British Union of Fascists newspapers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This newspaper collection comprises of three different British Union of Fascists newspapers: 'Action', 'Fascist Week, and 'The Blackshirt'. The newspapers reported on activities of the British Union of Fascists in the UK, leading up to, and during the first part of the Second World War. Other issues that were also regularly reported on included unemployment, political situations at home and abroad, British farming, agriculture and industry. All the newspapers had a regular feature by, or about, Oswald Mosley. Articles about Jews and Jewish people, especially in the later 1930s editions, were a regular occurrence, with the strongest views being expressed in 'The Blackshirt'.

The advent of the Second World War, and the internment of Mosley and many other active fascists in Britain on 23 May 1940 under Defence Regulation 18B, had a big impact on the production of the newspapers. 'The Blackshirt' ceased publication in 1939, and the last edition of 'Action' was 6 June 1940.

Administrative / Biographical History

The following information was taken from the British Online Archives in March 2009:

'Action'

Ran from nos. 1-222 (1936-1940). First published on February 21 1936, this fascist weekly newspaper became the official organ of the British Union, continuing in publication until shortly after the internment of Sir Oswald Mosley on Thursday the 23rd of May 1940. The front page of the last available issue (no. 222, June 6 1940) states: "We regret to announce that further detentions during the past week have deprived us of the services of more valued assistance in the production of 'Action'."

'Fascist Week'

Published by the British Union of Fascists, this newspaper was later incorporated in Blackshirt in 1934.['Fascist Week' ran from number 1 (10 Nov 1933) to number 29 (31 May 1934). Information supplied by the depositor, taken from "Fascism in Britain" (An annotated bibliography) by Philip Rees, Dip. Lib., Head of Acquisitions, University of York Library (Harvester Press 1979)]

'The Blackshirt'

Initially a weekly, then a monthly, newspaper covering the period: February 1933-May 1939. From 1 June 1934, it incorporated the short-lived periodical, The Fascist week, and became styled under the title: 'The official organ of the British Union of Fascists'. No issues appeared between no. 247 (29 January 1938) and no. 248 (March 1938), when it changed to a monthly with the subtitle 'British Union News'. Issues no. 254 (September 1938) to no. 259 (March 1939) bear the title 'Blackshirt : southern' or 'Southern Blackshirt'. Issues no. 260-261 (April and May 1939), the last available, are entitled 'Blackshirt : East London'.

Arrangement

The newspapers have been arranged into three main series, being the different newspapers: 'Action', 'Fascist Week, and 'The Blackshirt'. A fourth series has been created for the special one off edition 'Crisis'.

The newspapers are boxed as follows in oversize boxes:

  • Box 1 - 'Action' issues 1-40 (December 1935-21 November 1936)
  • Box 2 - 'Action' issues 41-85 (28 November 1936-2 October 1937)
  • Box 3 - 'Action' issues 86-150 (9 October 1937-7 January 1939)
  • Box 4 - 'Action' issues 151-221 (14 January 1939-30 May 1940)
  • Box 5 - 'Fascist Week' issues 4-29 (1 December 1933-25 May 1934)
  • Box 6 - 'The Blackshirt' issues 6-135 (1 May 1933-22 November 1935)
  • Box 7 - 'The Blackshirt' issues 136 -259 (29 November 1935-March 1939); and 'Crisis', 1936

Conditions Governing Access

Access to all registered readers

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, March 2009.

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Director of Special Collections (email: special-collections@bham.ac.uk). Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Custodial History

The collection was given to Mr Wallder in 1989 by the late Robert Saunders, formerly District Leader of the British Union for Dorset West. Saunders became a foundation member of Mosley's post-War 'Union Movement' for which he was Wessex Constituency Organiser. During this period, he was a close colleague of Sir Oswald Mosley.

Related Material

Other collections held at Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections include

  • OMN Oswald Mosley Papers: Nicholas Mosley deposit
  • OMD Oswald Mosley Papers: Diana Mosley deposit
  • MS124 Papers of Jeffrey Hamm
  • MS196 Publications of post-war British Fascist movements

The British Online Archives has digitised editions of 'Action', 'Fascist Week', and 'Blackshirt'.