Born in 1906, Angela Tuckett became involved in progressive politics very early on in her youth. Her sympathy for Bristol‘s unemployed quickly became active support for the Welsh contingent on the 1931 Hunger March. She brought food and the ‘Daily Worker’ to the march every day. She soon joined the Communist Party and, during the 1930s, travelled widely in Europe and the USA. During these years she was involved in the League of Progressive Writers and, with her sister, Joan, in theatrical production in Bristol’s Unity Theatre.
In 1940, as a solicitor, she took charge of the legal department of the NCCL and in 1942 joined the staff of the ‘Daily Worker’, becoming in turn legal adviser, sub-editor, and staff reporter. Speculation over the mechanisms of links between Soviet intelligence and the Los Alamos atomic spy Klaus Fuchs have suggested that in May 1947, in his attempt to report his knowledge of the bomb, he contacted Angela Tuckett, an old friend, through her sister. Fuchs sought the British Party’s help in passing on information, it is said.
From 1948 to 1978, Angela Tuckett worked on the ‘Labour Monthly’ and for a time was assistant editor under R P Dutt (see entry). She participated fully for a very long time in the affairs of the London Trades Council, as a delegate.
In the artistic sphere, she was a member of the editorial committee of the William Morris Society, active in the International Concertina Association and the English Folk-Dance and Song Society. A personally quite remarkable woman, she was also a qualified air pilot and an international hockey player.
In 1962 she married Ike Gradwell (see separate entry), secretary of the Swindon Communist Party branch. They worked ceaselessly to build up the branch. Even after Ike’s death, and despite increasing health problems, during her 80th decade she was out busking in Swindon streets playing her concertina to raise funds for the striking miners in 1984. Angela Tuckett died in 1994.
Publications by Angela Tuckett:
“Civil Liberty and the Industrial Worker” NCCL (1942) Civil Liberty in Wartime, No. 1
“The Scottish Carter – the history of the Scottish Horse and Commercial Motormen’s Association 1898-1964” (1967) George Allen and Unwin
“The blacksmiths’ history: What smithy workers gave trade unionism” ( 1974) Lawrence and Wishart
“The people’s theatre in Bristol 1930-45” (1979) Our History Series No. 72
“The Scottish Trades Union Congress: the first 80 years 1897-1977” (1986) Mainstream
Source: Bernard Barry ”Angela Tuckett -1906-1994 her story” WMCL
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