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The Plebs League in the NE of England 1908/1926 By Robert Turnbull B.A

The stated aim of the Ruskin rebels who included Noah Ablett of the South Wales Miners Federation and Ebby Edwards of the Northumberland Miners Association was to “Bring about a more satisfactory relationship between Ruskin and the wider Labour movement. Their motto was “Educate, agitate and organise”.

Their philosophy that of IWCE or Independent Working Class Education, or to put it another way an education that was perceived to be free from the pernicious influence of the bourgeoisie, and the leading educational institutions of the time. Read more

12th Aug 2014: The Plebs League in the North East of England 1908/1926 by Robert Clive Turnbull

Plebs League

Come along to The Central Library  (George Washington Browne Conference Room which is one floor down from the front entrance) for 5pm to listen to Robert’s talk. There will be some food provided and an opportunity to talk…

Title of talk:

Left for the Rising Sun. Right for Swan Hunter. The Plebs League in the North East of England 1908/1926

Robert Clive Turnbull

Bullet points of what you would like to talk about:

  • The background to Swords Shall Not Rust, my initial interest in the Plebs League via Ruskin
  • A brief history of the autodidact tradition in the NE the Mechanics Institutes, Joe Cowan etc. and an overview of Tyneside at the beginning of the 20c, its industrial base and political allegiances
  • The beginnings of the North East Labour College Movement, and their struggle for recognition 1908/1916, main personalities etc. Ebby Edwards, Will Lawther, George Harvey, Outreach classes in the Northumberland and Durham coalfield, educational philosophy of IWCE.
  • The High Water Mark of the IWCE Movement in the NE 1918/1926. Growth of classes, main tutors, and a revolutionary moment passed. Tommy Jackson Starr etc., Black Friday 1921 and the beginnings of decline,  The General Strike and the winding up of the Plebs League

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