Sid was one of three Brown brothers who worked at the Morning Star. He shared his later ego of `Eccles’, the staff cartoonist for the paper and its predecessor, with his twin, Frank (see separate entry). Frank died in 1986, while younger brother and journalist Alan died around the same time as Sid in 2008 (see separate entry).
After being demobbed in 1948, Sid was jailed for six weeks the following year after chaining himself to the railings in a May Day Young Communist League protest outside the US embassy in London during a protest over a US general’s warlike comments. (Pic: Some of the imprisoned are in the featured illustration, from left to right: C Ellis, A Lester, S Alexander, D MacDonald, J Beard, and Sid Brown is on the right hand side of the picture as you look at it. ) Nine ex-servicemen were imprisoned for a short period in punishment but Sid’s six weeks in Brixton jail had a silver lining in that, at the party to celebrate his release, he met his wife-to-be Judy, who was in Britain from the US on a socialist cycling tour of Europe. After marrying him in 1950, Juy settled in London with Sid. She worked for many years as head of research for engineering union AEU, now part of Unite.
Sid worked with Frank as a cartoonist on rank-and-file journals such as The Metalworker and The Portworker, before joining the Daily Worker in 1959.
Sid was instrumental in redesigning the paper when it changed its name to the Morning Star in 1966. He was also involved with deputy editor David Whitfield in the redesign when the Star went tabloid in the mid-1980s and his all-round political experience and eye for an angle was often crucial in designing the front page.
In the very early 1980s, he was amazed when the Morning Star’s “I didn’t vote Tory” badge – took off, selling in their tens of thousands and turning out to be the paper’s most successful badge ever. At the time, so unpopular was Margaret Thatcher, it was really difficult to find anyone in public admitting to having voted for the Conservatives in 1979.
Badge production turned a little sideline into a major production line, especially during the 1984-85 miners’ strike, when the young miners of many pits commissioned badges, such as the Zulus, the Warriors and Captain Kull’s No1 Army, to express their active resistance to the brutal police occupations of mining areas.
Sid also produced a number of highly acclaimed posters, including “Government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich” imposed on an image of Mrs Thatcher and “If you think I’m green, you must be” to mock her pretensions to environmental concern.
Judy died in 2007 and Frank passed away the following year.
Sources include: Morning Star 9th October 2008