Ainsworth Bill

Bill Ainsworth W S Ainsworth was born on 17 January 1917 in Birmingham to William and Emily Ainsworth. Young Bill met his wife Gwen met at a Young Communist League camp in 1935 – probably […]

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Vyse Nell

Nell Vyse Born in 1892, Nell was trained as a singer in her youth and she was also fluent in French and German. She would become a highly talented and noted painter of ceramics, which […]

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Young Amicia

Amicia Young   Born in 1914 as Amicia More Melland, she married Enrique Teophilio Bassadone in Southwark in 1942, although the marriage did not last. Amicia joined the Communist Party in 1945. She met Commander Edgar […]

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Unsworth Jack

Jack Unsworth   Jack Unsworth was one of two sons of staunch Marxist socialist Bill Unsworth, the champion marker-off in the boiler shop at Gorton Tank in Manchester that Harry Pollitt learned his trade in. […]

Communist history

History CP early 50s early 60s



After its defeat in the early 1950s, a process of its leading politicians beginning to simply follow the same broad ideological thrust as the Tories had seemingly delivered the electoral party of the working class virtually wholesale to Tory politics.

A left opposition of sorts did exist in the Parliamentary Labour Party but it was very much focused on leading individuals. Nye Bevan had been clearly on the left in the House of Commons during the war. After the landslide Labour victory in the 1945 general election, he was appointed Minister of Health, responsible for establishing the National Health Service. In 1951, Bevan was moved to become Minister of Labour and National Service. Shortly afterwards he resigned from the government in protest at the introduction of prescription charges for dental care and spectacles. His resignation, along with others was in protest at Chancellor, Hugh Gaitskell’s, introduction of charges imposed in order to meet the financial demands imposed by the Korean War. Bevan effectively led the left wing of the Labour Party for the next five years.

In the meantime, and contrary to much retrospective suggestion, Tory politics began to shift away from the war-time consensus. In 1953, the end to the BBC’s monopoly on broadcasting was signalled with the passing of legislation that would result in the appearance of ITV. The same year, sweet rationing but not sugar rationing ended, followed the next year by the complete abolition after fourteen years of food rationing in Britain when restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were finally lifted. Communists argued that all that the Tories had done was to “abolish rationing by the book – only to replace it by rationing by the purse”.  [Communist Party, `A policy for Britain: general election manifesto’, (1955)]


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Quaintance Bill

  Bill Quaintance William Stanley Quaintance was born on 15th June 1904 in Gittisham Devon and joined the Royal Medical Corp on the 2nd August 1923, aged 19 as a medical orderly. He married Winifred […]

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Young Edgar

Edgar Young   Although he never joined the Communist Party, Young took a strongly pro-Soviet line on a number of historic issues and his life was so thoroughly associated with aspects of the Communist Party’s […]

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Quelch Tom

Tom Quelch Tom Quelch was the son of the rather more famous early socialist Harry (Henry) Quelch who died in 1913 (pictured below) and was also nephew of Alonzo Quelch, a noted socialist in the Reading […]

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Young Stan

Stan Young   Stan Young was born in Hanwell, west London, in 1920 into a large family. His father was a carpenter and joiner, and his mother a seamstress. He left school at 14 and worked […]

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Nickolai Lawrie

Lawrie Nickolay  (Phil Nickolay, Lawrie’s brother is also covered here; see separate entry for Alys Nickolai, Lawrie’s wife.) Lawrie Nickolay was born in Islington on August 10th 1915; his brother Phil, also to become a […]