Prime John

John Prime

John Prime was the son of a Cambridgeshire butcher’s journeyman. He read history at Cambridge just after the war and joined the Cambridge University Socialist Club and then the Communist Party. After university he worked at the headquarters of the International Union of Students in Prague from 1952 to 1953. In 1954 he became National Secretary of the Student Labour Federation, while working part-time in Collet’s, later becoming manager of Collet’s Multilingual Bookshop.

John Prime died a few years ago but the British Library’s National Sound Archive holds 39 tapes (two of them closed until 2010) which he recorded before his death. They contain formation about Tom Driberg, Eric Hobsbawn, Eva Reckitt, Harry Pollitt, Betty Matthews, Edgell Rickword, and many others. Plus much about eastern Europe in 1952-1953, international student politics at that time, and the Communist Party in Britain.

Source: Chris Birch; SHS Newsletter June 2007; the National Sound Archive: nsa(a),

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