Picture: war-time Daily Worker editorial meeting with Allen Hutt, Bill Rust, J R Campbell and Ivor Montagu
Born in 1901, Allen Hutt began writing for the Communist Party’s journals shortly after the General Strike. He joined the Daily Worker from its first issue as a journalist. Throughout, he was a prolific writer of pamphlets and books and was a life-long Communist.
In 1948, when Hutt was writing for Reynold’s News, he became the part-time editor of the National Union of Journalists paper, `The Journalist’ and continued in this role for 23 years. A long-term member of the union’s executive, he was NUJ President for the 1967-68 term.
He was the chief sub-editor of the Daily Worker for very many years and was highly regarded as an authority on newspaper design. Under his guidance, the paper repeatedly won the annual newspaper design award.
In later life, Hutt was married to Avis the widow of Ruscoe Clarke (see separate entry), during a period when she was training to teach nursing studies.
By the account of a reader who met Alan Hutt in this period, he was “a lively and intelligent man, with a wonderful collection of antique books about Russia”. This correspondent reports that Hutt read some extracts to him from these books, in which a sixteenth century Bishop noted on his visit that the Russians were ‘much given to buggery’!
Allen Hutt’s son – a gynaecologist by trade – later doubled up as Hank Wangford, the spoof country and western singer, who presented the “A-Z of Country Music” documentary series for Channel 4.
Alan Hutt retired in 1966 and died in 1973.
Publications by Alan Hutt:
`Communism and Coal’ with Arthur Horner (1928)
`Hunger! the bread-and-butter issues of the workers’ united front’
`The condition of the working class in Britain’ (1933)
`Crisis on Clydeside’ (1934)
`This Final Crisis’ (1935)
`The Post-war History of the British Working Class’ (1937)
`Outline of Newspaper Typography’ (NUJ 1952)
`Newspaper Design’ (OUP 1960)
`British Trade Unionism – A Short History’ (Lawrence and Wishart 1975)
An example of Hutt’s writing follows: he describes a visit to Merthyr in 1933:
"With his wife and two children he lives in one-half of a house, which costs him seven shillings a week in rent. The house has not been repaired for fourteen years. Its windows do not shut tight, and it is damp. The lavatory is thirty yards away from the house, at the top of the adjacent yard. There is one water-tap for both families. This family’s income is the father’s unemployment benefit of 27 shillings and 3d (thruppence); after paying rent they have roughly a pound left to live on. Coal costs them half-a-crown a week.
This is their normal daily menu: Breakfast – toast, margarine, tea. Dinner – a few pennyworth of meat and potatoes, an onion, bread and tea. Supper – same as breakfast. Fresh milk is unknown in this family, who consume four tins of a cheap brand of skimmed condensed milk a week. It is not surprising that the eldest child was found to be suffering from malnutrition and was developing tubercular glands."