Joyce and Vic Butler Archive

Joyce and Vic ButlerAdministrative/Biographical History: Joyce Shore Butler (née Wells), was born in Birmingham on 13th  December 1910. A lifelong member of the Labour Party and the Co-operative Society, through the Co-operative Women’s Guild she earned a reputation as a consumer champion.  She was married to Abraham Victor (Vic) Butler (1911-1992); they had two children (a son and daughter). In 1947 she was elected to Wood Green Borough Council, becoming Council Leader (1954) and eventually Deputy Mayor (1961-62). As Chair of the Council’s Housing and Planning and Development Committees during the 1950s, she oversaw Wood Green’s major house-building initiatives. Sponsored by the London Co-operative Society, she was elected MP for Wood Green in 1955; she held the seat until 1979.

After the reorganisation of the London boroughs she was elected first chair of the new Haringey Council, serving one term (1964-68). An active back-bencher, she took part in the Aldermaston marches and often spoke on nuclear issues as well as raising frequent questions in the House regarding consumer and environmental affairs.  She introduced the first bill outlawing discrimination against women in education, employment, social and public life; this became the basis of the formation of Labour’s landmark Sex Discrimination Act (1975). Retiring from the House of Commons in 1979, she continued to play an active role in several organisations including the London Passenger Action Confederation, the Fawcett Society and the Hornsey Housing Trust. She died on 2nd January 1992 of a heart attack in Highlands Hospital, Enfield, London while recovering from a stroke suffered on Christmas Day 1991. 

Abraham Victor (Vic) Butler was born in 1911. A leading figure in the London Co-operative Society (LCS), he was an active member of the Society’s Political Committee. He was married to the politician and Co-operative Society member Joyce Shore Wells (1910-1992), with whom he had two children, a son and a daughter.

A lifelong member of the Labour Party and the Co-operative Society, at the age of 27 Butler was first elected a Labour Party councillor in 1938, at the age of 27, and became active in the Co-operative movement at this time. His appointment to the post of LCS Political Committee Organiser for the Northern and Western Areas took him to London in 1946. Butler retained this post until 1970. He also served as treasurer of the London Co-operative Members Organisation (LCMO) for several years.

In 1952 Butler became Middlesex County Councillor, retaining his seat until the Council was dissolved in 1965. Following the reorganisation of the London boroughs he became a councillor for the newly created London borough of Haringey in 1964. He also served as Mayor of Haringey on two separate occasions (1964-68 and 1976-1980). He was also President of the Wood Green Labour Club from 1958 to 1982. Butler died in 1992, the same year as his wife Joyce passed away.

Scope and Content: Papers of Joyce (JSB) and Vic Butler (AVB), including:

  • political papers, correspondence, cuttings and other material regarding AVB's involvement with the co-op movement in Birmingham (Hall Green), Solihull Tenants, the London Co-operative Society, Middlesex County Council, mayoral material and papers on parliamentary candidacy for the Labour Party, 1935-1992.
  • papers, correspondence, speech notes and cuttings regarding JSB's time as MP for Wood Green and involvement with local politics in Haringey and Tottenham, 1953-1987.
  • papers regarding JSB's early political activities in the co-operative movement, pacifism and the Young Friends Guild in Birmingham, 1934-1942.
  • diaries and notebooks of JSB and AVB, 1929-1991.
  • minutes, papers and correspondence concerning AVB's with the Alexandra Palace Trustees, 1958-1968.
  • records, minutes, photographs, posters and papers regarding the Shirley Stadium Youth Club in Birmingham, 1935-1946.
  • papers, posters and ephemera regarding AVB's Song and Dance Club, 1944.
  • papers, reports, correspondence and other material regarding AVB's involvement with the Birmingham Branch of the Bank Officer's Guild, 1932-1938.

Quantity: 57 Boxes and oversize items