Barltrop, Robert (1922-2009) historian and author

Handbill, 'Is Russia Capitalist?'ADMINISTRATIVE/BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY: Robert Barltrop was born in 1922 and educated at the Sir George Monoux Grammar School in Walthamstow. He grew up in the East End of London, descended from a long line of blacksmiths, although his father was a horse fodder dealer. During the war, Barltrop served with the Royal Air Force, was invalided out, spending along period in hospital, and then earned his living as a free-lance artist.

In 1949 he took a teacher’s training course and taught in Walthamstow schools until 1961 when he returned to illustrating. While doing strip-pictures for schoolgirls’ and love story comics, and decorative painting for circuses, he wrote articles in his spare time. He published his first book in 1975. He was also for many years a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

Published works include: The Monument: Story of the Socialist Party of Great Britain (1975), Jack London: The Man, the Writer, the Rebel (1977), Muvver Tongue with Jim Wolveridge (1980) and A funny age (Growing up in North East London between the Wars) (1985).


  • 62 photographs of Socialist Party of Great Britain Committee meetings, conferences, rallies, weekend schools, outings and individuals including V.Phillips, J.Fitzgerald, R.F.Offord, Gilles McClatchie, Tom King, Michael La Touche, E.Hardy, Bob Lees, William Kerr, Harry Young and others, c1920 - 1959
  • 11 ink and pencil sketches by Barltrop of SPGB members, including W.Atkinson, J.D'Arcy, J.Flowers, George Gloss, C.Groves, E.Lake, I Rabinowitz, G.Steed, William Travers, J.Trotman and H.Young, 1953-1957
  • SPGB ephemera, including handbills and posters for lectures, short policy pamphlets and agendas for 21st and 22nd Annual Conferences, 1908-1973
  • internal policy documents, including reports, statements and conference papers, 1904-1991
  • SPGB published material, including the first manifesto of the SPGB and pamphlets by Moses Baritz, Jack Fitzgerald, H.Quelch, Harold Walsby and others, 1905-1980
  • papers of Wallace Herbert Barltrop concerning his service as a dispatch rider in the Royal Flying Corps, 1917-1919
  • scrapbook of articles by R.W.Housley for the Socialist Standard, 1915-1933
  • bound volume of copies of the periodical Left Forum, 1939-1950

EXTENT: 2 Boxes and one volume

The complete catalogue of the Robert Barltrop papers can be viewed and searched at the Access to Archives ( website.