History of History Workshop

History Workshop 12

History Workshop 12 (In Our Time – Britain 1945-1978) was held at Ruskin College between 10 November and 12 November 1978. As had often been the case in previous Workshops, a social/cultural event was included in the programme in the form of the Ruskin Media Group on Multi-National Capitalism, followed by a party.

Part 1: Raphael Samuel speaks about the Labour Party’s fear of a repeat of its collapse in 1931 and the importance of understanding the left in its historical context during History Workshop 12.

Returning to the type of structure which had been devised for Workshop 10, discussion was divided into five parallel themes, as well as plenary sessions. Among the themes covered were ‘Industry and Class Struggle’, ‘Cultural Politics’, ‘Left-Wing Movements’, ‘Communities in Change’, and ‘Sexual Politics’. Papers delivered included Women’s Work in the 1950s, Ealing Studios, The Tyneside Committee of 100, The People of Goole, and Gay Liberation. The division into parallel thematic discussion strands was a constant feature of the Workshop for all subsequent events.

Part 2: A speaker in the final session of History Workshop 12 speaks of being deeply confused after the weekend, and of the problems of different people experiencing history in different ways. Can you identify the speaker in this audio extract? Please leave a comment below if you can help!

As had been the case with the majority of previous Workshops, the speakers consisted of workers, students, academics, and activists. The subject of specifically post-war and contemporary history also represented a new departure for the Workshop, which in early years had focused largely on the history of the nineteenth century. It also explicitly reflected the political dimension of the Workshop movement in its desire to offer ‘an opportunity for the left to take a view both of itself and of some of the wider determinations shaping the course of politics, culture, and personal life’.


publicity for history workshop 12
Publicity for History Workshop 12
© History Workshop Archive, Bishopsgate Institute
leaflet produced for history workshop 12
An introduction to the History Workshop movement produced for History Workshop 12
© History Workshop Archive, Bishopsgate Institute

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