The Papers of Alison Macleod

Scope and Content

The papers of Alison Macleod provide the raw material for her book, The Death of Uncle Joe. Focused on the Communist Party, c1956-1957, they consist of draft manuscripts, notes of discussions in the Daily Worker office, newspaper cuttings, articles, journals, pamphlets and bulletins. Communist activities and campaigns are reflected upon through material relating to other Communist Party members. The material spans through to the 1990's with book reviews and newspaper cuttings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alison Macleod, TV critic for the Daily Worker (1956) was born 12 April 1920. She is the daughter of Winifred Fairfield, one of 3 suffragette sisters, her sisters being Dr Letitia Fairfield and Cicily Isabel Fairfield (better known as Rebecca West). Alison was educated at Westcliffe High School for Girls and then at various art schools.

Joined Unity Theatre 1938 and then the Communist Party. She wanted to become a writer. She held various roles during the war:1939, women's land army; 1941, ambulance attendant for Bristol civil defence; 1942, shipyard welder.

In 1944 she joined the staff of the Daily Worker (The Communist Party's daily newspaper) and remained there for 12 years. The story of her parting with the paper in 1956 is written in her book, The Death of Uncle Joe .

She has written 6 historical novels: The Heretics (London, 1965); The Trusted Servant (London, 1972); No Need of the Sun (London, 1971); The Muscovite (London, 1971); The Jesuit (London, 1972) and The Portingale (London, 1976). She later worked on other newspapers: The Times Business News and Euromoney.

Married (1) James Hackshaw in 1945; (2) Jack Selford in 1950. She has one daughter to each husband.


The papers have been arranged into the following series: Draft notes relating to The Death of Uncle Joe and The Daily Worker; Related Communists and campaigns; Newspapers and cuttings; Journals; Book extracts and articles; Leaflets, pamphlets bulletins and letters; Reports; Book reviews.

Access Information

Access by appointment, please email

Acquisition Information

Deposited 1 December 2003 with the Labour History Archive and Study Centre by Alison Macleod.


Collection level description created by Joanne Fitton, January 2004.

Other Finding Aids

An index to the collection is available in the Labour History Archive and Study Centre reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Appraisal Information

No further appraisal, destruction or scheduling is expected to take place.

Custodial History

Papers held by Alison Macleod until she deposited them with the Labour History Archive and Study Centre.


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC) holds the central records of the Communist Party of Great Britain along with the personal papers of other prominent Communists including Harry Pollitt, Wal Hannington and Rajani Palme Dutt. The LHASC, also holds large amounts of CPGB publications (pamphlets, leaflet and election material) as well as Communist newspapers.

The People's History Museum holds the Communist Party picture collection and CPGB artefacts and ephemera including a bug planted by MI5 at the CPGB's headquarters.

The Working Class Movement Library in Salford, which was established by two Communist bibliophiles, Ruth and Eddie Frow, holds a vast amount of printed material relevant to British Communism, as does the Marx Memorial Library in London.


Macleod, Alison, The Death of Uncle Joe (1997).