Hull History CentreLiberty, Parity and Justice at the Hull History Centre

Ronald Kidd delivers National Council for Civil Liberties petition 'Civil Liberties Defended': case book of the National Council for Civil Liberties Secret Diplomacy, or the Masked Gambler
Photos copyright © Hull History Centre. These are links to larger images and additional information.

This month we are marking our 100th feature by highlighting descriptions for the records of pressure groups collections held by Hull History Centre. There are also links to selected websites and suggested reading.

The records of pressure groups and campaigns represent some of the most significant and substantial archives held by Hull University Archives, now located at Hull History Centre. It was John Saville, Professor of the University's Department of Economic Social History and editor of the Dictionary of Labour Biography, who established the University’s specialism in this area. Our first major collection - that of the Union of Democratic Control - was acquired in 1968, having been salvaged by John Saville from the bottom of a lift shaft in the UDC's former London offices. The number of holdings has grown and now numbers around 40 collections ranging from small, short-lived, local groups, such as the Beverley Minster open space campaign, to major continuing organisations such as The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Socialist Medical Association and Justice. Additional material from these continuing organisations is transferred regularly and we also seek to develop our collections by acquiring material from other, similar groups.

The most significant and substantial archive is from Liberty, founded in 1934 as the National Council for Civil Liberties. Subjects covered include anti-fascism; civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, race relations and miscarriages of justice: the archive really represents the continuing development of civil rights in Britain over the past 75 years.

Other types of groups represented are extremely varied, and include single-issue pressure groups such as the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, co-operative groups such as the Co-operative Women's Guild and religious groups, such as the Anglican Evangelical Group Movement. The University also holds records of 'ginger' groups associated with the Labour and Conservative Parties; friendship societies such as the China Campaign Committee; and individuals involved in groups and campaigns. Survival (and retention) rates for pressure group records are often very poor. Consequently, papers kept by individual members can often be quite significant, and occasionally represent the sole surviving records for some groups.

University of HullCollection descriptions

  • Liberty: campaigning organisation formed in 1934 as the National Council for Civil Liberties.
  • Parity: voluntary organisation formed in 1986 as the Campaign for Equal State Pension Ages, promoting equal rights for men and women.
  • Justice: British Section of the International Commission of Jurists; an all-party group of lawyers.
  • Association of British Counties: formed in 1989, a society promoting awareness of the continuing importance of the 86 historic (or traditional) counties of Great Britain.
  • Beverley Minster Open Space Campaign: the campaign to preserve the open space to the south of Beverley Minster began in the late 1970s.
  • British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection: founded in 1898, the BUAV campaigns for the welfare of animals and the development of humane scientific research.
  • International Women's Co-operative Guild: the International Guild of Cooperative Women was formed in 1921 at the International Cooperative Congress held in Switzerland that year; in 1963, this became a committee of the International Cooperative Alliance.
  • Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants: an independent charity founded in 1967 by a number of immigrant groups.
  • Socialist Medical Association: an organisation of socialist doctors, formed in 1930, now known as the Socialist Health Association.
  • Women's Cooperative Guild: formed in 1883 as The Woman's League for the Spread of Cooperation, later known as the Women's Cooperative Guild, now the Co-operative Women's Guild.
  • Chris Mullin (born 1947): before entering Parliament, Chris Mullin was a campaigning journalist and has a long record of support for civil liberties; this collection includes papers relating to miscarriages of justice.

Suggested reading

Links are provided to records on Copac for these items. The Copac library catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library. For more information about accessing items see the FAQs on the Copac website.

  • Liberty in Britain 1934-1994: a diamond jubilee history of the National Council for Civil Liberties by Brian Dyson (1994) Records on Copac
  • Your Rights - The Liberty Guide to Human Rights (8th edition) by Megan Addis and Penelope Morrow (2005) Records on Copac
  • Equalisation of State Pension Ages: the gender impact by Sandra Hutton, Steven Kennedy, Peter Whiteford (1995) Records on Copac
  • Righting Miscarriages of Justice? Ten years of the Criminal Cases Review Commission by Laurie Elks (2008) Records on Copac
  • Anvil: An Anglican evangelical journal for theology and mission [periodical] Records on Copac
  • County Atlases of the British Isles: published after 1703: a bibliography compiled by Donald Hodson (three volumes, 1984-1997) Records on Copac
  • Our Common Land: the law and history of common land and village greens by Paul Clayden (2007) Records on Copac
  • Vivisection in Historical Perspective edited by Nicolaas A Rupke (1990) Records on Copac
  • Buyers and Builders: a Jubilee Sketch of the Women's Cooperative Guild 1893-1933 by Evelyn Sharp (1933) Records on Copac
  • Immigration, Nationality & Refugee Law Handbook edited by Duran Seddon (2006 Edition) Records on Copac
  • Socialist Health Association Bulletin [periodical] Records on Copac
  • A View From the Foothills by Chris Mullin (2009) Records on Copac
  • 'Woman's Mission' and Pressure Group Politics in Britain (1825-60) by Alex Tyrrell (1980) Records on Copac
  • Pressure Groups by Duncan Watts (2007) Records on Copac
  • Pressure Groups in Britain, 1720-1970: an essay in interpretation with original documents by Graham Wootton (1974) Records on Copac

Related links

IntuteLinks have been reviewed and catalogued by Intute. Intute is a free online service that helps you to find the best web resources for your studies and research. With millions of resources available on the Internet, it can be difficult to find useful material. Intute subject specialists review and evaluate thousands of resources to help you choose the key websites in your subject. .

  • Hull History Centre: the Hull History Centre brings together the written heritage, staff and resources of Hull City Archives, Hull Local Studies Library and Hull University Archives to form a pioneering new joint service for the people of Hull Listed on Intute - best of the web
  • Women of Conviction at Hull University Archives: an online exhibition of biographies of individual women whose papers are held in Hull University Archives Listed on Intute - best of the web
  • DANGO: Database of Archives of Non-Governmental Organisations Listed on Intute - best of the web
  • Pressure groups: reviews of web resources by Intute.
  • Liberty: civil liberties organisation Listed on Intute - best of the web
  • Parity: charity campaigning for equal rights
  • Justice: human rights organisation Listed on Intute - best of the web

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