Morgan Marguerite (Green)

Marguerite Morgan

Marguerite Morgan (formerly Green, nee Renard) was born in Streatham, London in 1915 and died in Tywyn, Wales in 2001. Marguerite grew up in London. She went to a convent school where she was a close friend of Joan Littlewood (of Theatre Workshop fame). While at the school they both formed a `clandestine Bolshevik cell’ as an expression of adolescent rebellion and an early commitment to left-wing ideas. She left school with only the Matric (O-level equivalent) and, after completing a secretarial course, took various secretarial jobs. In the meantime the Spanish Civil War had broken out and she became passionately involved in the support movement for Republican Spain and also joined the Communist Party.

One secretarial job she had just before the outbreak of the Second World War was with British Aluminium at a factory near Banbury, but this was very short lived. She was sacked after only a few days by a reluctant manager who confessed he’d been contacted by MI5 and told to sack her (the company worked on military contracts).

She then decided to change career and become a nurse. During her traineeship and while living in hospital accommodation, the matron saw that she had a picture of Stalin on her wall and, once more, she was summarily sacked. She moved to Coventry where she met her first husband, Norman Green, before being evacuated to Madeley in Shropshire, after their house had been flattened by a Nazi bomb, and where they both became active in building the Party there, working for broad-based action and co-operation with the Labour Party, other progressives and even the local church. She was so respected, that the local vicar actually asked her if she would be willing to take Sunday school for the local children – as a convinced atheist, she politely declined.

On returning to Coventry and having three children, she decided to go to college as a mature student and become a teacher. Her first teaching appointment after completing her training was at Stoke Secondary Modern School for girls. Before her arrival there, the headmistress had all the staff together and warned them that "a Communist was arriving to join the staff and they should beware her influence"!

At the school, her diligence and commitment as a teacher was soon widely recognised. Her support for the girls, encouraging them to have faith in their own abilities and to reject the widely accepted cliche that pupils at Secondary Modern schools were `failures and not brainy’ produced results. She managed to get a number of them through O levels as well as `A’ levels and several went on to university -unheard of achievements for Secondary Modern kids in those days.

In Coventry she was active in the Party at branch, city and district levels, serving on the West Midlands district committee for some years. She was a co-initiator of, and activist in, the Coventry Peace Committee, working closely with CND and other local peace activists and was later involved in setting up the Coventry Council for Reconciliation which, with church involvement, became a significant force in promoting peace internationally. Coventry went on to set up twinning links with other bombed cities of Eastern Europe like Lidice, Stalingrad and Dresden.

After two decades teaching in Coventry, she took part in a summer course in the GDR for teachers of English and was asked if she’d like to move to the GDR on a more permanent basis to teach English there to student teachers. She agreed and moved to the GDR in 1965. While out there she met her second husband-to-be, Dave Morgan, a party comrade from Bristol. Both spent over twenty years in the GDR, where they not only taught but also were politically active in the small party group of British ex-patriates and in the GDR’s own Communist Party, the SED.

Shortly after the collapse of the GDR, with the triumphalism of the West and a successive demolition of all the GDR’s achievements, they decided in 1990 to return to Britain. Now both retired in terms of salaried work, neither retired though from political work. The remained active in the CPB, selling and promoting the Morning Star and working locally and nationally for the advance of socialism.

After undergoing a heart operation in 2000, she suffered a stroke and was in a nursing home until she died on May 9th 2001. Her partner, Dave Morgan, pre-deceased her by one year.

She wrote an autobiography, detailing her life and political work, titled "Part of the Main; life of a Communist Woman" and published by People’s Publications in Britain in 1990.

John Green

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