990 Challen was not elected MP in the 1992 election; he was elected MP for Morley and Rothwell (Leeds) in 2001, serving as an MP until the 2010 general election in which parts of his constituency were merged with Normanton into the new Morley and Outwood constituency. During his time as an MP Challen founded the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change in 2005.

In 2011 Challen was elected a Labour member of Scarborough Borough Council for Castle ward, and was elected leader of the Scarborough & Whitby Labour Party in 2014 having previously been deputy. He stood for election in the Derwent Valley ward (Scarborough Borough Council) in 2015 but was defeated.

Challen now works as an artist in Scarborough exhibiting regularly.

Published sources for career up to 2011:;;

Post 2011:

Some information above obtained from the collection.


A list prepared by Colin Challen accompanied the material on transfer to Heritage Quay; however the physical arrangement of the materials did not correspond entirely to the list. Arrangement has been undertaken by the Heritage Quay team during Jan 2019 along with description following "more product less process" principles.

Access Information

Original available for consultation by appointment. Some records contain personal data relating to living individuals. The original may be made available for individual consultation if the following terms have been met:

- the Heritage Quay supervisor is satisfied that the researcher is consulting the records for historical research purposes only and will not cause substantial damage or distress to any subject of the records

- the researcher has been alerted to the Data Protection principles that they must follow

- the researcher has signed a Researcher Undertaking form

It may be possible to provide a redacted copy of a record if certain sections contain data that is not suitable for production.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Mostly good condition, large quantity of photocopied, typescript and printed material as well as published magazines.

Appraisal Information

During Jan 2019 as part of the archival processing of the collection the following material was disposed of:

- duplicate copies of election materials from other wards and constituencies (CHN/3/1) - approx. 3 boxes

- copies of registers of electors for Hull, 1980s-1990s

Custodial History

Transferred from Colin Challen.