The NCLC was established in 1921, its objective had been to give socially conscious working men access to education; this was often carried out locally in by small groups of trade unionists with a designated lecturer. The NCLC was initially Marxist-orientated but more Independent Labour Party inclined and therefore, at times, hostile to the Communist Party.
Its magazine was entitled "The Plebs", later just "Plebs". NCLC’s first General Secretary was George Sims but for much of the organisation’s life, the Scotsman J P M Millar (born Edinburgh 17th April 1893) had the role and dominated it. (The first Chairman was Jack Hamilton Millar.) J P M Millar is allegedly the person who taught basic Marxism to Palme Dutt whilst he was a conscientious objector at Aldershotduring the First World War.
Stead would be imprisoned for 20 months for sedition in the struggles of the early 1930s.