Sound recordings and transcriptions of interviews by Joan Smith of Harry McShane, Marxist activist

Scope and Content

These interviews were conducted by Joan Smith for McShane's autobiography, 'Harry McShane: No mean fighter' (London: Pluto Press, 1978).

Administrative / Biographical History

Harry McShane was born in Glasgow on 7 May 1891. Like his close colleague John Maclean, whom he joined in opposing the First World War, he was a member of the British Socialist Party but, unlike Maclean, he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1922. He was also involved with the Tramp Trust Unlimited, which was formed by Maclean to campaign for a minimum wage, a six-hour day and other socialist policies.

In the 1930s he led a number of hunger marches organised by the the National Unemployed Workers' Movement. In 1953 he left the CPGB over disagreements with its leadership and joined the International Socialists in 1963, remaining a committed socialist until the end of his life. He worked as an engineer until his retirement at the age of 69. He died on 12 April 1988.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Joan Smith in December 1993.

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