Inkpin Julia

Julia Inkpin

Born in 1887, her father was Ted Raven, a convinced socialist and trade unionist. As a child in the 1890s, she attended one of the first London Socialist Sunday Schools and was taken to lectures in Toynbee Hall and South Place.

She was only eighteen when she was admitted as a member of the Hackney & Kingsland branch of the Social Democratic Federation on September 8th 1905 which her future husband, Albert Inkpin, had joined eighteen months earlier. Many years later, the original Minute Books of the Hackney & Kingsland Branch of the S.D.F., covering the period 1903-1906 were presented to the Marx Memorial Library by Julia Inkpin. 

Julia and Albert were both strongly associated with the trajectory that led the bulk of the SDF to brief incarnation as the Social Democratic Party, then British Socialist Party and finally for the formation of the Communist Party. Both Inkpins played a key role, a role that lead Albert to be imprisoned on a number of occasions including November 1917, 1921 and 1925; this, coupled with her husband’s heavy international commitments left her bringing up a family. 

Andrew Rothstein in an oration at her funeral on 6th November 1959 at Golders Green crematorium in London stated that Julia Inkpin was “a staunch comrade and outstanding women from whom we are parting now was a fitting representative of that generation of socialist pioneers and practical workers”. 

Andrew Rothstein went on: "For over half a century , the socialist movement, its revolutionary aims, the successes and set backs, the hard unflagging detailed practical work needed to achieve the one and overcome the other, were always the first thing in Julia's life … Nothing could break down that irrepressible spirit. This showed itself particularly in those trying periods when Albert Inkpin was threatened with persecution by the military authorities in November 1919, or when he was jailed as General Secretary of the Party in 1921 and again in 1925, or when his duties to the International movement took him away from his family for months at a time. Julia was not only an exemplary Communist in party political matters, she was a magnificent wife and mother – sustaining Albert in all difficulties, and working without stint to give the best possible conditions and best life to her children.”

Source: Andrew Rothstein's oration at Julia Inkpin's funeral 6th November 1959

Michael Walker

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