Ellen Wilkinson Papers

Scope and Content

The collection comprises five volumes of press cuttings, 1924-1936; a copy of a novel by Ellen Wilkinson called Clash, 1929, along with a letter from the publisher and three from readers; two files, one on the Labour Party Conference, the other on the Jarrow March, both October 1936.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ellen Wilkinson (1891-1947) was born in Manchester and educated at Ardwick School. She later studied history at Manchester University. In 1912 she became a member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) and the following year was recruited as a district organizer. She was also an active trade unionist, member of the Fabian Society and a pacifist.

In the 1924 General Election she was elected to represent Middlesborough East. In the 1931 election Wilkinson opposed the National Government formed by MacDonald and as a result lost her seat. She re-entered Parliament as MP for Jarrow in the 1935 General Election. Jarrow had one of the worst unemployment records in Britain. In 1936 Wilkinson organised a march of 200 unemployed workers from Jarrow to London where she presented a petition to parliament. Wilkinson later wrote an account of the Jarrow Crusade and its outcome called The Town That Was Murdered (1939).

Following the 1945 General Election Wilkinson was appointed as Minister of Education. She died on 6 February 1947.


The press cuttings are arranged chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access

Access by appointment.

Acquisition Information

The collection was probably donated to the Labour Party library. The date of transfer is not recorded. In 1990 The Labour Party deposited its archive at the People's History Museum (formerly National Museum of Labour History) in Manchester. The collection is now held at the Labour History Archives and Study Centre, which is based at the head office of the People's History Museum and managed by the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.


Collection level description created for the Archives Hub by Janette Martin.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is listed to file level. A paper handlist is available in the search room. An electronic version of the handlist can be accessed at http://www.a2a.pro.gov.uk/.

Alternative Form Available

The Ellen Wilkinson papers are also available on microfilm. Primary Sources Media (Gale Group).

Conditions Governing Use

Standard reprography conditions apply and are available on request from the archive.

Custodial History

The provenance of the press cuttings is unknown but may be taken to be the office of Ellen Wilkinson.


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre also holds files of press cuttings on Ellen Wilkinson.

In the Communist Party of Great Britain collection there is correspondence between R. Palme Dutt and Ellen Wilkinson, 1923-27.

Material relating to Ellen Wilkinson will also be found elsewhere the Labour Party Archive.